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ENGLISH | KANNADA

Creative Commons. The length and breadth of it.


‘Every single use of a creative piece of work from the culture around us requires permission. Without permission, you are a tresspasser.’ Larry Lessig’s words from his speech on Laws That Choke Creativity back in 2007 made such an impact on us, that we were left reviewing our level of ‘common’ sense too.

Common sense towards? Sharing a piece of ‘original creative work’ with anyone who may need it, in part or whole, to use as intended, without being bound by copyright laws.

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Image Source: www.ted.com 

The increasing revolt on the laws prohibiting the use of an existing piece of work led to the rise of one of the most revolutionary organisations – Creative Commons.

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organisation founded by Larry Lessig himself and is devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share.

It does away away with the ‘all rights reserved’ copyright act to make way for the ‘some rights reserved’ policy. In other words, artists or creators are free to use an existing piece of work, as long as they follow the request/ask by the original creator using it. The conditions vary from being able to use it freely for non-commercial purposes, to a simple Attribution request.

This school of thought has since then, found so much popularity among the creators and users that according to Wikipedia, as of January 2016 there were an estimated 1.1 billion works licensed under the various Creative Commons licenses.

Akshara Foundation is one such creator that whole-heartedly subscribes to this train of thought. It’s a fact that all Akshara Foundation works are licensed to a Creative Commons Attribution. Which simply means, we love sharing our work with anyone and everyone.

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As our chairman Mr. Ashok Kamath puts it, “If a successful method/model exists, why not just use that and scale it up? What’s the need to start from scratch and go through the list of trials and errors all over again?”

Be it our learning material, training manuals or even research, all our resources for each and every programme we have designed so far (Pre-Primary, Math, English and Library) is all free for anyone to use. All one has to do is log on to the Akshara Foundation website and download. If we may say so, it’s simpler done than said. Seriously.

Feel free to then chew on our resources, modify them and use them to best suit your needs. Wait a minute, all this, for free? All we ask for in return, is that Akshara Foundation be duly acknowledged wherever our intellectual property has been used, in any form. Curious to know more on how we have adopted the laws of Creative Commons? Just click here. 

Not every NGO has the luxury of resources that they can use to do all the ground work from scratch. Thus it helps to have access to the learnings/works from a like-minded organisation at such a time.

Mr. Venkatesh Malur, the then Director and Head of Education at Sampark Foundation’s mail, saying, “Sampark is very comfortable working with Akshara and partnering to take initiatives forward like the English program. We will acknowledge the efforts of Akshara and also would like you to support us in building capacities of the state teams where this will be helpful.” is proof of this concept actually helping others out, specially in fields like ours.

Others who have followed suit in working towards the betterment of our education system are CherYsh, Agastya International Foundation (for The Classroom Library) and IIMPACT, to name a few.

One of our most recent visitors could not help but exclaim, “So you’re actually telling me I am free to use your programme, be it English or Math or Library, as is? This is so convenient, I wonder why everyone can’t share their data?” Guess it’s just not everyone’s cup of tea.

So the next time you hear of an organisation looking to make some headway in their programmes, do tell them about Akshara Foundation’s Creative Commons Attribution policy. We’re an overly-excited-to-help bunch that’s all about working towards impacting over 2 million children by 2020, and always looking for partners, on the way.

Akshara Foundation’s Independent Balwadis- A DECADE LATER


There are a set of women, who will call us , the Akshara Foundation Preschool team, every year diligently to invite us to an annual event. Who are they, you are wondering? They are women who signed up for the ‘edu-preneur’ programme for starting an Independent Balwadi of their own, with support from Akshara Foundation, way back in 2006.

So finally, a colleague and I set out to visit a few of the Balwadis, approximately 10 years after they were first set up in 2006. We arrived at a small colony, and went through narrow lanes and arrived at a T-junction. Ma’am we are there, said my colleague.

Before I could ask “Where is it?”, I happened to lift my head and saw a board saying Akshara Play Home and Day Care Centre. This is Sarala’s Centre.

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Akshara Play Home, Avalahalli

Run from a room in her house, this centre had about 18 children in attendance that day. Sarala has an assistant teacher too, who was helping hand out materials and placing children comfortably in the limited space. She runs a preschool for 3 hours, where the curriculum includes, fine and gross motor activity and language activities. She has done this for close to 10 years, and has had no trouble getting children enrolled to her centre , nor placing them after the preschool, into bigger schools.

