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Chrysalis — Impact Brief

Introduction

In India, government provisioned early childhood education (before the age of 6 years or Grade 1) is often not widely available or not of the highest quality, which has created a market for private schools that charge nominal fees known as “Affordable Private Schools” where low-income families, who value education immensely, often send their children as soon as they can.   An estimated 160,000 such schools in urban areas alone fit the category of Affordable Private Schools and provide low-income families with access to education, particularly early years education, for their children. However, the setup of these schools is deeply fragmented and informal which causes limited standardization and widely variable quality.

Chrysalis’s flexible, play-based approach with developmentally appropriate activities suited for supporting the development of young minds, combined with their teacher support, assessment and management transformation is seeking to improve learning outcomes in these Affordable Private Schools. Based in India, Chrysalis has adopted an activity-based learning program keeping children and their development outcomes at the core of its work. Chrysalis focuses on four domains – cognitive, social, emotional and metacognitive learning, taking a holistic approach to learning.  The curriculum covers all subjects from nursery school, kindergarten as well as primary Grades 1-6.

Chrysalis also assists and builds capacity of teachers, parents and school administration through its learning transformation team, which, as the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped India, has proven critical to ensure continuity in children’s learning and development, with an explicit focus on emotional support.

Early childhood education and development is critical as the brain matures faster and is the most malleable it will ever be in a child’s first five years.  Supporting high quality early years education intervention is thus a key investment priority for GIF.

Use of GIF Funds

GIF has invested $1.6m via equity to fund the expansion of Chrysalis’s activity-based learning program in affordable private schools in India and deliver high quality early years education at an affordable cost. In addition, GIF funds will help Chrysalis develop new products, including technology enabled blended learning solutions specifically for low resource settings, to further improve the accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of their program.

Investment Objectives

Chrysalis takes its activity-based learning program to affordable private schools in India and improves the classroom learning environment, teacher and management capacity and ultimately learning outcomes for students in the pre-primary and primary grades.

  • Increase the proportion of APS schools and enrolled students receiving the activity-based program as a proportion of overall partner schools
  • Maintain operational and financial viability of the program to make the model sustainable
  • Improve the learning environment and outcomes in APS schools and establish M&E best practices to measure success; Chrysalis is harnessing the power of technology to establish student learning and developmental outcome measurement and enhancement.

Impact to Date

In the last 8 years, Chrysalis has reached over 300,000 students and 6,000 teachers across 800+ schools in India. In 2020 alone they worked with 730 schools reaching 270,000+ students, of which 359 can be classified as Affordable Private Schools with 121,000+ students receiving the Chrysalis curriculum.

Longitudinal data for Chrysalis partner schools has showed 12% improvement in student engagement, 19% improvement in school systems, 10% improvement in teachers as professionals and overall, 12% improvement on its proprietary ‘School Transformation’ rubric over 3 years. Chrysalis is one of the partners for the mission-driven consulting firm FSG’s improving early childhood learning programme in India.