Girls’ Education

4 million Indian girls are out of
school. Of those who do attend
primary school, 80% drop out
before reaching eighth grade.


We give girls a second chance to put education first.

Pratham provides female dropouts from underserved communities access to secondary education and a chance to earn their 10th Standard diploma in a safe, supportive environment. Our Second Chance program prepares 3,500 learners, ages 14 and older, annually for their examinations by reinforcing core concepts and providing subject-specific tutoring.

Since its inception in 2011, this alternative learning model has positively impacted the lives of more than 36,000 girls and women, greatly improving their prospects for higher education and employment.


Financial constraints, lack of foundational skills, male preference—these are just a few of the numerous barriers to education faced by females in India.



We reinforce the foundation.

Our yearlong program begins with a four-month foundational course in math, language, English, and science to reinforce elementary school concepts. This is followed by six or seven months of intensive, subject-specific tutoring to prepare students for the 10th Standard examinations, a prerequisite for all formal employment and higher education.

Life skills sessions in health and hygiene, nutrition, childcare, and digital literacy supplement the core curriculum. Career counseling and mentoring encourage students to reflect on their aspirations and create a roadmap for achieving them.


We make education compatible with home life.

Many girls do not want to drop out of school, but are forced to because of socio-economic circumstances and cultural attitudes. Pratham’s model allows girls to attend classes in or near their villages in the afternoon once chores have been completed.

We facilitate a hub and spoke model with a main center supported by a network of five or six smaller sites. Each center caters to 100 students in 30-40 villages or surrounding communities. Students attend residential or non-residential centers five days out of the month for intensive learning from subject specialists.

In between these sessions, students are guided through course material by trained tutors and receive one-on-one instruction to help them address gaps in their knowledge. The program is free, making it even more feasible for girls to attend.


In India, girls are often expected to put household chores and working in the fields ahead of school. Pratham's hub and spoke model accounts for this reality, allowing participants to pursue their secondary school education around their daily responsibilities.


A little support can lead to big gains.

Since 2011, the program has seen tremendous gains, including a 50% increase in the number of dropouts re-engaged in learning and a 30% increase in participant graduation rates. The number of centers has also tripled, from ten centers in one state to 30 centers connected to 200 learning sites across nine states.


Graphic indicates pass rates for the 2018-19 school year.

In the 2019-20 school year, many students were unable to take their exams under the circumstances but were passed with minimum marks. Pass percentages in previous years have typically exceeded 85% for Pratham students who took the secondary school examinations administered by India’s National Institute of Open Schooling.



Educated women are empowered to make better choices.

Research shows that educating females benefits the whole community, encouraging smaller, healthier families: women are empowered to express their voice and make better choices for their family in the areas of healthcare, employment and education.

Pratham raises awareness about the need to educate girls and women so they can break India’s regressive barriers of caste, religion and male preference. When former dropouts went through our program and appeared for their secondary school board examinations, they exuded confidence and showed a dramatic shift in their overall outlook on life.

Our students also receive life skills and teacher training with the intent that they will help educate the children in their own communities. Many Pratham graduates choose to continue with their studies, while others give back by teaching the children in their village, thereby creating a more sustainable system. This is especially vital in a country where the student-teacher classroom ratio can be as high as 80:1.  


Program Changes Resulting from the COVID-19 Lockdown

Several components of the Second Chance program were modified in 2020, with a focus on three core areas:

• Blended Learning A combination of online and in-person classes were introduced to facilitate the learning process.

• Content Development Digital content was developed in seven languages contextualized to learners’ backgrounds and environments.

• Strengthening Community Local and remote engagement efforts were increased to strengthen and support out-of-school learners.


You can help a girl achieve her dream.

The high graduation rates achieved by Pratham students in recent years prove that a little effort can make a real impact in educating girls in underserved communities. $300 enrolls one student in our 12-month program to complete her secondary school education. Donate and make a difference.