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The Progress Report handed out at Akshara Play Home, Avalahalli

As we settle down, we see the decibel levels (which had risen in the excitement of our arrival) settle down as children begin to concentrate on the activities handed out to them. Though the space is constrained, the teacher and the children have made optimum use of it. To play the children move to the terrace. Not ideal, but the only choice in the circumstances.

Like this we visited a few more centres, mostly run in lower middle class areas, all running in an organised manner with a consistent stream of little children ready to learn and play in these small set-ups.

In early 2000, Akshara Foundation set up its preschool (balwadi) programme in Bangalore. The focus was clearly on prepare children from underprivileged, under-served communities, with the goal of reaching primary school with adequate readiness skills. Out of the experiences of the supported Balwadis, the educational entrepreneur model was started. These were called the Independent Balwadis. The new model started slowly with about 40 interested volunteers in 2004, but grew rapidly till there were about 500 odd Independent Balwadis across Bangalore Urban, and Hubli-Dharwad regions.

The structure was simple. Voluntary entrepreneurial spirit brought forward interested young women who had the space to run a preschool. They were provided training in the skills required for running this centre. This training included organisation and management skills, soft skills including communication etc, knowledge about child development across all domains, setting up of a preschool centre, a prepared curriculum and supportive teaching learning materials. After the initial job training,

The Balwadi curriculum was designed to be an easy, flexible yet formal programme for teachers to use in their ‘classroom.’ Along with the training, simple measurement techniques were created for Balwadi teachers to track children.

Over time these centres grew and became independent in every sense and became self-sustaining models of entrepreneurship dependent only on the teacher’s skills and financed by parental fees. A good 10 years later, we were able to visit about 45 centres ( in 2015) and found most of them thriving with an average of 25-30 children enrolled, in the age range of 2.5-6 years. Most of these centres were charging a range of fees from Rs. 150-500/ month. Some even offered day care facilities at additional charges, but most were running half-day preschools.

It was specially heartening to see that the centres had not only managed to break even, but had invested in preschool play equipments and teaching learning materials based on the guidelines provided by Akshara Foundation a decade earlier!

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As we visited more centres we came across the same request, to visit the centres often, but more importantly to continue with more refresher training. As Suneeta, another teacher put it, “For the last ten years we’ve followed all the guidelines provided by Akshara and have done very well. But now we need to know more and find out the new techniques in this field, so we can teach the children better.”

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Chinnaramane Play Home And Day Care, Moodalpalya

– Authored by Gayatri Kiran of Akshara’s Pre School Programme

Easy English- A journey well started, is half done!

The journey of ‘Easy English’ started with the inception of the ideation of digitising English by providing content on the Tablet by Ms Kanchan Banerjee in December 2016.

The learning gained from the field during ‘Swalpa English Thumba Fun’ journey made her feel it was a necessary tool to help the Government school children and teachers who do not have an English spoken environment.

Thus started our association with ekstep genie our tech partner who provided the software on the Tablets. A pre pilot study was conducted in March’16 at GGMS Hoskote for 10 days to find out the effectiveness of the software on the students of standard I. Based on the findings it was decided to do a pilot in 2 clusters of Rural Bangalore ( Hoskote Block- Mugbala and Jadigenahalli clusters) and 2 clusters in Urban Bangalore ( North 2 Block – Hebbal and Sanjayanagara).

The content was designed and developed from April to June for both students & teachers. Some of the modules were installed on the Tab before the beginning of the academic session of the schools. By then, necessary papers were moved with the Education Department for the permission. In the meantime, schools were reopened, the permission was received and we were all set for the field!

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Pre-pilot at GGMS, Hoskote

Stay tuned to find out just how our journey turns out. Watch this space for updates.

“Women Should Take Charge Of Their Destiny And Trust Their Capability”



Oh wow, are we excited! It’s such an inspiring start to the week, what with our trustee Rekha Menon being featured in Outlook Business, on ways to encourage and train women for leadership roles.

Here’s the entire download for you’ll, we just couldn’t help but share it. Have a great week!

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Encourage self-belief: The first step to training women for leadership roles begins from within. Women need to believe that the sky is the limit and not put a cap on their professional ambition. They should believe in themselves, take charge of their destiny and trust their own capabilities to effectively manage responsibilities at work and home with ease.

