TFI places some of India’s top graduates as teachers in some of the poorest schools across India. Devanik Saha talks about his teaching experience.
It is widely recognised in India that there is a crisis in education – there is a huge demand for a well-educated, English speaking workforce, but many of the state schools are not rising to the challenge. A recent Harvard-MIT study showed that on average 25% of state school teachers are absent on any one day. But, as TFI fellows admit, it’s impossible to understand the impact of this without first-hand experience.
Devanik Saha is a Teach For India 2011 Fellow teaching seven-to-eight year olds in a poor district of New Delhi. He holds a B.Tech Electronics & Communication from Vellore Institute of Technology, India. He is also Director, Youth For Policy & Dialogue, a think tank comprised entirely of young people. He was appalled when he first met children aged eight who could not write their own names. Many also could not write any numbers, nor distinguish between basic letters like b and d, d and p, etc. He writes: “It was both shocking and frustrating. However, over time, my students have made good progress. Although their progress is slow, it gives me hope that Teach For India can indeed improve outcomes.”