Frequently Asked Questions

What does Pratham do?

Pratham was established to target problems with pre-primary and primary education in India. Over time we have created large-scale, low-cost educational programs that have helped Pratham grow from a one-city preschool program into a national organization with international influence. Issues of low learning levels, high drop-out rates, child rights, youth unemployment due to lack of skills, and digital literacy have been tackled by the organization in its over 20 years of existence.

What is Pratham’s goal?

Pratham works according to the mission of ‘Every Child in School and Learning Well’. The organization’s broad goal is to eliminate illiteracy from India and to break the cycle of poverty. To make this possible, many other goals must first be achieved. These include improvement in learning outcomes, the retention of children in schools, good teacher training, the development of innovative educational methodologies, mobilization and training of volunteers, and others.

Why does Pratham work on large scale?

Pratham is an innovative and outcome-driven organization. Our objectives are twofold. First is to create strong demonstration models to show that children can learn basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. The second is to persuade the governments (central and state) to adopt policies more oriented toward learning outcomes and to focus on these learning outcomes in practice. (this doesn’t really answer the question)

Why does Pratham conduct household surveys in India?

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is the largest non-governmental, household survey undertaken in rural India and is facilitated by Pratham Education Foundation. The survey measures the enrolment status of children between 3-16 years and tests basic reading and arithmetic abilities of children between 5-16 years through a detailed process that uses a common set of testing tools and a comprehensive sampling framework.

ASER is important because it helps Pratham measure the learning levels of children in rural India, measure the impact of its programs, and review its broad strategies. It has also been significant in defining a qualitative agenda in education and is widely acknowledged in government and policy circles both inside and outside of India. For more about ASER, see here.

What are ‘Urban programs’?

‘Urban programs’ focus on increasing learning levels and reducing the school drop-out rates of children in urban slums and communities. They target ‘out-of-school’ and ‘in-school’ children who require additional support. These programs include balwadis (pre-schools), support classes, remedial classes, and libraries.

What are ‘Rural programs’?

Pratham’s flagship program, Read India, aims to improve reading, writing, and basic arithmetic skills of children between the ages of 6 and 14. This program provided a solution that was proven effective and replicable after rigorous evaluation. The eventual goal is to catalyse the government education system through cost-effective solutions. Recently Pratham has initiated efforts in the upper primary grades to help children who are at the risk of dropping out of school.

What are CAMaL and TaRL?

CAMaL (Combined Activities for Maximized Learning) is a teaching methodology developed by Pratham that combines reading, writing, and speaking activities so that these essential skills develop simultaneously. It also involves a practical and innovative teaching-learning process that helps children better understand and retain what they learn. add more To learn more about the Teaching at the Right Level methodology, see here.

What does outcome-oriented impact mean?

With the objective of creating tangible large scale impact comes the responsibility of producing useful evidence for action. So while implementing activities on scale, Pratham has simultaneously tried to collect, analyse, and use informative data.

The ASER Centre was established as a research and evaluation unit in 2005. Today, it has been successful in creating opportunities for dialogue and debate in national, state, and local forums. This has not only reinforced that the real meaning of guaranteeing education is to “ensure learning for all”, but has also allowed for more discussions at different levels that focus on outcomes and on measurement. Feels like MME needs to be included in this answer

Have Pratham’s teaching methodologies been externally tested?

Pratham was the first to introduce the concept of remedial education in India upon realizing that a large number of children proceed to higher grades without achieving basic reading and arithmetic skills. The Balsakhi program was one of the earliest to be evaluated by the Jamal Abdul Latif – Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) using a highly rigorous randomized controlled trial and was declared very effective and cost efficient. Over the years, J-PAL has conducted various assessments of Pratham’s programs.

Moreover, Pratham is the only Indian non-profit organization to have been recognized internationally by multiple agencies for its innovative and on-scale contributions (Kravis Prize, Skoll Award, and WISE Prize) and to be recognized in India with multiple awards (CNN-IBN, Indian Express). Pratham has also been supported by renowned international foundations for its work.

What percentage of donations goes directly to the programs in India?

Pratham utilizes 7 percent of its revenue on fundraising and administrative expenses. The remaining 93 percent of funds raised go directly to programs.

Why should YOU support Pratham?

Pratham is the first major organization to achieve lasting, wide-scale success in educating India’s children and youth. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s illiterate children live in India, and Pratham reached 34 million children between 2008 and 2009. This was achieved by being an extremely effective and low-cost charity.

Furthermore the organization has grown in scope to cover other peripheral issues such as child rights, digital literacy, inadequate technical skills among the youth, dropout rates among girls, etc. This aims to strengthen the entire education and development sector and shapes the lives of our children and youth at every step.

How can you support Pratham?

Pratham’s efforts can be supported in numerous ways – volunteer with Pratham, start a new chapter, spread awareness, or make a contribution. Learn more here.