Make intentional career choices: Women need to be intentional about their careers by setting standards of professional credibility to attract mentors. They need to define what is important to them and chart out their own path for success by actively speaking up and seeking help from people within the organisation. Companies should promote women for senior roles and make the vision explicit across the organisation.

Create a self defined sucess path: Women leaders need to create an environment where they can define success and meet their ambitions not just within organisations, but also for communities around them. We need to empower women externally for an equal, just and vibrant community.

Follow a “3R approach”: To develop the leadership pipeline for women follow a “3R approach”— right roles, right client and the right sponsor. These factors should work in unison and should be developed equally.

Stay curious and open to opportunities: Leadership is often thrust upon a person when they least expect it. When it comes knocking, women should be ready to venture out of their comfort zone and grab the opportunity regardless of their apprehensions. They need to continue learning and stay relevant, while staying rooted in the organisation’s culture and core values.

Meet India’s coolest robot and its team.

In 2013, Akshara Foundation with support from the Lego Foundation, set up a robotics lab in a government school, in Bangalore.

It’s overwhelming to see how the children have progressed from not being able to turn ON and turn OFF the computers to gaining the expertise in building Robots and programming it using computers.

Just over 2 years later, in February 2016, these geniuses from the Seva Bharath Trust, made us all proud. Fighting against all odds, they were recently placed First in the ‘Dance’ category of the Robocup Junior National level Robotics competition and fourth among 39 teams in the First Lego League 2015 national competition, earlier this year.

They now have the opportunity to represent INDIA at the International level of the Robocup Junior competition in Leipzig, Germany.

Here’s a look at their innovative robot, the E-bot Max that won them the 1st place.
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Meet the team behind the coolest robot in India – the Master Minds.
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From left to right: The Instinctive One (Ameenuddin), The Collaborator (Balachandra), The Mechanic (Aravinda Reddy), The Thinker (Lawrence), The Silent Programmer (Ramesh) and The Challenger (Ramakrishna).

And their achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. They have driven Local and national media into a frenzy with their accomplishments!

But these young geniuses remain unfazed with all the limelight on them. They are busy prepping for the next step, their next competition in Germany. They walk in to the lab every day, roll up their sleeves and immediately get to work on bettering the E-bot Max.

Akshara Foundation had registered on two crowdfunding sites (one for donors in india and one for our supporters outside of India) to help their dreams come true. Join us in supporting them and help us send them to go on and become the coolest in the world.
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As a small tribute to these WHIZ KIDS, we have created a video that highlights them at their creative best. Watch it, enjoy it and help us spread the word as we wish them all the very best for the month ahead.

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Click, Click, Give

Five ways nonprofits can start unlocking trillions of dollars in potential donations from younger individual donors.
via Millennials are unlike any generation to date. They think about impact, act on the move, and communicate as digital natives. By 2020, an estimated $100 billion dollars annually will flow from young donors into the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits who speak to them in their native language, communicate with technology, and offer them a wide range of ways to engage will benefit from this massive giving potential. Young, tech-savvy donors matter: These donors are changing the philanthropic sector. Young_donors_chart-web_592_461 Nonprofits have long relied on traditional customer relationship management systems to communicate with traditional donors in traditional ways, and for good reason: These systems work reasonably well for email blasts, event invitations, and direct mail. Traditional donors expect these communications, and act on them. But the same methodologies are lost on the Millennial generation. As digital natives, they expect to interact solely through technology, and eschew other forms of communication and transaction—only 10 percent of Gen Y donors mailed a donation check in the last two years. Nonprofits that don’t change their traditional methods risk being ignored, or judged as not innovative, old, stale, and irrelevant. Consider successful companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Seamless. They quickly spread as both easy and fun solutions to problems Millennials didn’t yet realize they had. Can’t find a cab? Restaurant doesn’t deliver? There’s an app for that. Once used, forever adopted, and virally spread like wildfire. Philanthropic donations will be the same. Five ways to engage millennials: 1. Get out of their in-boxes, and get into their pockets. Direct mail and e-newsletters have open rates below 30 percent. Young donors are looking to engage online in creative ways, rather than via emails and mail—62 percent of Gen Y donors say they would give via mobile. For example, One Acre Fund, which supports smallholder farmers, keeps an up-to-date impact dashboard to share metrics with donors, and posts updates such as actual and projected numbers of families served via web and mobile friendly software. 2. Let them get to know you, not just your beneficiaries. Millennials love thinking about the organization they support as well as the cause. Successful crowdfunding campaigns illustrate the power of sharing authentic stories. The Marina Abramovic Institute, for example, raised support from nearly 5,000 supporters via Kickstarter to build a new performance and education space, by sharing the founder’s personal journey and mission. 3. Share the facts. Younger donors are more than twice as likely as older generations to demand data about impact. Organizations such as Evidence Action use rigorous evaluations and randomized control trials to identify poverty-reducing interventions. Sharing what works (and what doesn’t) has allowed it to build deeper relationships with donors, and grow its individual donor base by more than six-fold between 2013 and 2014. 4. Invest in a great online checkout. Make sure your online donation experience is easy—younger donors are hesitant to mail a check, but love easy online options. Text-based giving raised $41 million after the Haiti earthquake, and nearly 50 percent of Gen Y report donating online. 5. Be transparent. Younger donors want honesty— fast-growing organizations like the Akshara Foundation transparently report and blog about their research, successes, and failures. They post reports on teacher interviews, classroom observations, and school surveys. Share the good and the bad, and donors will trust you and help you grow. By Angela Rastegar Campbell

