Apr 06, 2017

Pratham and Google.org Collaborate to Democratize Learning


A new grant provides funding for technology initiative to strengthen learning outcomes of children in rural India

Pratham USA has been awarded a $3.1 million grant from Google.org to strengthen our technology initiative aimed at making quality education more accessible by creating cooperative learning environments that foster children’s curiosity and improve their learning outcomes.

Studies show that in India, even after several years of attending school, roughly half of all fifth graders can’t read a second-grade text or perform a two-digit subtraction problem. For the last 18 months, Pratham has been exploring the use of technology to sustain the impact of our highly successful literacy programs and to enable students to become self-directed learners outside of school.

The initiative, called Hybrid Learning or H-Learning, leverages tablet-based curricula to empower students in grades five through eight to decide collaboratively what content they will learn and how they will go about learning it. Our objective is to better understand how a student-focused model can accompany more traditional models, with the goal of scaling these methodologies across India’s rural school ecosystem.

The Google.org funds will support the operational costs, including content development in science, language and math. They will also be used to measure impact and make refinements to scale the program. As part of the grant, Google employees will contribute data analysis.

“This grant from Google is a shot in the arm as we experiment with open learning to achieve education equality,” said Pratham co-founder and President Dr. Madhav Chavan. “We are excited that Google is supporting our work so soon after the Sarva Mangal Family Trust gave us critical capital to develop the digital initiative.”

Pratham is one of nine nonprofits selected for the multi-year grant, which is part of a larger education portfolio to support organizations that are using technology to solve the global education problem.

“Access to learning and information is a part of our core values at Google,” said Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Education Lead at Google.org. “We’re excited to announce our $50M commitment to help scale groundbreaking education nonprofits working to make a quality education a reality for everyone.”

Pratham USA Executive Chairman Deepak Raj also commented on the Google.org grant. “We are very pleased and grateful for this funding, and we celebrate it as recognition of the long-term collaboration between Google and Pratham to bridge the digital divide and provide quality education for all.”

Google.org has been a significant supporter of Pratham for over a decade, having invested $4 million in 2007 to help Pratham establish the autonomous ASER Centre, and again in 2016, awarding $3 million for technology infrastructure to further enhance learning experiences in Pratham’s core programs, including Balwadis and Read India learning camps.