Apply for funding

Chrysalis – Making Quality Early Childhood Education in India more affordable and accessible

By Avinash Mishra, Investment Director and Lily Steele, Investment Associate  |   Posted 18th December 2020

The Global Innovation Fund, GIF, announced today it is investing $1.6 million investment in EZ Vidya Private Limited which operates under the brand name ‘Chrysalis’, an early childhood and primary years education organisation reaching children from low-income families in India. The investment will help the company to expand its operations, particularly to the Affordable Private Schools segment, improve and make its curriculum product more affordable, and better enable ease of access through school capacity building and incorporation of technology.

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 and kindergarten as well as primary Grades 1-6. In the last 8 years, Chrysalis has reached over 300,000 students and 6,000 teachers across 800+ schools in India.

“Since its inception, Chrysalis has always stood for the child. Now, this focus has gained further impetus with support from Global Innovation Fund,” Chrysalis CEO and Founder Chitra Ravi said. “Through this partnership, we will look to expand our presence as well as deepen impact especially in the Affordable Private School segment, with innovations in meaningful ed-tech being one of the key levers. We are excited about this partnership and committed to “Awakening the Human Potential in every child” and spreading our wings to millions of children.”

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.

Photo source Chrysalis/EZ Vidya Private Limited.

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. As the global pandemic continues to unfold, therefore, young children are especially vulnerable to missing out on these critical early years which are an essential period to get children the stimulation and learning opportunities they need to succeed in school and grow up to be healthy, productive adults.

Studies have found that when early childhood education programmes are made available to all children, poor and minority backgrounds benefit the most because the educational inputs they are able to access at home are often limited. Pre-primary school and nursery attendance is particularly important in helping the disadvantaged children catch-up with their peers and have a strong foundation for school. As a result, school closures due to COVID-19 is expected to have a bigger impact on the economically disadvantaged students than their peers, making the attainment gap even wider. Alarmingly, studies suggest that almost a decade of progress in narrowing the gap may have been reversed because of the pandemic.

Chrysalis’ strength is that over the last eight years they have developed, refined and rigorously implemented an integrated curriculum and school development program and now provide one of the most well-designed and complete program structures for early grades.

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, 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 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.