CELEBRATING six months of Ganitha Kalika Andolana

Akshara Foundation, in partnership with the Karnataka government and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, launched a math programme called Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA) in June 2015.

It aims to improve numeracy skills in over 300,000 students in 7520 Government primary schools across North Karnataka.

Six months of GKA are already behind us and we are happy to share that increasingly children in government primary schools are enjoying learning math.

We know because we hear from teachers, community leaders, volunteers and children. The achievements of this movement are many. And so are our supporters, like you.

Here’s a look at our journey so far…
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Do spread the word about this movement by sharing this video.

More power to the #GKAMathMovement. Enjoy!

The Karnataka Learning Partnership: what data can do

Imagine:

A parent is trying to decide whether to send her child to the preschool at the end of her street, or the one in a nearby neighbourhood. She’s heard the faraway preschool is better, but it also has higher fees, and she’s not quite sure what “better” means.

An NGO is planning a large-scale feeding scheme. It knows government enrolment data for schools can be wildly inaccurate and wants to be sure it is budgeting enough to feed all children.

A corporate wants to use its CSI budget to upgrade school buildings in the community where most of its employees live, but it doesn’t know which schools are most in need.
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In each of these situations, the Karnataka Learning Partnership (KLP), an open online platform that tracks the state of education in Karnataka, India, is a game-changing resource.

It’s premised on the idea that if we pull together “everything we know” about education in one place, and make all that information publicly available, we’ll be more equipped to make factual assessments, galvanise community action, and ultimately improve school quality and learning outcomes.

The KLP was established in 2006 by the Akshara Foundation, an education non-profit based in the state of Karnataka, India. Initially, it was an exercise to tie all of Akshara’s programmes together and share its data openly with stakeholders. The KLP team however soon realised that to truly make a difference, it should open the platform for anyone to contribute, and build partnerships to ensure data is credible, helpful and widely used.

The entire platform is open-source – the database code can even be downloaded on the KLP website – so that other Indian states or countries can build on or replicate it.

Its online database has mapped every public primary and pre-primary school in Karnataka – that’s 46 000 primary schools and 64 000 preschools. It tracks a variety of data, including: basic info (address and landmarks, language of instruction); demographics (including both government and independently-verified enrolment data); infrastructure (including whether schools have drinking water, electricity, toilets, libraries and computer labs, whether they offer mid-day meals, and whether they are accessible to children with disabilities); finances and budgets; programmes run, and outcomes at an aggregate level (individual learner performance is not made public).
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The data above is from an English intervention that 28 learners attended in 2010-11. Between the pre-test (bottom) and post-test (top), the average score improved by 23 percentage points, from 58% (below city and area averages) to 81% (above city and area averages). Girls – previously 10 percentage points behind boys – came out 9 percentage points ahead.

It’s also possible to compare two schools:
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Anyone can contribute information – NGOs, parents, government – and data is collected in a number of ways.

Akshara’s field staff, who support library and maths programmes in more than 10 000 schools across Karnataka, collect observations each time they visit a school: Is the principal present? Are all teachers present and teaching? Does each classroom have a blackboard?

