The overall literacy rate in Karnataka is pegged at 75.36 per cent and is above the national average of 65 per cent; as many as 15 out of 27 districts have literacy rates that are significantly below the state average. In order to get a better and informed view of the situation in Karnataka, a feasibility study was conducted by the Trusts, in collaboration with the Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT).

Based on this study, the Yadgir district, with a literacy rate of 37 per cent coupled with a significantly high dropout rate, and Chamrajanagar district were selected for focused interventions based on criteria of under development.

Consequently, in October 2007, the Navajbai & Sir Ratan Tata Trusts started operations of the ‘Kalike Samruddhi Upakram’ (Learning Enhancement Initiative) in Karnataka. The initiative addresses locally specific challenges and district level interventions around the following principals:

  • Facilitating systemic reform in elementary education by working with the existing system and strengthening it
  • Working with multiple stakeholders to influence and enhance the child’s learning
  • Recognizing and enhancing the active role of the teacher in creating child-centered classrooms
  • Promoting professionalism within elementary education
  • Developing process-oriented interventions to address challenges in making elementary education accessible, meaningful and enjoyable for children.

At the outset, a baseline study was commissioned in 2008 to understand the macro and micro issues of Yadgir district, Karnataka. Some of the major educational challenges reflected within the study were low learning achievements of children (Karnataka School Quality Assessment Organisation ), high school dropouts (almost 40% to 50%), seasonal migration (30% to 40% families), teacher absenteeism, dysfunctional School Development and Management Committees (SDMC) and Panchayati Raj Institutions, low community participation in Government schools and Anganwadis’, child labour issues, etc. Hence, Kalike Samruddhi Upakram was rolled out in phase manner with initial focus on laying down the preliminary foundation related to establish the initiative in Yadgir.

In June 2012, Kalike an associate organisation of the Trusts was registered to work as the nodal agency for KSU. ‘Kalike’ mandate is to facilitate large scale and long-term impact on the quality of life with focus on education, livelihood and child development in Yadgir and neighbouring districts of Karnataka.