Explore the Work of Pratham Books

If you wish to know what work does Pratham do in education and promoting literacy, apart from publishing children’s books, then read this article for comprehensive information.

Pratham Educational Foundation was first started in 1995 by Madhav Chavan and Farida Lambay to provide quality education to underprivileged kids in the slums of Mumbai. Later, the work of Pratham extended further to include several initiatives like Books, ASER, vocational training for underprivileged youth and several other programs.

Initially founded to educate children in Mumbai’s slums, Pratham now serves children, teenagers and women nationwide.

Pratham Books

Pratham Books is an Indian non-profit children’s book publisher and an integral part of Pratham Educational Foundation. They offer low-cost picture books in many Indian languages to children. The founders of Pratham Books found a gap in quality reading material in India.

There was a lack of reading material available in India in the regional mother tongue. Moreover, children’s book needs to talk about issues that children face in Indian rural and urban setting.

This lack meant Indian children didn’t have access to readable and relatable low-cost picture books, so they did not read. So, they produce books that cater to inclusive narratives and show the diversity of India.

Meaning of Pratham

Originating from ‘first’ in Sanskrit, Prathamesh, the name Pratham is derived from Prathamesh. The name is apt, considering Pratham was the frontrunner and first to produce Indian picture books with native and inclusive narratives.

When was Pratham Books founded?

It was only in 2004 that Pratham Books was established, though Pratham Educational Foundation started much earlier. Rohini Nilekani, Ashok Kamath, and Rekha Menon founded Pratham Books. Presently, they have a board of leaders from across various industries, leadership including CEO Rukmini Banerji, co-founders, and directors. Then there are partners and donors collaborating and supporting Pratham’s work.

Goals of Pratham Education Foundation

Pratham is an innovative learning organization that improves Indian education. Pratham Education Foundation endeavours to

  • eliminate illiteracy and poverty through increasing education outcomes,
  • retaining children in school,
  • educating teachers,
  • developing novel educational methods, and
  • training and mobilizing volunteers.

It runs urban and rural education, advocacy, research, skill training, vocational education, and rehabilitation programs to achieve its goals.

What issues does Pratham address?

Working directly with children and youth or government programs, Pratham addresses education system deficiencies with high-quality, low-cost, and reproducible solutions.

How does Pratham Educational Foundation help in education?

Pratham has spread since its beginnings and presently it is the largest operating educational NGO in India. The visionary leadership team formed the Pratham Educational Foundation and is the recipient of several national and international awards.

It operates urban and rural education, advocacy, research, skill training, vocational education, and rehabilitation initiatives. Its urban programs reduce school dropouts and increase learning levels in urban slums, while its rural programs teach reading, writing, and arithmetic to rural children aged 6 to 14.

What are ­­­the educational initiatives of Pratham Books?

Urban Initiatives

Urban initiatives reduce school dropouts and improve learning in urban slums. Rural students aged 6–14 learn reading, writing, and math through rural programs.

Early Years and Elementary Years programs

Pratham runs Early Years and Elementary Years programs through direct implementation and government partnerships.

The emphasis of Pratham’s Early Childhood Education program is the holistic development of children and their readiness for school in the age group of 3-8 years.

This is done with the support of mothers, school teachers and individuals in the community. Holistic development and school readiness involve four large developmental domains.

  • Physical Development of motor skills
  • Socio-emotional development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Language Development

Second Chance Program

The Second Chance Program of Pratham Educational Foundation focuses on women and offers secondary education to those who have not finished their education.

The Right to Education law in India mandates free and compulsory education for children up to Grade 8, yet many students quit school due to distance, expense, access, socioeconomic restraints, and cultural difficulties.

This affects girls and young women in rural areas, so re-entering school and obtaining more learning possibilities is difficult.

Open schooling is available in India, but students lack information, motivation, and assistance to use it. Pratham’s Second Chance initiative gives dropouts, especially women, another shot at education.

Second Chance assists high school dropouts to advance academically and professionally and offers affordable, accessible schooling near their homes. Innovative teaching approaches are used in Pratham centres.

As of now, Pratham has Second Chance centres in a few Indian states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana.

Pratham Books Read India Program

Pratham’s Read India program aims to improve reading, writing, and basic arithmetic skills in children aged 6–14 through intensive learning camps that maximize learning outputs.

Library in a Classroom

Pratham Books launched Library-in-a-Classroom, a wall-mounted library comprising up to 120 STEM storybooks in several Indian languages for classrooms of all sizes.

Schools can select the language(s), levels, and themes for storybooks and Pratham will create a personalized library.

Also read: Types of Fiction Genres

Pratham Books Reading Champions

The Reading Champions movement encourages neighbourhood storytelling through volunteer-run, self-organized events.

On International Literacy Day, “One Day, One Story” is organized every year in volunteer-driven programs to tell stories to encourage kids to read.

This project encourages our volunteers to utilize books to host reading sessions in local towns to spread reading delight. Most youngsters who attend free lessons come from underserved communities.

