More than 95% of 6-14 year-old children in India are enrolled in schools. However, ASER and other surveys show that a significant proportion of these children complete primary schooling without acquiring foundational reading and arithmetic skills, and therefore, are unable to cope with subsequent curricular expectations. One of Pratham’s key goals is to enable such children acquire basic reading and arithmetic skills, quickly and sustainably, so that they can meaningfully benefit from further education opportunities.


Pratham has developed the CAMaL pedagogy, which stands for Combined Activities for Maximised Learning, to help children “catch up”. CAMaL is a child-centered pedagogy that builds on the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach, pioneered by Pratham, that uses instructions and activities tailored and aligned to the learning level of the child.

At Pratham, we believe that a combination of activities helps children engage and learn. For example, reading aloud, participating in discussions on what they have read or heard, activities with phonetic charts, playing a variety of word games, expressing their own views orally and on paper – are all part of the process of learning to read. We do activities with children in large groups, small groups and individually.



Pratham’s foundational learning programs for 6-14 years-olds are primarily implemented in two modes:

  • Government partnership programs are implemented in partnerships with relevant state or district governments.
  • Direct programs are implemented by Pratham teams, in collaboration with communities, volunteers and local schools.
Key aspects similar across the two modes of implementation:
  • At the start of a program, clear, achievable learning goals are articulated so that teams, teachers and other stakeholders know what is to be achieved.
  • Simple assessment is used to group children for instruction. Later in the program, similar assessments are used to track children’s progress and for regrouping as children make progress.
  • Even though children may be enrolled in Grades 3, 4, or 5, children are grouped by levels rather than by grades. As children make progress, they move into more advanced groups.
  • Pratham’s method relies on a set of daily activities to maximise learning.
  • Appropriate but low-cost teaching-learning materials are developed for the programs; each group has materials to support their activities.
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Government Partnership Programs:

Model: In our government partnership programs, teachers trained in Pratham’s CAMaL methodology conduct teaching-learning activities in schools. As mentioned above, children are grouped by their learning levels, using the TaRL approach, and targeted reading and arithmetic activities are conducted for 2-3 hours a day.

The teachers are trained, mentored and supported by a cadre of Key Resource Persons (KRPs), typically comprising block and cluster level officials as well as Pratham staff. The KRPs, who we consider as “Leaders of Practice”, are a critical pillar of Pratham’s government partnership programs. Pratham staff trains the KRPs and supports them through the practice classes they are required to run before they train teachers. The practice classes, based on the learning by doing philosophy, enable the KRPs to see first-hand the efficacy and simplicity of the CAMaL pedagogy and equip them to subsequently support and guide the teachers. In addition to mentoring and support, periodic data-based reviews are conducted at different levels of the education system to help assess progress and identify improvement strategies.

Learning improvement seen in 2022-23 Pratham-Government of Andhra Pradesh Partnership program for Grades 3 to 5

Performance in Language: Grades 3-5

  • Children who could read at least a simple paragraph (Grade 1 level text) increased by 26 percent points, from 38% at baseline to 64% at endline
  • In Grade 3 30-percentage, Grade 4 26-percentage, Grade 5 22-percentage point improvement in reading at least a paragraph level text
  • In each grade, there has been a high reduction in the percentage of children who could not even recognise letters (i.e. beginner level)

Pratham-Government partnerships across India (2022-2023)

In 2022-23, Pratham had elementary years (Grade 1-8) government partnerships in nine states and Union Territories and reached over 2.7 million children

Direct Programs:

In 2022-23, for elementary years, Pratham’s direct programs spanned across 23 states and Union Territories and reached more than 574,000 children. For more details about our direct elementary programs, refer to Hamara Gaon.