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Improving Private Early Education in India through Activity-Based Learning

The Program to Improve Private Early Education (PIPE) aims to replace rote memorization technique with activity-based learning in the 300,000 Affordable Private Schools in India.

Twenty-seven and half million low-income households in urban India invest a disproportionate amount of their income on private sector education.

Low-income families, earning INR 9,000–INR 25,000 per month, constitute approximately 70 percent of urban India. One of the topmost priorities for low-income families is providing an English language education so that their child can get a white collar job. Eighty-six percent of these families invest a disproportionate amount (6 percent per child) of their income to send their children to affordable private schools (APSs), as they believe APSs provide better English language education than government schools.

Unfortunately, the learning outcomes are poor.

Only 35 percent of grade 10 students can read at grade 4 level. The problem starts early with only 22% of children in grade 1 in APSs are able to read simple words like “sat,” “pin,” or “mug.” 

A key reason for poor learning outcomes is rote memorization techniques

These methods teach children to repeat letters, words, and numbers but do not provide them with critical pre-literacy, pre-numeracy, and executive function skills.

Activity-based learning, introduced in early education, can help improve learning outcomes

Activity-based learning methods use structured play-based activities, games, and experiences that provide developmental benefits across the cognitive, physical, and social-emotional domains. Evidence shows that activity-based learning is the most effective method for teaching young children and gives them a solid foundation for primary education. Children with a solid foundation in reading, writing, basic math and social-emotional skills are positioned to do well in language and math, and often learn other subjects more quickly.

PIPE aims to replace rote memorization with activity-based learning in 300,000 affordable private schools in India

PIPE is building a demand for parents to seek activity-based learning, and assisting 8 private companies (“partners”) to supply high-quality activity-based learning to APSs.

PIPE works with its partners to help them recognize the business opportunity and address the challenges in serving the APS market. Once partners understand the economic opportunity in APS market, they educate parents on the benefits of this method, which drives demand to expand their services to millions of children. PIPEs partners include Chippersage, Chrysalis, Hippocampus, Karadi Path, Kreedo, Next Education, Vikalp, and Wings.

As of 2018, PIPE partner are providing ABL to over 390 APSs, resulting in improved learning in these schools.  

FSG’s philosophy, which was to work with existing stakeholders in the system and create a financially sustainable model, gives me confidence that PIPE’s impact and momentum will sustain.
Bikkrama D. Singh, Co-Managing Director, Central Square Foundation
If I call out the most important milestones of my business, collaborating with FSG would be high on the list. It’s really brought in rigor in our research and has helped renew our thinking. Today, we are able to address the needs of affordable private school segment through contextualized offerings.
Chitra Ravi, Founder and CEO, Chrysalis

Since 2015, FSG has worked closely with APS administrators, teachers, parents and ABL solution providers to develop an extensive understanding of the Indian APS market and effectively improve the delivery of activity-based learning.

Learnings from the Indian Affordable Private School market

Tools and resources to serve the Affordable Private School market