‘LiftEd’ programme launches to improve learning outcomes for 4m children in India

Up to 4 million children across India are to benefit from LiftEd, an initiative to foster learning and innovation in FLN (foundational literacy and numeracy) launched by a coalition of leading CSR, philanthropic, and non-profit education partners.

On International Day of Education, leaders across private sector and civil society have come together to launch LiftEd (Learning and Innovation in FLN to Transform Education) an initiative that will impact the lives of 4 million children in India across 5 years. This diverse coalition aims to strengthen India’s education ecosystem, unlock the potential of children and young people across India, and improve life chances for millions.

The Government of India has identified foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) as an ‘urgent and necessary prerequisite to learning’; in 2021, it launched the landmark NIPUN Bharat Mission to equip every child aged 4-10 with FLN skills by 2026-27. Recognising that collaborative action from the private sector and civil society can act as an ‘impact multiplier’ to bolster the government’s commitment to furthering India’s education goals, LiftEd brings a vibrant and diverse mix of education experts together to improve FLN in India, raising up to USD 20 million (INR 166 crore).

Given that FLN is understood as the ability to read and understand basic text and solve basic mathematical problems by the end of grade three, it is the cornerstone on which a child’s learning journey is built. Over 5 years, LiftEd’s ambition is to strengthen these ‘building blocks’ of learning through a dual approach: on-ground and at-home interventions:

LiftEd’s on-ground education partners are working with state governments and school facilitators in five geographies (Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi NCR, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar) to train them and build their capacity to improve FLN levels for public school children across grades 1-3. To achieve results at scale, working with stakeholders who influence education is critical and helps the education partners – Kaivalya Education Foundation, Language and Learning Foundation, Peepul, and Pratham Education Foundation – take a ‘systems change’ approach. As such, training block and district officers, school principals, and teachers enables LiftEd to positively impact more lives across a sustained period of time, as each person trained can have a ripple effect reaching several batches of students.

In parallel, LiftEd has also launched an EdTech Accelerator to develop digital solutions to improve FLN for low-income students in India. Eight innovative partners – Amira Learning, Chimple, Ei Mindspark, Pratham Education Foundation, Rocket Learning, Sesame Workshop, ThinkZone, and Top Parent – have been chosen to be a part of the EdTech Accelerator following a rigorous selection process. They are working towards developing high-quality and contextually relevant solutions focused on the bottom of the pyramid, and are receiving dedicated support in the form of mentorship, capacity building workshops, and funding through the Accelerator.

LiftEd is anchored by founding partners such as Atlassian Foundation, Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, British Asian Trust, the Maitri Trust, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Reliance Foundation, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS Optimus Foundation, and USAID. The British Asian Trust is the programme leader and Central Square Foundation and Dalberg Advisors are design and technical partners. It is a part of the SDG Outcomes initiative.

Since LiftEd is designed to incorporate principles of outcomes-based financing – collaboration, scale, innovation, and a razor-sharp focus on measurable outcomes – it puts transformational impact for children at the heart of its focus.

Amit Shah, Director, Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, said:

“We’re hugely excited about the potential of LiftEd. By working to improve basic literacy and numeracy skills at a systems level, we believe it can have a transformative impact on the lives of millions of children in India over the next four years, while also helping to shape the future of education in the country. LiftEd is also a great example of the power of partnerships in creating and scaling effective solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Bridges is delighted to be able to contribute what we’ve learned from over a decade of delivering outcomes-based projects, and we’re really grateful to our partners on the SDG Outcomes initiative for helping us to bring this pioneering collaboration to life.”