Pratham started in Mumbai in 1994 with the vision and mission of "every child in school and learning well". In the early years Pratham's area of work was Mumbai; now it is spread across India. Pratham started out catering exclusively to children in urban areas, but now works on a large scale in rural areas too. From being a service delivery organization Pratham has evolved to be an innovator of methods of large-scale delivery. In 2002, Pratham developed innovative teaching-learning methods, materials and measurement, and in 2005 pioneered a nation-wide survey of schooling and assessment of learning that has had a major impact on national and international policy domains. See www.pratham.org for more details.
Pratham India's work can be broadly divided into four verticals:
1. Read India programme for teaching-learning aimed at children in rural and urban areas
2. Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children for out of school children and other vulnerable groups
3. ASER Centre for Assessment, Surveys, Evaluation and Research
4. Pratham Institute for training of youth inside and outside Pratham
BLOCK EXCELLENCE PROGRAMME IN RURAL DISTRICTS - Pratham's flagship programme is the Read India campaign, currently active in 251 rural districts across 19 states. The campaign aims to catalyze existing resources and energize structures to generate large-scale improvement in children's ability read fluently and confidently, and do basic arithmetic. Typically, we take a set of 100 villages in a "block" and work with government schools and village communities in these villages. In every village where Pratham works, we mobilize village volunteers who contribute their time to teach children who need extra help. By creating a "demonstration" area, we hope that the government at district or state level will scale up the model. We work in these villages for a continuous period of three years. In several states, we also work collaboratively with many state governments to train and support teachers. In 2010-11, Pratham reached more than 2.4 million children across rural India through Read India*.
URBAN PROGRAMMES - Pratham's urban programmes are run in communities where there is a critical need for quality education. The type of programme introduced in a specific area is based on the needs of that community, such as pre-school programmes, learning support classes, urban-learning centres, and libraries. Pratham services children largely between the ages of 3 to 14, through in-school and community-based interventions. In 2010-11, Pratham reached more than 425,000 children across 30 cities in India.
To support the growth and needs of the rural and urban programmes, the continuous development of teaching-learning approaches, methods and materials as well as training are continuous ongoing activities. Recently, Pratham has started initiatives in Science and English as well.
PRATHAM ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Pratham's organizational structure has evolved with its growth. Today, Pratham Education Foundation is the central Pratham organization, with Mr. Ajay Piramal as the Chairman. The overseas bodies of Pratham raise funds for the work in India.
PRATHAM COUNCIL FOR VULNERABLE CHILDREN - Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC) targets vulnerable and out-of-school children including child labourers, street children, child beggars and rag pickers. PCVC works to protect children's right to a childhood, and mainstreams vulnerable children back into formal education. The programme works across 7 states, improving the lives of tens of thousands of children every year. One of PCVC's key mandates is to do advocacy and raise awareness on issues related to vulnerable children. In 2010, Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children activities reached beyond the right to education, and worked to protect all fundamental rights of children.
ASER CENTRE & ANNUAL STATUS OF EDUCATION REPORT - Since 2005 Pratham has facilitated ASER (Annual Status of Education Report), a citizens' initiative to understand the status of elementary education in India. The report asks whether children are in school or not, and whether they are able to read and do basic arithmetic. Following a common sampling plan and a common set of tools, in each district a local organization or institution conducts the survey, disseminates the findings and actively looks to improve the educational situation in the district. Each year, more than 25,000 volunteers from over 500 organizations and institutions participate in ASER. Over 700,000 children in the 3-16 age group are surveyed each year. The ASER model is being used in other countries such as Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. ASER Centre, an autonomous unit of Pratham is responsible for ASER. Its goal is to generate new evidence and conduct research in elementary education; disseminate tools and findings; and build capacity for assessment, survey, evaluation and research at different levels in India. See www.asercentre.org for more details.
(*At the peak of the Read India campaign in 2008-2009, we had reached over 33 million children across India)