Pratham’s flagship programme, Read India, aims to help improve reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of children in the 6-14 years age group. Even though India has taken significant strides to improve enrolment levels in schools, a large percentage of children still cannot read, write and/or do basic arithmetic. This programme is executed with the help of school teachers, workers and volunteers. They are mobilised and trained by Pratham teams. Pratham has partnered with 11 state governments over the years to implement the Read India programme.
In 2008-09, the campaign reached 33 million children across 19 states. It covered 305,000 out of the 600,000 villages of India and mobilised 450, 000 volunteers. In most states, out of the children who were part of the intervention, the proportion of those not able to read the alphabet, is down to zero.
In 2009-10, Read India II began. It focused on higher Grade-specific learning competencies.Read India II moved from the previous model of short-term, large-scale learning campaigns to longer, more sustained presence in villages. This was done to achieve a deeper and permanent impact. The objective is to scale up successful models at the stakeholders and government levels.
Read India II is implemented through the Block Excellence Programme (BEP). A block consists of 100 villages where a variety of activities are conducted by local Pratham members. It revolves around the following three objectives:
Combined Activities for Maximized Learning (CAMaL), is a teaching methodology innovated by Pratham to implement the program. It evolved as a result of the hands on experience at various stages of work in different locations. It begins with identifying the learning levels of children instead of assuming their levels based on their age or grades. The techniques are geared to help learners achieve all 5 competencies of – Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing and Doing.
Pratham believes that books play a very crucial role in life. Therefore, a Pratham Library was conceptualized as a ‘creative corner’. This was done in collaboration with government schools. It aims at development of children’s interest in reading and hence, providing them access to a wide variety of books.
While Pratham focused on running its intervention through classes by volunteers in the first 2 years of its Read India II intervention, in the third year Pratham decided to focus on improving learning through Learning Camps. Learning camps are a short duration, high intensity intervention where children are divided into groups by learning level and taught by volunteers and Pratham’s local team members.
The XIIth Five Year Plan sets the policy direction for primary education, “the approach of the Twelfth Plan for school education will be to define and measure outcomes, and allocate resources in ways that maximize progress towards achieving these outcomes”. This clearly brings Pratham’s outcome focused approach to improving the status of education into the limelight. This and other internal factors determine the phase 3 of Pratham’s Read India intervention, which started in 2013 and will continue up until 2016.
This phase is characterized by demonstration of impact, model building and working at scale in states where there are government partnerships.
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