PARRHO PUNJAB – a program launched in 2007 by Pratham Education Foundation, an NGO working in the field of education & Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Punjab with an aim to improve the learning levels of children in classes 1 to 5 in government run schools across the state. In 2007, Pratham did a pilot across 30 identified blocks and in the subsequent year took the initiative to all the schools that fall under the ambit of SarvaShikshaAbhiyan, Punjab, in short called as SSA Punjab. From 2007 to 2009, Pratham largely focussed on L2R which is “Learn to Read” a program that focuses on providing learning to kids in basic mathematics( number recognition, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) & basic Punjabi( step by step learning of Punjabi by using muharni). The situation was grim because as per the ASER survey in 2008, 60% of the children in standard 5 could not do a basic division question. Also, as per a study by NUEPA (National University of Education Planning & Administration) which works under the aegis of ministry of Human Resource, Punjab’s performance was dismal in terms of setting up of new primary schools & in provision of basic infrastructure facilities. As per the study, the state was placed at 23rd position among all the states in the country.
Pratham Education Foundation focused on L2R till 2009. In 2009-2010 session, Parrho Punjab introduced English for students of classes 4 & 5 who were at story level while continuing with L2R( Basic Maths + Punjabi). Pratham’s unique CAMAL methodology which is based on activity based learning started to show improvements on the ground. In 2009, the figure of 60% children in standard 5(Aser’2008) who could not do basic division question got down to 52% , and this 52% figure got down to 29% in 2010. The striking aspect here (in 2010) is that the performance of government schools children was better compared to their peers in private schools. Also, 73.8% of the children in classes 3, 4& 5 could read a text of standard 1 perfectly which was less than 60% as per Aser survey of 2009.
In 2011-2012, Parrho Punjab is going a step further. A dedicated program has been launched in English & Maths. In English L1 has been introduced for classes 1, 2 & 3. Key aspects of L1 module in English are:-
- Use of bilingual approach for students of class 1, 2 & 3.
- Involves methods of teaching alphabets using stories
- Uses activities to enhance the listening skills of a child
In Maths, topics have been chosen from syllabus of classes 4 & 5. 7 unique competencies have been chosen and an effective methodology has been devised in order to deliver it to the children on ground. These seven competencies are:-
- Number System
- Multiples & Factors
- Profit & Loss
- Averages & Ratios
Each competency is equipped with loop cards & other group activities which ensure an effective delivery of the concepts in a fun way.
This new approach has been introduced with certain identified schools across the states. Punjab state consists of 20 districts, 216 blocks & 1498 clusters. In all there are 13, 397 government primary schools. One school was carefully selected from each cluster and was termed cluster model school. The 4 parameters which define a cluster model school (CMS) are mentioned below:-
- Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR):- This should not be more than 30-35
- Enrolment:- The school should have a minimum of 50 students
- Learning Levels:- School should have good results( for Maths, English & Punjabi)
- Infrastructure:- Basic infrastructure should all be in place
Delivery Mechanism of the program
Before I delve into this, I would like to show you how the government as well as the Pratham system runs. And then it would be clear as to how the delivery takes place.
Government Hierarchy level SarvaShikshaAbhiyan , Punjab
- Special Project Director(S.P.D)
- Asst. Special Project Director ( A.S.P.D)
- Parrho Punjab District Coordinator ( P.P.D.C)
- Block Master Trainer ( B.M.T)
- Cluster Master Trainer ( C.M.T)
- School Head teacher
The School Head Teacher is entrusted the task to manage the needs and requirements of the school such as procurement of food supply for mid-day meal program, TLM, etc. apart from his/her teaching assignment. C.M.T manages all the schools in that particular cluster. Each C.M.T has roughly 12-13 schools under him. The B.M.T manages the working in his block. Each block is divided into some 6-7 clusters. P.P.D.C works at district level and manages the working of roughly 7-8 blocks (bigger districts such as Ferozepur, Gurdaspur & Hoshiarpur have more) that fall in his lap. Teachers with good track record are made PPDCs, BMTs or CMTs.
The Pratham Team Structure is as follow:-
- Regional Team( sits in New Delhi)
- State Head
- Pratham District Coordinator (P.D.C)
- Pratham Block Coordinator (P.B.C)
- Pratham Cluster Coordinator(P.C.C)
Pratham team structure is similar to the govt. structure except the presence of volunteers. Volunteers are people from villages who can volunteer for 3-4 hours a day in the primary school in their village. PCC is entrusted the task to train the volunteer with the Pratham’s Learning tool which he is supposed to use during this stay at the school. In the subsequent blogs I will further elaborate on the role of volunteer and what in-kind benefits Pratham is providing to these volunteers. In Punjab, we have about 1800 volunteers who work with us without any salary. Volunteers are usually young boys/girls or married women.
Pratham & Govt. teams at various levels work in close coordination in order to implement the Parrho Punjab (Read Punjab) program. As we saw earlier, this program has been successful to an extent in bringing about improvement in the learning level of students. We hope this coordination produces similar positive outcomes in the years to come as well.