Using the principles of microfinance to reinvent education

Mohammed Yunus revolutionized banking for the poor by showing how rural uneducated illiterate women were able to transmute a small amount of money into a better life for their family by investing it sensibly for generating income.

We need to use the same bottom-up model in order to help mothers educate their kids. Low-income mothers are highly invested in giving their kids a better life and will work hard to do so. By helping them to create micro-schools aka community-based learning pods, we can make their dreams a reality on a shoestring budget

Because the schools will be community-based they will teach in local languages, using culturally appropriate idioms . This will help kids learn faster and better. Because parents are so intimately involved in how their kids learn, they will learn along with them as well!

These schools will be much more student-friendly and family-friendly. Because they are part of the neighbourhood, everyone can pitch in to make sure that kids get to learn real-life skills. Most of these are available in every community, no matter how remote it is, or how poor.

Presently, these families are being forced to send kids to poor-quality Govt primary schools which are many miles away. The teacher is often absent and really doesn’t care about teaching because he only wants to draw his salary. This alternative model can change the face of Indian education.

The concept of microfinance upended the role which banks played in distributing credit to what were thought to be uncreditworthy women because they were poor and illiterate. We can apply the same formula to education, so that women are empowered to give their kids a head-start, without having to depend on impersonal uncaring govt schools or expensive private schools.

All they would need is tablets loaded with high quality free educational content ( which is now easily available at,, and

That’s the beauty of community-based learning pods aka micro-schools, where parents pool their resources to give their kids a world-class education, rather than leaving them to the mercy of the broken school system.

The good news is that many of the buildings which could also be used as learning pods already exist – in the form of panchayat halls, anganwadis, temples, and primary health centers !

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