READ INDIA …. An Overview
Background: First developed by Pratham in 2002, the accelerated reading techniques (for learning to read and do basic arithmetic), are now running to scale in over a 100 districts of the country making a difference in the lives of over a million children in the age group of 6 - 14. Pratham model focuses on reading as a key activity within the existing school system and providing age appropriate and relevant teaching and learning material for this.
Over the last two years, state governments in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have taken up learning to read campaigns on a large scale, in different forms, with the help of Pratham network. These campaigns have led to significant improvement in the reading levels of children and have also generated visible impact on motivation of teachers and educational administrators from the HM to the District Education Officer (DEO). Pratham has ongoing partnerships with state governments in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Nagaland and Orissa.
The Problem: A survey to assess the current Status of Education (ASER 2006) was conducted in 28 states in India in the months of October and November. One of the key findings of this survey was that in Std V, 47% children could not even read a Std II text fluently. Specifically,
In Std I, 38.2% cannot read alphabets and 53.7% cannot identify numbers
In Std II, 76.7% cannot read Std I text, and 75.0% cannot do subtraction
In Std V, 47.0% cannot read Std II text, and 54.6% cannot do division.
ASER 2006 indicates that half of all children in the country start lagging behind in Std I and continue to lag behind in the achievement of expected competencies in Std III, and Std V.
The Solution: Pratham has launched the Read India campaign aimed at achieving reading and arithmetic proficiency for all children in the country within and outside the school system. The focus will be on:
Std I-II : alphabets/words and numbers/place value level.
Std III-V: fluent reading, writing and solving arithmetic problems.
Higher standards are not excluded, but will not be the primary focus.
Execution: The Campaign will be phased over two years and has to achieve its goals by 31st March 2009. The phasing will be both geographical (propose to target about 300 districts in the first year and the balance in the second year) and sequential within each district (there will be a summer campaign followed up by a low intensity school campaign during the academic year).
This campaign will be executed with the help of school teachers, anganwadi workers and volunteers, who will be mobilized and trained by Pratham teams. While the school teachers will be working inside their schools, volunteers and anganwadi workers will be working with children and their mothers outside school, particularly during the summer school preparedness campaign.
Read India campaign proposes to introduce a daily period for reading and arithmetic in school using graded learning and teaching materials for children and teachers. Volunteers will also ensure that mothers of such children are involved in their children’s learning.
Each state will have a Core Group at the state capital, which will be responsible for coordination with government, creation of materials, logistics, accounts, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. Pratham proposes to mobilize volunteers at the village level and appoint coordinators at the cluster, block and district levels.
Coordinators at the cluster and block level will coordinate the activities with school teachers, volunteers and anganwadi workers in school / village / community.
Pratham has invited the Government of India and all the state governments to be closely involved in this nationwide campaign from April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2009.