Civil society organisation Pratham awarded Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace for 2021

Pratham has been striving to improve the quality of education among underprivileged children.

November 21, 2021 08:59 pm | Updated 11:15 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Photo: Twitter/@Pratham_India

Photo: Twitter/@Pratham_India

Pratham, a civil society organisation dedicated to improving the quality of education among underprivileged children in India and across the world, has been conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2021.

The international jury of the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, chaired by the former Chief Justice of India, Justice T.S. Thakur, announced the award of the Prize to the organisation.

“The 2021 Prize is awarded to Pratham for its pioneering work over more than a quarter century in seeking to ensure that every child has access to quality education, for its innovative use of digital technology to deliver education, for its programmes to provide skills to young adults, for its regular evaluation of the quality of education, and for its timely response in enabling children to learn during the COVID-19 related school closures,” said the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust in a statement.

Mumbai slums

Set up in 1995 in Mumbai by Dr. Madhav Chavan and Ms. Farida Lambay, Pratham started work in Mumbai slums, setting up community based “Balwadis” or pre-schools and offering remedial education for students lagging behind their grade level curriculum. “Its outreach in India has now expanded to an average one million children directly and five million through government partnerships annually,” said the Trust.

“Its Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), based on surveying 6,00,000 rural Indian children, is now used as a model to assess education outcomes and learning deficiencies in 14 countries over three continents. To respond to the concerns raised by ASER, in 2007 Pratham launched its flagship programme, Read India, which aims to improve children’s learning by strengthening basic reading and arithmetic,” it said.

Low-cost innovations

In basic education, Pratham develops low-cost and replicable innovations, working with the government and engaging the community to improve learning outcomes. Its programmes now cover children and young adults in 21 States.

“Pratham’s teaching-at-the-right-level approach demonstrates that if children are grouped by their current level rather than their grade, and provided appropriate instructional support, they acquire foundational skills quickly. Pratham has also focused on the application of technology in education in community settings, evolving new ways of how children use technology as a trigger for learning,” the Trust said, adding that Pratham sought to prevent children from dropping out of school and ran special programmes for girls and women.

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