STIR Education is a young, ambitious NGO with a mission to empower teachers to lead change in their classrooms, schools and the wider communities, in order to improve learning for all children.
Our reason for being
We have a global learning crisis on our hands– over three hundred million children across the developing world are now in school but simply not learning. For example, over 50% of Indian fifth graders are at least three grade levels behind what they should be (ASER, 2012). In Uganda, 90% of grade 3 children are unable to read and understand an English story text of grade 2 level difficulty; 70% of grade 3 children are unable to solve numerical written division sums of grade 2 level difficulty (Uwezo, 2012). This absence of learning threatens the opportunity for the next generation of young people to escape poverty and benefit from economic growth in their countries.
Evidence suggests that committed, open-minded, capable teachers could make the single biggest difference to addressing this learning crisis. But in practice teachers are demotivated, disempowered and underequipped: one in four Indian teachers is absent on any given school day; 84% of Ugandan primary school teachers surveyed want to quit teaching.
STIR has created a model that empowers teachers to fundamentally re-imagine their role in leading change in their classrooms, schools and the wider education system. STIR adopts a four-stepped approach to bring about a teacher-led movement for change. We start with the ‘bright spots’ – identifying teachers who have even a small, initial spark of commitment and innovation – and use recognition, peer pressure, soft incentives, certification, (offline) social networking and cross-sector partnerships to bring about a teacher-led movement for change within the existing system.
Having completed a successful pilot project in India (with the support of ARK, the British Council and DFID), STIR is now ready to test the STIR model in a second geography and is planning to launch an East Africa pilot programme in Uganda.