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What
This program aims to improve the ability of future primary school teachers to identify and address children's foundational learning needs. Pratham teams train students who are studying to become teachers in selected District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET), which are the government teacher training colleges that have been set up in most districts of the country. The training focuses on Pratham's teaching-learning approach known as CAMaL (Combined Activities for Maximized Learning). DIET students work with children in grades 3 to 5. They learn how to understand children's current learning levels, group children by learning level, and teach each group of children using methods and materials designed to help them acquire foundational skills in reading and arithmetic in a short period of time.
 
Why
Since 2005 the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), facilitated by Pratham, has been consistently highlighting the problem of poor foundational learning levels among children across rural India. Teaching from grade level text book is not helpful for children who are unable to read and understand the basics. There is a need to start from the child's level and use appropriate methods to help them progress. Grouping by level and not by grade is an efficient and effective method to help children acquire these basic skills quickly, so that further progress can be made.

The DIET Partnership Program tries to build this awareness and understanding among future teachers and in the institutions responsible for training them. District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs), established in every district of India, are important government institutions that build the capacity of current and future teachers for effective teaching. Over the years many DIETs have collaborated with Pratham/ASER Centre to conduct the ASER survey and have expressed interest in extending this collaboration to include additional activities that strengthen their students' capabilities in different areas.
 
How
Typically a batch of DIET students participates in a 5 day training workshop where they are taken through the principles of CAMaL and its component assessment and teaching-learning activities, including a field pilot and a quiz to assess their understanding. Subsequently, they utilize their mandatory practice teaching days to run a 30-50 day learning camps in government schools located near the DIET, during which they implement CAMaL methods with Std III-V students. In the learning camp, DIET students group children according to their learning level and teach basic reading and arithmetic for 2-3 hours every day.

In the learning camps run by these students during 2015-16, a 26 percentage point increase was observed in the proportion of children who could read at least paragraphs (Grade I level text) and a corresponding 25 percentage point decrease in the proportion of children who could read only letters or less. Similar improvements were observed in arithmetic outcomes as well.

This capacity building program in partnership with the DIETs holds considerable promise for bringing about positive changes in overall teaching and learning in elementary schools across the country.
   
 
Reach and Scale
 
In 2015-16 which was the first year of this program, more than 6,000 DIET students in 13 states were trained. During 2016-17 an additional 4,000 DIET students went through the program.
 
 
 
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