Schools & Communities Champion Education through Joyful Learning

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.


USAID’s School Dropout Prevention Pilot in India, known locally as Anandshala (“joyful learning”) uses teacher training and community engagement to identify at-risk children and extra-curricular activities to make learning fun and boost attendance.


In India’s poorest state of Bihar, too many children were missing too many days of school. Through the USAID School Dropout Prevention Pilot, an Early Warning System was developed to help teachers identify students who were at-risk, understand the reasons they miss school and strategize with families to get them back in the classroom—and to keep them engaged.

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Educators were having trouble connecting with families of students who are at-risk of leaving school. To bridge the gap, the USAID School Dropout Prevention Pilot created “community champions.” Through home visits, community volunteers better understand the reason for absenteeism and underscore the importance of education.

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How do you entice children to come to school? Make learning fun. That was the principle underlining the USAID School Dropout Prevention Pilot’s Enrichment Program. With help from “community champions,” teachers use arts and crafts, games and songs to energize students.

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The teachers knew their job was to instruct. But there was so much more they could be doing for their poor students in rural India. Through the USAID School Dropout Prevent Pilot, teachers learned how to assess student progress, identify at-risk youth and create a more engaging learning atmosphere. Teachers have realized their job is not only to instruct, but it is also to help their students in their development and growth.

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