Of all the socio-economic challenges plaguing Sri Lanka, perhaps the most alarming is our policymakers’ inability to address the severe learning losses experienced by millions of children during the pandemic and enduring lack of access to high-quality educational opportunities due to the economic downturn. In the midst of this crisis, a group of passionate educators and young change-makers are taking matters into their own hands.

Teach First Sri Lanka is a grassroots social impact enterprise with a powerful vision to ensure equitable access to free, high-quality education for all children in the country. Dr. Tara de Mel -leading voice in education and TFSL Board Director – highlights that while developed nations focus on the emerging ‘AI divide’, Sri Lanka struggles with more fundamental, longstanding educational disparities. The pandemic and its aftermath dealt a severe blow to an already failing education system, leaving countless children without access to any form of learning for over two years, not only impacting current academic achievement, but limiting future employment prospects.

Teach First Sri Lanka’s vision for rapidly transforming this dire situation utilizes Teach for All’s globally-recognized ‘Teacher-Leader Fellowship’ model, while also targeting the chronic scarcity of Science, Technology, English and Math (STEM) teachers in rural, under-served schools. Candidates accepted into the Fellowship undergo a rigorous, full-time six-week residential program, based on proven global best practices in teaching & learning.

When Fellows enter the classroom, they continue to be supported every step of the way by an experienced Instructional Coach working directly with them in the classroom, guiding their professional and personal development over the course of the two-year Fellowship. The impact that motivated, diverse young Fellows can have on our most under-resourced schools – when equipped with modern teaching techniques and a support system enabling them to develop their leadership potential – is unimaginable!

Beyond the immediate educational impact, the Fellowship fosters a powerful alumni network of young leaders dedicated to addressing deep-rooted issues within the education system. This model, successfully implemented in 60 countries by the Teach For All network, has already positively affected the lives of millions of children and stakeholders in countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

In a significant step forward, Teach First Sri Lanka is readying the launch of a one-year pilot Fellowship program, focused on three key pillars: find promising young leaders, train/support them to become excellent teachers and promote systemic change. In partnership with Child Action Lanka (CAL), the pilot program will be implemented in five schools in the Eravupaththu division in the Batticaloa West Education Zone.

Teach First Sri Lanka believes the deep-rooted issues within our education system can only be addressed by actively engaging local communities and stakeholders. To improve the lives of our ‘next generation’, Fellows must go behind the confines of the classroom, empowering their students to become change-makers and leaders in their own right – transforming our failed education system into one that works for all children.

Teach First Sri Lanka extends an open invitation to individuals, organizations and communities to join hands in supporting their mission to make a real difference in the lives of millions of children. Nothing less than the future of our nation is at stake. If you are interested in contributing to this effort, or would like to know more, please visit www.teachfirst.lk.

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