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Teach For India: One day all children will attain excellent education; Rise of a Phenomena

Entering a low-income private school to spend some time with underprivileged students, I was pleasantly surprised to observe them watching my favorite director Christopher Nolan’s science fiction movie Inception. It was a welcome change from the humdrum routine of their life. The movie was part of the cultural week which Teach For India fellows were organizing in the school. Next few hours we spent talking about our experiences and motivations to develop both professionally and personally. The experience was very insightful and was duly impressed by the efforts made by fellows from Teach For India to bring in creativity to develop personal growth in children. It took some time for this article to materialize. I had met many fellows from Teach for India and was invited once to address students in one the schools by Nishit (one of the fellows in Pune of Teach For India). Fortunate to have met Sandeep Rai who heads Pune Center, invited me to feature an article on the subject on my request.


Teach of India is one the initiatives under the umbrella Teach For All Mission which is a holistic attempt to provide high-quality primary education to underprivileged students around the world. Teach for All was founded in 2007 by Wendy Kopp (CEO of Teach For America) and Brett Wigdortz (CEO of Teach First) and today is present in 39 countries. Wendy Kopp envisioned the concept of Teach For All when she was pursuing her undergraduate degree (her thesis) at Princeton University. In this video she speaks about a more equitable education around the world, her motivation and determination to change the world for the better.

Lack of primary and secondary education is primarily responsible for 14% of the global population still living in extreme poverty earning less than $1.25 per day. Education is the most fundamental right of any human being and QUALITY education leads to a reduction of economic, social, racial and gender inequality.

# Educational inequity perpetuates poverty

“If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day would be reduced by 12%—lifting 171 million people out of poverty.”

Lack of primary and secondary education is primarily responsible for 14% of the global population still living in extreme poverty earning less than $1.25 per day. Education is the most fundamental right of any human being and QUALITY education leads to reduction of economic, social, racial and gender inequality. 

Educational inequity fuels prejudice that starts in the classroom and perpetuates injustice and conflict across borders. “When a country’s secondary school enrollment rate is 10% higher than average, its risk of civil war decreases by 3%.” 

e05c9c30-1ef8-4dbb-ae3d-573e50f294d6Teach For India was started in 2009 by Shaheen Mistri who had previously served for 20 years as the founding member and CEO of Akanksha (A well known NGO) and was inspired to adapt Teach For America model in India after meeting Wendy Kopp.

Shaheen’s inspiring talk in TED about her journey in humanitarianism and social work.


Pic: Teach For India

Teach For America is a very successful educative model under Teach For All initiative and was started in America in 1989. Anu Aga, the great humanitarian is the chairman while Shaheen Mistri is the CEO of Teach For India. Teach For India started as a stand alone NGO with initial support from Teach For America which provided operational support including Pedagogical Support to set up the MISSION in India. Sandeep Rai an alum of Columbia University, worked as a fellow in Teach For America for two years and presently heads the Pune center. Pune center has today 215 fellows are very well qualified who either have a Bachelor or Masters Degree and teach in 52 schools with 117 classrooms around Pune impacting about 10,000 students.

Today, Teach For India is in 7 cities – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru. We have a total of approximately 1104910bcba3-5ea9-49c2-bcf1-d249dc64cbed Fellows and 1100 Alumni working towards eliminating educational inequity

# What do you mean by fellows? Can I also become a fellow in the program ?

Fellowship: The fellowship in Teach For India is a two year process wherein applicants are invited to apply for screening process to qualify for the program. The applicants are evaluated for multitude of factors especially leadership abilities, affable personality etc. The fellowship is highly selective with 8.2% of admissions rate. Last year 13500 applicants applied for the program,1100 offers were given out while 684 applicants accepted the offer. Once the applicants accept the offer they become Fellows for a period of two years. Both working professionals from renowned corporates like Accenture, Deloitte and leading universities like Columbia University, IIM, IIT, Lady Sri Ram College to name a few have worked as fellows in the prestigious Teach For India program.

Abhimanyu, CA is presently working as a Senior Program Manager in Teach For India. He used to work in KPMG in international taxation when he decided to switch careers and venture into humanitarianism. Abhimanyu brings with him 4+ years of leadership experience in the field of education which includes leading, designing & executing program strategy, teacher training, leadership development and coaching, and building organisational culture for the entire Pune operations of Teach For India impacting ~10000 students, 52 schools, 215 Fellows and 25 staff members

I spoke to him briefly and he shared his message with everyone.

Once inducted, Fellows go through a 5 week residential training in Pune before they are relocated into different cities and government and low income private schools.

# Do you need prior teaching experience?

TFIlogoNo worries. Teach For India has a mentoring program. The mentorship program provides a well rounded personal development with a special emphasis on Leadership. The fellows are trained by an experienced and well qualified team of professionals most of whom themselves have completed two years of fellowship experience. Latest techniques and skills are taught to fellows over the period of two years including use of videos and documentaries to make their teaching experience more impactful. After two years of fellowship experience some of the fellows choose to join Teach For India as administrative staff while many choose to join other NGOs, apply for further studies, join policy making in government agencies and so forth.

Pic Teach For India

35d44e0a-a51e-46c8-b4b5-74e93fce5ecbIts not easy to join Teach For India after the fellowship considering the process is very selective and many fellows chose to pursue other initiatives.Teach For India facilitates in the job hunt for fellows while they are undergoing the second year of fellowship through their job portal. After successfully completing two years of fellowship, the fellows become alumni who becoming leaders in their own right in diverse profiles carrying forth the vision of proliferating high quality education in India and in case of Teach For All around the world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Pic Teach For India

With Naushin from Outreach team has to say for wannabe applicants.

The focus of Fellowship program is two fold. One is Short Term and the other being Long Term. Short Term focus is to place outstanding working professionals and college graduates in under resourced and low income schools for a period of two years to hone them in experiential experience to better understand the challenges facing education sector and educational inequity.

                                      ” 42% of Children Drop Out before completing primary education in India “

Long Term is create a movement of leaders around the world who will drive forth the impetus to eliminate educational inequity.

When Venerable Swami Vivekananda said “Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached “ he meant to follow a spiritual path for your personal development while spread knowledge through high quality education to masses to reduce social and economic equity. Abraham Lincoln “The best way to predict the future is to make it”. So lets all walk on this path together…to spread knowledge and educate underprivileged children, who will go on to make a bright and equitable India…(Pic With Nishit and students from the school recently visited)

Leave you with a vision, a vision where everyone has an equal chance to learn, opportunity to grow, opportunity to create, opportunity to aspire, opportunity to build, opportunity to excel.


This is one of the earlier articles before the Middle Road OPC Pvt Ltd was incorporated.


Nishant Malhotra


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