India is currently facing a massive deficit of teachers. A 2015 UNESCO report places India second on the list of countries that face the most acute teacher shortage. In terms of actual numbers this means India needs close to 370 thousand new teachers to meet its demand for primary education. By 2030 the requirement is estimated to go up to 3 million.
Rural areas are most affected by this crisis – with most schools lacking a qualified teacher or principal. In many cases, even when a teacher is assigned there is rampant absenteeism and many students go months without classes.
One of the ways in which to address the gap in learning is to train and encourage para-teachers or tutors to start their own small enterprises to educate children in their community. This can help students receive the education they need while enabling women who are unable to work outside the home gain an extra source of income and benefit the community as a whole.
How can personalised learning solutions help women entrepreneur
Many women in rural communities are interested in teaching but lack the required qualifications. What a technology-enabled blended learning solution like Zaya’s can do is give women tutors a tool to access high-quality content that is available offline and enable them to facilitate the learning process for children in the community. While great educational content exists, accessing it usually requires an internet connection which leaves out those who live in remote regions with poor connectivity or those unable to afford the additional costs.
An offline personalised learning platform presents students with customised lesson plans mapped to each child’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to learn at their own pace and master a topic before moving on to the next level. This changes the role of a teacher to one of a facilitator who identifies where a child needs extra help and works with them to address their doubts.
Building the capacity of para and assistant teachers
Zaya provides training for teachers interested in using the platform for their classrooms and also works with assistant teachers to help build their capacity. One of our assistant teachers, started working in a Zaya school and is now running her own small business teaching children from her own community.
Manju grew up in a low-income neighbourhood in Mumbai along with three siblings. She had done an English course with ATMA and was working for an NGO called Sneha before she decided to become a teaching assistant. After joining Zaya she started her own teaching practice at home. Her parents were supportive and encouraged her to start something on her own. She now runs home tuitions using the Zaya personalised learning platform. This has not only helped students in the area but also Manju herself. She says her English has drastically improved, she is more confident and her income has also increased from Rs. 3,000 to 5,000. “I save money, take care of my household expenses and support my younger nieces.”
Supporting such women to run their own business can therefore benefit both the teachers as well as the students and improve education in the community as a whole.