The development impact bond (DIB) works on improving quality education for marginalized communities, especially girls, in remote and rural India. The success of the first DIB in the world has immense implications for education policy and innovative financing instruments. DIB ties financial returns and payments to rigorously-measured social outcomes and has the potential to sustain long-term, result oriented partnerships among non-government investors and donors.
World’s first Development Impact Bond (DIB) – Quality Education India is regarded as the most ambitious education impact bond to date. It works on providing quality education for marginalized communities, especially girls, in remote and rural India. According to Brookings Institute, “Quality Education India DIB, innovative financing mechanism has the potential to fund improved learning outcomes over four years for more than 300,000 primary school children in Gujarat and Delhi – making this the most ambitious education impact bond contracted to date.”
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The project aims at improving literacy and numeracy skills, push focus towards outcomes in the development sector and transform the way education is funded in India. DIBs are results-based finance mechanisms and the donors/philanthropists only pay for successful results. If the outcomes are not achieved, the funders do not pay.
The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, at the launch of Quality Education India DIB, said “every rupee to be spent in this DIB aligns with one goal that is improving the quality of education. This type of outcome-based funding is fundamental for driving quality and improving learning outcomes in the education sector.”
Educate Girls, a non-governmental organization has collaboration with this project. The organization’s Executive Director Safeena Husain, speaking to Alliance Magazine said, “the funding enabled us to innovate and apply tailored solutions to enrol the hardest to reach girls in school and significantly improve the learning levels of a large number of marginalized first-generation learners.”
Initially, when the project commenced (2015 – 2018), Rajasthan was chosen by Educate Girls because the state had some of the worst indicators for girls’ education in India. The programme aimed to provide a targeted intervention to 9,000 out-of-school girls in Bhilwara district. The DIB sought to increase school enrolment and improve learning outcomes. After the targeted intervention, it was announced that the programme achieved massive success registering 116% of its enrolment target and 160% of its learning target.
Though making considerable progress economically, India still has the highest illiterate population in the world. More needs to be done for the girl’s education. The present government’s initiative ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padho’ (Save Daughters, Educate Daughters) is the good step but gender inequality remains a major problem. Addressing this issue is like stepping on molten stones. It requires vision, commitment and resources.