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Introduction to Basic Technology (IBT)


Implementing institution: Lend-a-Hand India (LAHI) y Vigyan Ashram

Country: India

Source: CEI

Execution period: 2005 - in progress

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Challenges

To develop the technical and soft skills of young people at secondary level, connecting their education with the reality of everyday rural life and thus supporting their inclusion in society.

Solution

Small groups for STEM reinforcement and vocational development.

Results

The program allows for a 30% increase in secondary school enrolment and a 75-95% increase in school attendance. 25% of IBT students have taken university courses, while the others have demonstrated a level of entrepreneurship three times higher compared to traditional students.

The Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) conducted an evaluation of each intervention to determine which one had the best impact on student performance. Based on a representative sample of 500 elementary schools in 42 provinces, the IPA team formed 5 groups from 100 schools. The first four groups corresponded to one intervention, while the last group did not receive any. The students’ skills in terms of reading, listening and mathematical thinking were assessed before and after the intervention. The comparison of the results of each group has shown higher cost-benefit ratios for the reinforcement sessions, at a cost of USD$ 20.2/student: class sessions have increased students’ abilities by 0.142 standard deviation; sessions outside school hours, have done so at 0.133 (at an equivalent cost); the division of students into small groups according to their abilities has increased their capacities by 0.133 standard deviation at a cost of USD$19.4; and finally, teacher training of 0.083 SD for a cost of US$ 12.6. Introduction to Basic Technology (IBT) is a vocational reinforcement and development program that targets rural youth between grades 8 and 10. It is mainly financed by the NGO Lend-a-Hand India (LAHI), and the program involves, for its implementation, several grassroots social organizations and local authorities. The curriculum was designed by the Vigyan Ashram research centre in 1987. It was adapted in 2005 in the framework of the launch of “Project Plan 100”, whose objective was to implement the IBT methodology in 100 secondary schools in rural areas of India. Based on the hypothesis that practice-based thinking is the source of intelligence, IBT is based on a “learning by doing” approach. Classes include a variety of technical topics grouped into four categories: basic engineering, energy and environment, agronomy and hard sciences (mathematics, medicine).

 

Students are divided into groups of 10 to 15 people. They meet once a week for 4 or 5 hours during school hours. The schools provide the necessary rooms and equipment while asking for a small contribution from the students (between 20 and 100 rupees). Instead of hiring qualified teachers, the IBT program prefers micro entrepreneurs who live in the local community. They train them as instructors and offer them a small monetary reward for their participation. However, it requires a teacher who is necessarily involved to link the activities of the sessions to the formal curriculum.  On a monthly basis, an LAHI professional visits participating schools to advise instructors and monitor the progress of activities.

 

Since its launch in 2005, the IBT program has qualified 7,000 students in 80 public schools in five provinces of India (Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat).

Nearly a third of India’s population still lives below the poverty line, and a large proportion lives in rural areas. The main causes of poverty in these areas are the lack of access to productive assets, financial resources and other services, such as health and education. In this regard, 30% of young people between 15 and 29 years of age did not attend formal education, while only 10% enter university. Most of them work in informal jobs in the agricultural sector or in basic services, which are characterized by low incomes and instability.

Between 2012 and 2013, the implementing NGO LAHI has conducted a round of semi-structured interviews with a view to appreciating the impact of its program. Dimensions included participant satisfaction, graduation ratio and participation rates. The random sample reached 613 girls and 838 boys, grouped into 25 schools (50% of the total).

 

For a relatively high overall cost (US$ 318 per student), the study showed that the program triples young people’s self-employment and halves unemployment rates (from 39% to 15%). In addition, 25% of those surveyed say they have pursued their studies in University, which represents a great advance compared to the national average (5%).

 

The program also has an impact on school participation, which increases by between 75% and 95% depending on the region. The participation of girls in the IBT program has made it possible to reduce the gender discrimination they suffer in their environment, considering for example that 91% of the children surveyed say they have no problem working with the opposite sex. Despite these good results and given that the financing of the program is almost entirely in the hands of the NGO, the IBT program sees strong limitations due to the scarcity of public resources available in regions of high poverty.

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