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Pratham started working in partnership with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) in 2008 – 09 to initiate a state–wide learning enhancement program to be known as “Parrho Punjab” or “Read Punjab” (in Punjabi). The program focused on improving the learning levels of children in basic reading and arithmetic in primary schools across the entire state. A pilot project in English was also introduced in 2 districts. While moderate results were achieved in the first year (2008 - 09), continued efforts have led to substantial improvements in the learning levels of children during the academic years 2009-10 and 2010-11. The program was able to successfully highlight the importance of teaching and learning with time bound goals in government primary schools across Punjab.
During 2009-10, Pratham initiated an intervention in English for children who were able to read Punjabi fluently (grades 4 and 5). This intervention aimed to improve their skills in conversation, reading, and writing while building a working vocabulary.
In 2010-11, Parrho Punjab continued for the third consecutive year. The intervention in English was extended to all classes from in grades 1–5. Rigorous monitoring of the program ensured great improvements in learning levels across the state. Key achievements of the Parrho Punjab program include:
- Reaching 1 million students in Government primary schools across Punjab, resulting in high jumps in learning levels of children, especially in language and math. From 2008 to 2010, the reading level jumped from 35% to 62% across the entire state.
- Quality of Education: Teachers have adopted concepts of qualitative assessment of children and activity based learning, using Pratham’s methods.
- Ensuring Accountability of Teachers: Strong monitoring and support systems in government schools have increased the accountability of teachers and other authorities.
- Supplementary Reading Material: Innovative and interesting teaching learning materials are made available to each and every child in school. Teachers are provided with manuals for guidance on the new curricula, as well as constant support from regional staff from both Pratham and SSA.
- Mainstreaming Out of School Children: 65,000 children were identified and mainstreamed into government schools after Pratham’s state wide survey in 2009.