A CSR-funded Development Impact Bond project aimed at improving foundational language learning is underway in Haryana; Social Finance India leads the design of pay-for-outcomes structure; project to last till March 2022; Rs 14 crore committed by IndusInd Bank and Rs 2.8 crore by SBI Capital Markets (through SBI Foundation)
The Haryana Early literacy Outcomes Development Impact Bond (DIB), a CSR-funded DIB project aimed at improving foundational language learning, is underway in Haryana. It is led by the Haryana School Shiksha Pariyojna Parishad (HSSPP) in partnership with IndusInd Bank and SBI Capital Markets implemented by the Language and Learning Foundation.
The project is working to bring the Language and Learning Foundation’s evidence-based programme to 115,000 children in 3,330 schools across seven districts in Haryana till March 2022, a significant increase over the current successful intervention covering 3,500 students across 175 schools.
While India has made substantial gains towards providing access to education, the foundational learning levels are low and declining further. Only a quarter of all children in Grade 3 can read at ‘grade level’ and only 50% of Grade 5 students can read a Grade 2 text (ASER, 2018). India’s performance in early learning outcomes is low, even by the benchmark of other developing countries. For instance, only 28% of Grade 2 children in Tanzania and 37% in Nepal could not read a single word of a short text, 85% of children in Grade 2 in India could not do so (World Development Report, 2018).
The Language and Learning Foundation’s founder Dhir Jhingran said: “Due to poor foundational learning, student learning levels in India flatline in secondary school, and this results in a widening learning deficit that significantly reduces the child’s life chances as well as the government’s return on investment in that child’s education. In fact, only 30% of children enrolling in Grade 1 in India graduate from Grade 12.”
This project pilots a new method of utilising CSR funds for outcomes payment in India; conceptualised by the Tata Trust-backed Social Finance India, it enables CSR entities to pay for outcomes, instead of inputs and activities. The performance or impact guarantee is provided by the investors or philanthropic foundations. In this case, the Central Square Foundation plays the role of the guarantor role in the DIB and will make up to 20% in payments in case of underachievement of outcomes. The outcomes will be assessed by Educational Initiatives, an independent and specialist evaluator.