is a non-governmental organisation that works towards the provision of quality education to the underprivileged children in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...
. Established in Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...
in 1994 to provide pre-school education to children in slums, it now has activities in 21 states of India and has supporting chapters in the US, UK, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
Pratham’s founder and current CEO, Madhav Chavan
Madhav Chavan is an Indian social activist and educationist. He is the co-founder and CEO of the educational non-profit, Pratham. He also started the Read India campaign, which aims to teach basic reading, writing and arithmetic to underprivileged children across India.-Early life:Madhav Chavan...
, was the 2011 recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
UNICEF originally set up the Bombay Education Initiative
in Mumbai to establish a tripartite-partnership between the government, corporate and civil society to improve India’s primary education. This led to the formation of Pratham as an independent charity in 1994.
Pratham started by holding balwadis (pre-education classes) for children in Mumbai’s slums. Volunteers were recruited to teach in spaces within communities, including temples, offices, and even people’s homes. The Pratham pre-school classes multiplied and were replicated in other locations.
Pratham’s mission is “Every Child in School and Learning well”
. By increasing the literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...
levels of India’s poor which account for about one third of the world’s poor, Pratham aims to improve India’s economic and social equality. This is carried out through the introduction of low cost education models that are sustainable and reproducible.
Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)
, India’s largest NGO-run annual survey, has been conducted by Pratham since 2005 to evaluate the relevance and impact of its programs. Findings are disseminated at national, state, district and village levels, and influence education policies at both state and central levels.
- Despite India’s educational reforms in recent years, quality education is still a concern, especially among low-income communities. Findings of ASER 2005 and 2006 revealed that 50% of children in government schools could not read, write or do basic arithmetic despite being in school for 4-5 years. Hence Read India was launched in 2007 to improve reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of 6-14 year old children and is carried out by school teachers, anganwadi
The word Anganwadeeee means "courtyard shelter" in Hindi. They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.- Meaning and Origin :...
workers and volunteers, whom Pratham trains. Read India has reached approximately 34 million children to date, resulting in large-scale improvements in literacy levels across several states in India.
, a non-profit organization which publishes affordable, quality books for children, was set up in 2004 to complement Read India. It has published over 200 original titles in 10 Indian languages and reached over 14 million children.
– Pratham’s direct programmes seek to supplement governmental efforts to improve quality of education through balwadis (pre-school education), learning support programs, libraries and mainstreaming drop-out children. Full-year learning support is provided at centres for children living in the immediate vicinity. These programmes are typically conducted in urban slums or poor villages, where children do not have easy access to quality education.
- Pratham has also set up other programmes for disadvantaged Indian children and youth, including Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC), Early Childhood Care and Education Centre (ECCE), Vocational Skills Programme, and Computer-aided Literacy.