Over 260 people from around the world participated in a webinar on 10 December organised by our partners at the Transform Schools, People for Action. The event marked the formal launch of an independent evaluation of their ‘Utkarsh’ programme. Utkarsh is the name of the scale-up programme based on the Transform Schools model and methods.

An expert panel that included Dr Sabrin Beg from the University of Delaware who was the Principal Investigator of the Randomised Control Trial, Dr Sandra Sequeira from the London School of Economics and representatives from The Government of Odisha, Transform Schools, the British Asian Trust, Kusuma Trust UK, The/Nudge, and affiliated researchers from J-PAL who conducted the evaluation, shared some of the key findings. These included:

* Utkarsh added up to 0.67 years of additional learning in just 50 hours of subject teaching
* Participants learnt significantly more (40-200% more) compared to the control group
* Students from the Utkarsh programme showed an improved performance on adapted questions from assessments under the Programme for International Student Assessment
* The programme presents an excellent opportunity to tackle the learning crisis many States in India face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event highlighted the importance of putting the limited resources available in the sector to good use, efficiently and based on evidence and rigorous learning. 268 million Indian students have been unable to attend school due to COVID-19. 80% of these students are from low-income households with limited access to online learning tools. Based on the findings of the evaluation Utkarsh has the potential to address and reverse the learning losses that have occurred this year.

Pankaj Vinayak Sharma, Executive Director of Transform Schools said: “Transform Schools seeks to outpace the problem of poor learning outcomes in India in partnership with State and investor partnerships to reach at least 25 per cent of children in government schools in India by 2023 with our proven offering. The time to act and change education and life outcomes in India is now,”

You can read more about the work of Transform Schools here and more about the Utkarsh programme here.