Teach For India: Marketing an Idea
In 2008, Shaheen Mistri, founder of the nonprofit Teach For India (TFI), was grappling with applying and adapting the business and recruitment models of the successful U.S.-based Teach For America and UK-based Teach First to meet the challenges of the education sector in India. The case provides a review of the U.S.- and UK-based models, as well as an analysis of the factors that drove their growth in their respective markets. However, the adaptation of these models to create one that could succeed in the Indian context was not straightforward. The case describes a number of ways the challenges in India differ from those in the United States and United Kingdom-namely, the size and magnitude of educational inequity, the motivations of undergraduate students as potential teacher-volunteers, the part that parents play in making career decisions for their children, and the attitudes of school officials. Students reading the case will discuss the roles of various constituencies involved in these models. After identifying how crucial constituencies are served by the U.S. and UK models, the students will then brainstorm concrete ways that these models could be adjusted for India so Mistri could successfully recruit her program's first cohort of TFI fellows.