Google gives grants to non-profits solving India's most 'serious' education problem

MSF teachers Representational image | Million Sparks Foundation

The state of school education in India is nothing to be happy about, but technology may soon change that perception. While edu-tech firms have been there, a set of non-profit start-ups are targeting the real problem in education—that of quality teachers. A large part of the problem in education is the lack of trained teachers and that is where these start-ups are focusing their energies.

Take for example, the Million Sparks Foundation. It has a mobile-centric technology platform called ChalkLit, which offers teacher training content to make classroom teaching more interesting. The platform gives tactical inputs to teachers on how to plan and teach their next class. In March 2016, ChalkLit was launched with an aim to support the teachers in affordable private schools.

The platform is currently in use by over 10,000 teachers, spread over 3,600 schools impacting more than 6,00,000 students. Nearly 87 per cent out of 599 teachers reported that their conceptual understanding of the topic covered has improved. The ChalkLit platform is currently being used by Delhi government teachers and also in Haryana, Goa and Uttar Pradesh.

Similarly, there is TheTeacherApp, which offers digital learning courses for teachers in maths, languages and science through interactive videos. It has 95,000 registered users, out of whom 2,000 are average daily return users. It has a 67 per cent course completion rate and is currently being used by governments in Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

"By 2022, we plan to impact 1 million teachers and 30 million children. We are currently creating content till class 5, but we would like to scale it up to class 8,” says Vinod Karate, CEO and founder of TheTeacherApp.

Google's philanthropic arm——announced on Thursday a funding grant of $1 million for TheTeacherApp. It had funded Million Sparks Foundation last year. will also provide a $2 million grant and technical assistance from the YouTube Learning team to the Central Square Foundation to aid the expansion of high-quality, curriculum-aligned educational video content. The grant will support a minimum of 20 content creators to produce at least 200 hours of quality science, technology, engineering and maths content in Hindi and vernacular languages.

India was among the first countries to receive grants from’s global $50 million commitment to support non-profits that are building tech-based learning solutions that tackle education challenges in developing countries. With the additional grants,’s total grant for NGOs in India to support learning and education efforts stands at $11.4 million.