Information is collected as Yes/No binaries, without quality gradients (“Good”, “Moderate”, “Poor”). The KLP has found that such gradients are not used consistently and don’t work at scale.

Data on Akshara’s programme outcomes is also uploaded, and a few other NGOs share their data, including Akshaya Patra, which provides mid-day meals to 1.4 million children in India each day – so nutrition and health can be cross-referenced with education. (The KLP would love to get more NGOs involved, but despite interest and goodwill, most NGOs’ data collection is still not very strong.)

A new feature called “Share Your Story” allows anyone to enter a set of school observations – via interactive voice response system (IRVS), the website or community surveys. To date, the KLP has collected 157 989 of these stories, the majority from parents. They expect at least 300 000 entries this school year.

I often go on site visits to schools, where I notice things that aren’t working well: a library that’s always locked; blocked toilets; crumbling netball fields. I also see good things: passionate teaching; humming feeding schemes; volunteers helping in classrooms or after school. I’d love a way to report those things as I see them, so my observations become part of a larger body of evidence that can be used to strengthen schools.

Developing and maintaining the platform is no small task: The Akshara Foundation’s fieldworkers do a lot of data collection. KLP has 6 staff who work on programming, and contracts people part-time to enter reams of paper-based data.
IMG_1617-870x653 The KLP data-entry room in Bangalore – where all the magic happens.

But it has the potential to truly pay off. Here’s one example I loved: in India, local politicians – Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) – have small discretionary budgets to spend on their districts, which are often opaquely spent or unused. A few times each year, the KLP team compiles and delivers hard-copy reports to each MLA, highlighting schools with infrastructure shortfalls and suggesting how politicians could spend their budgets.
In South Africa, cutting edge work with data is also taking place. The Data Driven Districts Dashboard initiative (spearheaded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the New Leaders Foundation and the Department of Basic Education) consolidates information about attendance, grade progression and learning outcomes. It’s now up and running in nearly 25 districts in 3 provinces. For now, the platform is only open to education officials – although long-term, plans for a public version are in the works.

The KLP’s approach is deeply democratic at its core: the team believes that the locus of control in education needs to shift from the supply side to the demand side. Instead of waiting to receive services, and sighing and shrugging their shoulders when things don’t work out, citizens – and public accountability – should drive education provision.

Imagine what that kind of demand for education could do for South Africa.

via Head & Heart, by Katie Huston 

A future in robotics starts by winning the zonal RoboCup Junior Competition.

Yesterday, the 8th of November 2015, was a robotastic day for the kids of our Robotics Lab.

Three teams from the Vivek Nagar Government School in Bangalore participated in the South Zone – Robocup Junior Competition held at St John’s High School, Frazer Town.
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It goes without saying that these bright sparks outdid themselves in both the categories that they participated.

The mission under the RESCUE category was to locate victims of a natural disaster from a building, where the rescue personnel in place needed robotic assistance in dangerous areas.
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The Robot had to be fully autonomous and carry out the mission with no help. It even went over rough terrains (speed bumps in this case), without getting stuck.  When the robot finally found the victim, it carefully transported them to a safe area, where human intervention could take over.

Two out of the 26 teams fighting for this mission were from our Vivek Nagar School. Both these teams stormed through to the finals, bagging the 3rd and 4th place in the qualifying round.

But it was the team participating in the DANCE challenge that stole the show. The challenge: a robot designed, built and programmed by the team had to dance along with the entire team.This includes a whole range of possible performances, for example dance, storytelling, theatre or an art installation. The performances could include music if they wanted. Teams are encouraged to be as creative, innovative and as entertaining as possible. Sounds too hard to be true? Check out what these rockstars did for yourself.
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We came FIRST in this category. The children built a humanoid that can make moves supported by background music, and of course a great fan following. There was a lot of hooting and cheering, followed by a thunderous applause. 
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This is but a small high in their road to the finish. Undeterred by the wins of the day, they now have their eyes set on the big win. Determined to perform better than last time and win at the finals in January next year, they were already seen discussing what needs to be tackled next. All the best champs!

From hub-and-spoke to classroom libraries: lessons from Akshara

India and South Africa could learn a lot from each other, particularly when it comes to education.

