Improving access to quality education in India

Indo-Pacific
India

Challenge

In India, where 800 million of the country’s 1.3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day, education is essential to helping youth populations move out of poverty. Yet, India’s public school system is insufficient to serve almost 400 million children under age 14. Almost one-quarter of all school-aged children are not enrolled in school and of those children who do attend school, more than half attend private schools.

Varthana_School_1

Solution and Impact

Financing to Varthana is helping more low-income children access the education they need. Varthana is a business that provides loans to affordable private schools that fill the gap in education that government schools cannot meet.

These schools—which are different from the higher-cost premium private schools—typically charge between $5 and $15 per month. Entrepreneurs in India have launched hundreds of thousands of these schools to reach more low-income families but because traditional financial institutions do not typically lend to this sector, the schools struggle to invest in equipment, technology, teacher training and even basic facilities: More than one-third of all schools lack toilets.

Since Varthana was launched in 2014, it has provided financing to 6,000 schools across 15 states in India, serving 4.2 million students.