The global pandemic had its deepest and most profound impact on the lives of children. While data showed that more than half of 10-year-old children globally were not able to read and understand a simple sentence before the pandemic, long school closures made the situation a lot worse, with nearly two-thirds of all children not being able to read with understanding. India is no exception to these trends.
Learning losses due to the pandemic, combined with low levels of learnings to begin with, put millions of children at risk of lagging behind not just in school, but also in their working lives.
In order to address this crisis, leading education actors and experts in India have recommended a deeper focus on the ‘building blocks’ of learning – foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN), which help children thrive in schools and throughout their lives. The Government of India has taken this issue seriously and is prioritizing achieving universal FLN in the new National Education Policy and through the NIPUN Bharat Mission.
Back-to-School Outcomes Fund Accelerator
Recognizing the urgent and important need for collaborative action alongside the Government of India’s NIPUN Bharat Mission, a coalition of partners is launching a first-of-its-kind initiative, the‘Back-to-School Outcomes Fund.’
The EdTech Accelerator forms an integral part of this Fund to achieve FLN goals for all children in India. The Accelerator aims to support EdTech solutions that are seeking to provide access to affordable and quality learning solutions for low-income contexts. It will also help organizations innovate to address challenges, and build evidence on learning outcomes, benchmarks, and cost-effectiveness, thereby supporting the education ecosystem to improve access to quality education at scale.
Over a period of two years, the Accelerator will fund eight high-quality EdTech solutions from both non-profit and private organizations that aim to build, pilot, measure, and test innovative ideas. Impact-focused grant funding and dedicated mentoring support will be available in year one, and grants to further scale up this work will be available in year two, thereby reaching up to 2.5 million children by 2025. More about the Accelerator here
The Accelerator is supported by
About Reliance Foundation
Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Limited, aims to play a catalytic role in addressing India’s development challenges through innovative and sustainable solutions. Led by Founder and Chairperson Smt. Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation is relentlessly working to facilitate transformative changes for the overall well-being and higher quality of life for all. Reliance Foundation is focused on addressing the nation’s development challenges in rural transformation, education, health, sports for development, disaster management, women empowerment, urban renewal, and arts, culture and heritage, and has touched the lives of more than 64 million people across India, in more than 53,000 villages and several urban locations. For more information, please visit
About UBS Foundation
UBS Optimus Foundation, was founded by UBS Group AG. We fund programs and businesses that help the most vulnerable around the world in the areas of health, education, protection of children and youth, and the environment. We acknowledge that each social problem may need a different solution and therefore, use a wide range of tools to achieve social and environmental impact: grant making, result-based financing such as development impact bonds, and investments into impactful businesses. The foundation manages more than 200 projects deploying around USD 160 million annually
About British Asian Trust
The British Asian Trust wants to see a South Asia that is prospering and fair for all. Our work supports large-scale, sustainable solutions that enable poor and marginalized people to achieve their full potential. Since we started in 2007, we have had a positive impact on the lives of almost 6.6 million people in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. We are global pioneers in social finance, with a strong track record of driving successful collaborations and applying social finance approaches to solve social and economic challenges in South Asia. We work to address challenges and barriers faced by non-profits, governments, donors, and other key stakeholders with social finance tools like impact bonds.
USAID is the U.S. Government’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID works to help lift lives, build communities, and advance democracy. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity goals; demonstrates American generosity; and helps countries progress along their development journey. In India, USAID is collaborating with the country’s growing human and financial resources through partnerships that catalyze innovation and entrepreneurship to solve critical local and global development challenges. To learn more, visit
Design and Implementation
About Central Square Foundation (CSF)
Central Square Foundation (CSF) is a non-profit organization, working with the vision of ensuring quality school education for all children in India. Since 2012, CSF has been partnering with the government, private sector, non-profit organizations, and other ecosystem stakeholders to improve the learning outcomes of children, especially from low-income communities. It is driven by its mission to enable the school education system to adopt solutions that are scalable, sustainable, and effective so that all children get equal access to opportunities needed for leading a better life.