Starting with its inception in Mumbai in 1995, Pratham has implemented programs that provide quality education in communities and schools across many regions of the country. This includes locations, where Urdu is the language of use. Currently, a majority of Pratham’s Urdu programs are implemented in Andhra Pradesh, Kashmir, Maharashtra, Telangana , Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka
Urdu is a major language of South Asia, predominantly spoken in India and Pakistan. There are approximately 44 million Urdu speakers in India, In many communities, children speak Urdu at home and hence that is the best language of instruction as they learn to read.
Intervention in Primary Grades and Madrasas
The Urdu program for primary grades focuses on acquisition of basic skills in children in Urdu and math and is implemented either in government schools, madrasas or local community spaces. Like in other Indian languages, children in Grades 3 to 5 are taught basic Urdu and mathematics in intensive short bursts of teaching-learning activities called Learning Camps. Depending on the baseline levels of children, a total camp cycle could be between 3 to 4 camps conducted in 10-day bursts for a total of 30-40 days of activities. The camps are led by trained Pratham staff members who receive support from local volunteers.
Like Pratham’s other interventions, the Urdu program teaches children using Pratham's pedagogical approach, CAMaL (Combined Activities for Maximized Learning). This approach amalgamates doing, speaking, reading and writing and has been externally evaluated and shown to be effective. Assessments are conducted to determine children’s learning levels, after which children are grouped by ability rather than grade.
Intervention in Upper Primary Grades
The Urdu program for upper primary grades focuses on developing the higher competencies in Language, Math and Social Studies. This program is implemented in government schools and madrasas for children in Grades 4 to 8 and is broken into two groups: Grades 4-5 and Grades 6-8. Similar to the primary grade intervention, the upper primary intervention uses Pratham’s CAMaL methodology to improve children’s learning outcomes.
In 2015-16, Pratham’s Urdu programs reached 428 villages and over 10,000 children across 4 states in India. In 2016-17, the primary grade program is being implemented in 2 districts each in each of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, reaching approximately 15,000 children. There are also upper primary Urdu programs in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh reaching an additional 5,000 students. The Urdu team has also supported the "Chalo Padho Badho" Program for learning improvement in Pakistan, which is implemented by an organization called Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi.