Daily Video

May 16, 2013

Program Sparks Passion for Learning in India

In India, many kids growing up in the state-run education system are tied to schools that are failing their students.

“After spending five years in a primary school, barely about 50 percent of kids can learn to the level of second grade,” says Madhav Chavan, founder of Pratham, a remedial education campaign in India.

Pratham, meaning “first”, seeks to fill in where state schools have failed by training tutors and community volunteers to run learning centers and camps.

Pratham’s goal is to change the way that school is perceived in India in a way that better engages students.

Instead of separating students by age and grade, Pratham tests students and groups them by their abilities. After several months of the program, one principle says she is seeing marked improvement.

“Children who could only read a letter are now almost reading paragraphs,” says school principle Rizwana Parveen. “And children who were reading paragraphs are now reading whole stories.”


Warm up questions

1. What keeps you engaged in school?

2. How do you think America’s public schools compare with public schools around the world?

3. What makes a good learning environment?

4. Why do you think there is so much emphasis placed on small class sizes in school?

Discussion questions

1. What kind of remedial learning resources does your school provide?

2. What did you notice was different between your school the schools in India?

3. What are some pros and cons of grouping students by ability instead of age? Would you prefer your school to work that way? Why or why not?

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