Pratham’s flagship Read India program was one of 14 programs from across the globe selected by the Brookings Institution for an in-depth study on scaling and learning. The recently released study, Millions Learning: Scaling up quality education in developing countries, tells the story of where and how effective learning interventions have scaled up in low- and middle-income countries.
Researchers identified 14 core ingredients in different combinations that contribute to scaling quality learning and found that success often occurs when new approaches and ideas are allowed to develop and grow on the margins and then spread to reach many more children and youth.
Key lessons learned from the Read India case study included: Pratham’s willingness to experiment with and rigorously test new teaching-learning models provides its government partners with an evidence-based menu of program options, which enable flexible, context-specific decision making to maximize impact in the presence of competing needs and scarce resources.
Pratham’s philosophy of “learning by doing” helps to maintain the organization’s focus on keeping learning methodologies, activities, materials, and assessment tools simple so they can be embraced by individuals at all learning levels and by governments with a wide range of resources.
Pratham’s commitment to an evidence-based approach ensures purposeful integration of monitoring and evaluation into its operations and decision making.
Pratham’s comprehension that change happens locally allows it to strategically institutionalize interventions by leveraging existing government infrastructure, resources, and policy opportunities when possible.
Pratham’s understanding that making small, incremental change visible at a large scale is necessary to show stakeholders that change is possible.
Pratham’s ability to identify and partner with the local champions within the government—and to use evidence from the Learning Camps to ignite their excitement—has been critical for garnering political will and support at the top to create the conditions needed to scale up and have an impact from below.
Pratham’s flexible, long-term focused donors allow for the building of trust, which gives Pratham the organizational autonomy, space, and independence needed to experiment, take risks and innovate.