School Dropout Prevention Pilot Program

Nearly 16 percent of students in India leave after the fifth grade—the last year of primary school—while in some states it is more than 25 percent, according to data from India’s Education Management Information System.

Creative’s School Dropout Prevention Pilot program designs, implements and assesses interventions in four countries, including India. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In India, 113 schools are participating in the pilot, which is providing educators, parents and community leaders with important information on what causes children to dropout—and what keeps them in class. One hundred and seven schools are participating as a control group.

For example, evidence from the School Dropout Prevention Pilot’s situational analysis found that schools do not provide a supportive environment for academic success, self-esteem or enjoyment. Following a participatory design workshop, School Dropout Prevention Pilot developed two interventions—an Early Warning System and an in-school recreation/enrichment activities program.

The Early Warning System leverages data already being collected by schools and uses it to identify at-risk students and enhance the ability of educators and parents to respond. It integrates a voice-based messaging system to improve school-to-parent communication and other techniques to engage them.

In-school recreation/enrichment activities program provides structured, extra-curricular activities that foster cooperative learning, self-confidence, skill development and enthusiasm for school.

From October 2012 to March 2013, 5,700 fifth-grade students participated in enrichment program classes. By June 2013, the initiative had developed 10 audio scripts for an awareness-raising mobile phone campaign broadcast to nearly 4,000 parents.

To visit the School Dropout Prevention Lab, click here.


In Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, 26 percent of fifth grade children never make it to the sixth. Based on extensive research into the causes of absenteeism, an Early Warning System and an after-school Enrichment Program were developed to change that. These initiatives are part of the School Dropout Prevention Pilot, which also shows teacher how to identify and support student at risk of dropout. After-school activities make school a more engaging place where kids can learn and play, motivating them to come to school and stay the entire day. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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