Both have made great strides with primary school enrolment over the last few decades, but still struggle with the quality of learning outcomes – with a significant proportion of children in upper primary school who essentially cannot read. Both countries’ school leaving certificates – the SSLC in India, and the NSC in South Africa – have low value and do not signal competence or skills to employers. Both seek to balance the new opportunities technology affords with the reality that the poorest have limited access to smartphones, data and airtime.

This week, I’m in India to see for myself. I’ll be spending time in Bangalore, Mumbai, Aurangabad and New Delhi, meeting with organisations and visiting programmes that are pushing the boundaries in education. I plan to post throughout the week, and afterwards, about some of the things I’m learning.

On day one, I spent the afternoon with the team at the Akshara Foundation. Today I’ll outline the evolution of Akshara’s library programme, from a hub-and-spoke system to classroom libraries, and rave about their innovative way of tracking book checkouts.
Background of the library programme:
The Akshara Foundation was established in 2000, based on the belief that quality education is the undeniable right of every child. Over the last 15 years, its work has touched the lives of more than 1 million children in the state of Karnataka in South India. It focuses on preschool and primary school education.

While most government schools in Karnataka have libraries, these lack age-appropriate, attractive books and a working process. Teachers are not trained as librarians, and view extra work as a ‘burden’ they do not want to take on.

In 2007, Akshara launched a library programme using a hub-and-spoke model, where each “hub” – a physical library with a dedicated librarian – served a number of “spoke” schools, which were visited regularly by a mobile librarian. Books were colour-coded by difficulty, and librarians in hub schools ran additional activities to stimulate learning.

But after a few years, Akshara changed tack. It realised that there was no viable way to keep librarians in schools unless they remained on Akshara’s payroll – which was not a scalable or long-term solution. Usage met expectations: overall, 81% of children visited libraries at least once a month, and in most months, 60% borrowed at least one book. But what if kids could access the books whenever they wanted – not only when their class visited the library or the library came to them? And – while RCTs cannot provide the full picture of a social intervention’s effect – a 2012 randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the programme found no impact on student scores on a language skills test administered after 16 months.

In 2014, Akshara replaced its hub-and-spoke model with classroom libraries – which our South African partner Biblionef also increasingly advocates as the most effective model to get kids reading in schools. To date, they’ve placed libraries in 3 250 classrooms at 1 000 schools.
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The libraries themselves are cleverly designed: foldable book kits (which can be put away overnight) that hold about 100 books. Teachers receive a simple, half-day training in how to use the libraries and monitor usage.

A classroom library has a few benefits, compared to the hub-and-spoke model. First, it doesn’t require an extra person, though the burden on teachers remains low. Second, books are closer to kids, and more accessible on a daily basis.
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And third, progress is public, through an innovative and incredibly simple M&E system Akshara has developed. This got me most excited – as I’ve seen partners struggle to collect and manage data about library use at the school level.

Each library comes with a histogram, blocked out by month, which teachers hang on the wall (usually with a pencil hanging nearby). When a child checks out a book, the teacher – or sometimes the child herself! – marks it on the histogram, noting the month and the level of the book.

Once a month, teachers take and submit a photo of the histogram, which is then captured digitally to enable large-scale comparison and analysis. (What’s more, the data is all public on the Karnataka Learning Partnership – but that’s for another blog post!)

Ideally, as children use the library more often, and as their reading improves, the histogram will show both an increase in the number of books checked out per month, and in the difficulty of books children are reading.

Over the last year, this was indeed the case: the team told me that the average number of books checked out per learner per month rose from 2.5 at the start of the school year to 5.5 at the end of the year, and difficulty typically increased.

One shortcoming of this method is that it doesn’t tell whether one child is a big reader and another isn’t reading at all. Still, this could be addressed in other simple ways, such as reading logs.

Even with libraries in classrooms, closer to kids, schools close at 3:30 pm, which limits access to books. As an experiment, Akshara also hung 50 libraries at village tea shops in rural areas – the social spaces where everyone congregates after school and work. They aren’t tracking this methodically, but they’ve heard very positive feedback: kids read, adults read, adults read with kids. I love this idea of sparking reading in community spaces, simply by bringing books to where people are – and I wonder what the equivalent of the village tea shop would be in rural South Africa.
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Thank you to Ashok, Asha and Vaijayanti at Akshara for so generously sharing your time!

via Head & Heart, by Katie Huston