The RightToRead Journey Began in Maharashtra with 125 Schools in 3 Districts
In 2014, the RightToRead program was launched in 3 districts of Maharashtra. The initial pilot of this ed-tech project was implemented in partnership with Social Empowerment and Economic Development Society (SEEDS) in 125 schools of Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna. This was a stepping stone towards improving government schools students’ English reading skills in Maharashtra using technology in the classroom. The program was supported by Forbes Marshall Foundation and donors from overseas who are committed to improving the education system in India.
What is RightToRead?
RightToRead is an educational technology initiative that aims to enable English literacy in India ( and globally) with the help of multi-sensory reading and comprehension AI software (ReadtoMe®). Research indicates, language is learnt best when learners are exposed to the language in a multi-sensory environment. ReadtoMe®, the AI software, enables the reading of prescribed English textbooks during normal class hours.
RightToRead – Building a Platform for Growth
In 2014-15, the implementation of ReadToMe® in digital classrooms of 125 schools enabled just over 250 teachers to use the AI platform in class. At that time, about 30,000 students from grades 6 – 8 were exposed to use of this technology in education. By the end of the academic year 2014-15, it was observed that students exposed to ReadToMe® demonstrated material improvement in English reading and comprehension as measured by tests conducted by a qualified assessment agency.
Encouraged by the success of this initial pilot, demonstrating the successful blend of technology and education, the Government of Maharashtra approved a further expansion of the RightToRead program. In 2016, the program was launched across 29 districts, in 3720 schools – a partnership between EnglishHelper, Schoolnet and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Independent tests by a third party underscored the impact of the program with improvement in excess of 20% recorded by students covered by the program as compared to students who were not exposed to this method of reading of English textbooks in class.
RightToRead Expands to Reach 65,000 Schools in Maharashtra!
Following the established success of the program and basis the feedback received from teachers and administrators, the platform was set for massive scale deployment. In 2018, the Government of Maharashtra, Schoolnet and EnglishHelper signed an MoU to implement the RightToRead Program in 65,000 digitally equipped government schools in the state.
Today, as the program rolls out across the state, more than 25,000 teachers have been trained and schools in 34 districts have implemented ReadtoMe®. It is estimated, over the next six months, more than 10 million (one crore) students in Maharashtra will be covered by the RightToRead initiative. Maharashtra is pioneering the demonstration of successful deployment of education technology in India!
From Teachers’ desks
“With the help of ReadToMe® software, students are not scared to answer in English now.’’
Thousands of teachers across Maharashtra are trained to deliver English classes with ReadToMe® software. Teachers observe greater student engagement in class and believe their own effectiveness is enhanced.
Nikhil Govind Pawar is an English teacher in a government school in Pittigudda district, Maharashtra. He says, “Students from grade 5 and 6 were scared of the English language and were not able to answer any questions asked in English. Now, for 2 years, I am using ReadToMe® software to teach English in grade 5 and 6. I use all the ReadToMe® tools such as English dictionary, picture dictionary, translation tool in class and now with the help of this software, students are not scared to answer in English!”
English teacher for grades 6 and 7, Anita Noite says, “the students from the rural areas were facing problems while reading and pronouncing English language words. With the help of ReadToMe® tools such as translation, read aloud and word-meaning, students are encouraged to pronounce and speak English correctly. By conducting regular ReadToMe® classes, students are improved in English speaking.”