2018
Prize Category 3: Positive Energy Prize
Specific Area of Focus: Elimination of Illiteracy

Pratham Education Foundation

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Pratham is an innovative learning organization created to improve the quality of education in India. As one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the country, Pratham focuses on high-quality, low-cost, and replicable interventions to address gaps in the education system.

Established in 1995 to provide education to children in the slums of Mumbai, over the years, Pratham has grown in scope and geographical coverage. In fact, with interventions spread across 23 states and union territories, Pratham is now reaching millions of children each year.

Born with the mission of Every Child in School & Learning Well over twenty years ago, the Pratham movement has reached millions of children living in both rural and urban areas through a range of interventions across the country. These include pre-school education, a variety of learning support initiatives for elementary school as well as vocational training for youth. Pratham also works with vulnerable children. The organization is also known for its unique citizen led assessment initiative – ASER.

Pratham and its leadership have been recognized nationally and globally for its innovative models and impactful methods. By setting clear and achievable goals, facilitating continuous learning, ensuring effective methods and measurement, and working on scale through partnerships, Pratham is able to achieve substantial progress towards its stated goals.

Pratham is well-known for pioneering the Teaching at the Right Level approach to improve learning for children in primary grades. Rather than focusing on education quantity (including enrolment or graduation rates), Pratham improves education quality through a teaching methodology focused on enhancing learning outcomes (such as reading and math competencies). Its data-driven approach quantifies students' learning improvements, thereby reframing the way governments understand and measure the value of their education investments.

By clearly demonstrating the impact of its approach on learning outcomes, Pratham is able to convince governments to utilize existing education funds to embed Pratham's model into the public school system at the district, state and national level. While Pratham primarily scales through government adoption within India, its huge impact, proven by consistent evidence and third-party validation, has encouraged other developing countries to replicate the model with Pratham's expert guidance.