ASER (Annual Status of Education Report)

During their work of providing quality education in Mumbai slums, the founders realised that the reading and mathematical skills of the kids were poor and did not match their age. With the help of educational surveys, an annual report on the educational skills of the community is prepared.

ASER Centre measures the educational capabilities so that they understand the current educational levels of the target groups. Based on this report, further plans are made and programs are implemented to bring positive change.

Pratham Teaching at Right Level Initiative (TaRL)

ASER studies show that underprivileged kids do not have basic language and arithmetic skills even in class V. So, Pratham created the TaRL approach for kids in Std. III, IV, or V who lack basic abilities.

The emphasis is on reading, comprehension, expression, and math for kids. These are essential building blocks for children. Studies have shown that these skills last.

TaRL is an excellent, low-cost way for kids to “catch up” quickly. Children 7 or 8 and older who have been in school for a few years can “pick up” quickly.

Pratham has developed Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) to help youngsters learn reading and math rapidly. Teaching begins at the child’s level, regardless of age or grade. This is “Teaching at the Right level”.

Pratham Infotech

PIF (Pratham Infotech) is an NGO that provides quality education to disadvantaged Indian children.

  • delivers IT-based training and increases digital literacy
  • After-school computer and job skills training for economically disadvantaged adolescents.
  • Curriculum design includes digital and print training materials in native languages.
  • equip at-risk youth with new global economy skills, tools, and capacities.

All people, regardless of social background, financial level, geographic isolation, skill gap, or educational credentials, receive the social and economic benefits of information technology.

Government and industry partnerships to raise funds and resources for mission advancement.

Education for Education

One of their projects, “Education for Education,” teaches computer literacy in rural India. Through Pratham’s flagship Read India initiative, local volunteers who work with children receive basic computer training.

The volunteers attend computer classes three days a week for four months at a convenient location. Allowing computer instructors to use laptops for personal use stimulates entrepreneurship and creates a pool of young computer-savvy people.

Innovative programs

Pratham launched the Missed Call Do, Kahaani Suno campaign, which gave youngsters free audio stories on their phones.

The first publications in tribal languages, such as Kurmali, Sadri, Mundari, and Kurukh, helped youngsters cope with COVID-19 and its new normal.

Pratham launched Goshticha Shaniwar (A Saturday of Stories), a 5-month Marathi, Urdu, and English reading program.

Story Weaver: Pratham Books From Print to Digital

Pratham Books established Story Weaver in 2015, a free digital library of children’s storybooks, and Donate-a-Book, a crowdsourcing site to build libraries for underprivileged children.

Story Weaver gives every child access to picture books in multiple Indian languages. It has a wide range of affordable and engaging storybooks that are written and illustrated by talented authors and illustrators.

  • Pratham Books story weaver has published nearly thirty-three thousand children’s stories in three hundred and forty-one languages, spanning all genres.
  • They have collaborated with renowned authors and illustrators, and their works have won accolades.
  • The most special feature of Story Weaver is its open license such as Creative Commons that allows anybody to read, download, translate, adapt and share the storybooks.
  • Many indigenous and disadvantaged languages are used to tell these stories, guaranteeing that readers from varied linguistic and cultural backgrounds can find something they like.
  • This diversity promotes inclusivity and showcases worldwide storytelling traditions.

Co-partnered with CBSE for Reading Mission

The CBSE and Pratham Books StoryWeaver have collaborated for a two-year countrywide Reading Mission program. Central Square Foundation financially funds the Mission that will benefit students in schools that follow the CBSE pattern.

School reading strategies from the CBSE Reading Mission combined with wide range of free story books from the story weaver platform encourages children to read.

An extension of this reading mission is the budding authors program conducted by CBSE.  While students are encouraged to read storybooks in the reading mission, the budding authors encourages students to write their original stories.

Also read: Budding Authors Guide to Write Story

Pratham Books Reading Program is a great resource for CBSE schools and instructors. Storyweaver have a wide collection of story books on varied themes and reading levels in English and multiple Indian languages catering to children.

It fully matches the National Education Policy (2020) and NIPUN Bharat Guidelines, providing a bright future for our kids.

Storyweaver trains and connects teachers for Reading Mission “Teacher Connect” virtual reading sessions and activities. These meetings allow teachers to share best practices, proudly display their work, and provide program design feedback.

Based on the reading mission, schools focus on developing student’s love of reading. Stories and reading help youngsters develop language, connect to their lives, and understand others. Reading helps kids think deeper, express themselves better, and develop independently.

To Sum it up

After reading this article, you have got information on Pratham and it’s various initiatives like Pratham Books and Story Weaver.

Pratham Books, founded to put “a book in every child’s hand,” has diligently fought to improve reading in India and beyond.

Their publications’ commitment to inexpensive, multilingual, and culturally relevant publications has inspired. Their enormous network of collaborators, volunteers, and supporters has helped spread their work worldwide.

Pratham’s work inspires optimism in the education of the underprivileged with it’s innovative approach and commitment to inclusion and diversity in the world of children’s literature.

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