Janaki Devi Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (JDSKV) situated in Mayur Vihar, Delhi is an all-girls school with a strength of over 2000 girls. These girls come from culturally diverse backgrounds and most of them are a part of the disempowered section of society, with little or no initiation into the language of English. Hindi is the medium of communication at home and elsewhere. Hence, English learning is limited to a few class periods in school.
Every year, the education system of India produces young adults with inadequate English language skills – the cycle of the inadequacy of English learning has continued over the decades, with little or no improvement.
In 2018, 13.5% of girls in the age group of 15-16 were not enrolled in schools. Over the decades, there has been an increase in the number of girls enrolled in schools. This is good news. However, the increase in the enrolment ratio cannot guarantee a better future for girls in school if we do not improve the quality of education provided.
Bringing Change with a Technology-Enabled Solution
The RightToRead program was introduced in JDSKV in classes 6 to 8 in 2019 in partnership with the American India Foundation (AIF).
RightToRead is an edtech initiative for English reading and comprehension for school children. The program aims at enabling English literacy with the deployment of multi-sensory reading and comprehension AI software – ReadToMe®. RightToRead focuses on integrating technology and education in the classroom. The teacher continues to lead the process in a much more effective way. Assessments conducted across various states in India have shown an improvement in the English language proficiency of students learning to read their English textbook with the help of ReadToMe®.
The teachers and students at JDSKV have noticed remarkable changes in students within a year of implementing the program. The girls have become confident in holding English conversations. The English teacher proudly says that she finds students talking in English even outside the English class. Students interact more in the ReadToMe® class. The Picture dictionary is the most loved feature of the ReadToMe® software. ReadToMe® has become an essential part of the classroom. The Principal of JDSKV also praises the RightToRead program. She says, “RightToRead offers a non-traditional way of teaching English. My girls enjoy it thoroughly and the teachers also find it handy to achieve their curriculum goals. RightToRead has fit into our timetable and has become an indispensable part of the English classroom. The utilitarian nature of the product has made it a valuable teaching and learning tool.”
RightToRead: A Path to English Literacy
RightToRead was launched in 2013 in 100 schools across 6 states in India. It is estimated to achieve a footprint of 100,000 schools and benefit nearly 20 million students by early 2020.
RightToRead is taking multi-sensory English learning, by combining technology and education to government schools in the farthest corners of the country. Proficiency in English provides an opportunity for children from socially and economically marginalized segments of society to improve their lives. Its implementation in these schools gives students ( and in schools like JDSKV – girls) an opportunity to learn English at a very young age. English literacy and learning are effective in reducing barriers, developing skills and increasing educational, social and economic opportunities. Providing girls’ education and helping them build English language proficiency means providing them with a chance to choose a healthier and happier life.
Across the education system in India, this blend of technology and education for enhancing English literacy is being demonstrated as an efficient, effective and scalable solution for improving English reading and comprehension skills.
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