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Bridges to the Future Initiative, India

This project is in collaboration with Penn’s International Literacy Institute and Graduate School of Education. The BFI project, completed in Andhra Pradesh in January 2007, by developing a package of 12 lessons on 6 CDs in Telugu for child and youth dropout literacy and lifeskills, is planned to be extended to developing Hindi-language literacy and life skills lessons on CDs in collaboration with the India Habitat Centre’s (IHC) twelve Habitat Learning Centres in Delhi, targeted at underprivileged schoolchildren and dropout children and youth. An MOU between the University of Pennsylvania’s International Literacy Institute (ILI), UPIASI and IHC has been signed and fund-raising efforts have been on over the past three years, despite an unfavourable climate, and are continuing.  This project is a radically innovative one which seeks to explore policy alternatives to rapid spread of literacy and lifeskills in India in a context where the school dropout rate is high at all levels. The project was funded by the Spencer Foundation, JPMorganChase, ICICI Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, and the Andhra Pradesh Government.

The Telugu CDs package had been accepted by the Andhra Pradesh government in 2007 and is being implemented in 200 schools according to the last-received information.

A research paper has been published in an international journal –
Daniel A. Wagner, University of Pennsylvania, and C. J. Daswani, Consultant and National Coordinator, BFI project, UPIASI, and Romilla Karnati, University of Pennsylvania, “Technology and Mother Tongue-Literacy in Southern India: Impact Studies among Young Children and Out-of-School Youth”, ITID Journal, Vol. 6, No. 4, Winter 2010.

For a short video describing the project, click here.