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Pratham Partnerships with Governments for improving learning
 
What
Pratham runs two kinds of programs. The first type of intervention is called "direct" as it involves a Pratham team member who leads the teaching-learning activities with children. "Direct" programs are important because they provide a live demonstration of how children's learning can improve. In addition, "direct" program locations are useful for training people who can then carry out these activities or help others to do so. Finally, "direct" programs are also places where the model and method can be further refined and where experimentation tried out.

Once a teaching-learning "package" is seen to generate significant and substantial improvements in children's learning, Pratham approaches governments at different levels to explore the possibility of partnerships. In this type of program, Pratham acts as a "catalyst", introducing, incorporating and integrating its techniques for assessment as well as teaching-learning methods and materials into government school teachers' everyday practice. Partnerships with state, district and city governments have been instrumental in spreading Pratham's teaching-learning approach and in strengthening government school systems in different parts of the country.
 
Why
All current data for India show very high enrollment rates for children of elementary school age. More than 96% of children in the six to fourteen age group are enrolled in school nationally. (ASER 2016). ASER 2016 – enrollment and learning report card

Although schooling is widespread, existing studies on children's learning, point to worryingly low levels, even for basic foundational skills like reading and arithmetic. For India's children to benefit effectively from the investments in schooling, it is essential that they acquire foundational skills early in their elementary school careers. External evaluations of Pratham's work have shown that given a set of clearly articulated learning goals and specific activities designed to help achieve them, children in elementary school grades can be enabled to learn to read and write simple text, develop knowledge of numbers and do simple arithmetic operations in a short period of time. This acquisition of basic skills then becomes the foundation on which future learning can be built and bridges the gap between what the children should know and what they do know.
 
How
To improve the system's ability to deliver better learning, the elements outlined below ideally need to come together under strong government leadership. Many of these processes are quite different from "business as usual" practice followed in the system and hence need both a mindset shift as well as a change in practice within the mainstream education system.
  • Learning goals: Clear articulation of learning goals that can be achieved in a specific time period is a fundamental component of Pratham's approach.
  • Basic Assessment: Work in partnerships starts with a simple assessment to understand the current situation regarding learning levels in the classrooms. This clearly shows what the goals of the intervention are, helps to fuel change and develop need appropriate content.
  • Creating leaders of practice: Instructional leaders – individuals who provide academic support and leadership, who consistently provide training and mentorship support to teachers - are necessary in order to change teaching-learning practice. As part of partnership programs, Pratham staff closely work with the cadre of government staff usually referred to as cluster or block coordinators, so that they can provide proper support to the program going forward.
  • Learning by doing: The Block and Cluster Coordinators are first trained by Pratham but then go on to implement the teaching model themselves daily in schools for a period of 15-20 days. These "practice" classes prepare them well for training teachers and for supporting the teachers in their charge. Pratham will negotiate to ensure that such "practice classes" are held and will work with the block/ cluster coordinators to refine their support and monitoring skills once the program rolls out. As compared to the usual "chalk-talk" classroom based mode of training, the practice based approach comes across as different and effective for focusing on the skills and mind sets that teachers need to develop for helping children who are lagging behind.
 
Teacher training: Teachers are trained in Pratham's pedagogy and materials by government officials and/or Pratham staff.
 
  • Grouping by level: The effectiveness of the Pratham approach stems from grouping children by level. This is very different from classes organized by age and driven by the prescribed curriculum for that grade. Usually as part of partnership programs, dedicated time is kept aside during the school day in order to implement activities to improve basic learning. (This approach is particularly salient for Pratham's flagship program – the Read India Learning Camps which targets Std. 3-5. This approach is called "CAMaL" (combined activities for maximized learning); Link to be put of Pratham's teaching-learning approach … doc attached
  • Development and introduction of appropriate supplementary teaching-learning materials: An important part of the partnerships with governments is the introduction of reading materials appropriate for children's level of learning into the daily life of the school. These range from phonetic and number charts to small story books, paragraph which are used for reading, writing and solving problems
 
Reach and Scale
 
In order to ensure that children in India learn to read, write and do basic math, Pratham has worked in collaboration with various levels of governments in 16 states across the country since 2011, with partnerships continuing for multiple years in many locations. Today Pratham-government partnerships embed link of xl sheet attached are active for Grades 1-2, for Grades 3-5 and also in some locations for upper primary schools.
 
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Reports and Media
 
Pratham Government partnerships
for Grades 1-2
Pratham Government partnerships
for Grades 3-5
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Measurement Framework for
Pratham-government partnership programs
 
 
Download  
 
Evaluations and other documents
 
Abhijit Banerjee, Rukmini Banerji, James Berry, Esther Duflo, Harini Kannan, Shobhini Mukherji, Marc Shotland, Michael Walton From Proof of Concept to Scalable Policies: Challenges and Solutions, with an Application. NBER Working Paper 22931. Issued in December 2016.

Abhijit Banerjee, Rukmini Banerji, Esther Duflo, James Berry, Harini Kannan, Shobhini Mukherji, Marc Shotland, and Michael Walton. "Mainstreaming an Effective Intervention: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations of "Teaching at the Right Level" in India". NBER Working Paper No. 22746. October 2016.
 
Papers
 
Rukmini Banerji and Madhav Chavan "Improving literacy and math instruction at scale in India's primary schools: The case of Pratham's Read India program". Journal of Educational Change. 17(4), 433-475. November 2016.

Rukmini Banerji. An Intervention improves student reading. Phi Beta Kappan. Vol 95 no. 6. pages 74-75. March 2014
 
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