Pratham believes that education is a fundamental human right.

India is home to 40% of the world's illiterate.
India is a special country, with an especially big literacy problem.

Children suffer the most.
Even worse, of the country’s 210 million children, almost half are unable to read. That is both the root of the problem and its cruellest consequence. Without education, these children are vulnerable and unlikely to ever rise above the poverty of previous generations.

A Persistent child labour problem.
In India, an estimated 11 million children work as child labourers. It is an unacceptable truth that is both a cause and byproduct of India’s continuing cycle of illiteracy. 

Simply raising enrollment isn't the answer.
Most individuals unfamiliar with India’s education crisis would expect that a lack of school access is the primary problem. However, although 96.5% percent of children are officially enrolled in school, half of them cannot read.

Women are not learning.
On top of that women’s participation in school is particularly poor—a fact which does not bode well for women’s standing in society or the job market.

Teachers are falling short.
In addition to low student attendance, in many regions teacher attendance is very low. Furthermore, many schools have only one teacher per classroom, and far too many children per teacher.

Even the literate are lagging.
Even India’s literate children continue to struggle and lag behind acceptable learning levels. In many cases, they're attending, but just not learning.

  • 100 million cannot read or write at the age appropriate level
  • 46.3% of ten year olds cannot read a text designed for a five year old
  • 64.1% of ten year olds cannot do basic division

India’s children need Pratham’s programmes now more than ever. Make your contribution now.


Illiteracy breeds a cycle of poverty and exploitation. Pratham helps break the cycle.

Watch our eager young teacher’s (DIDI) guide the children in their community towards education

Illiteracy is a severe problem

96% of children are officially enrolled in school, but more than half of all children in Grade 5 are at least 3 levels behind where they should be - (ASER 2012).