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June 26, 2011

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June 26, 2011

Pratham was a great initiative when it started. And like most successful initiatives, it has begun having greater faith in itself and allowed the emerging opportunities in the field of education to pass it by.

With initiatives like One Laptop per Child, Pratham's activities have become
less attractive in order to produce what is possible, here and now, for the same amount of effort.

In teh same amount of money that Pratham spends on a child, OLPC can transform the child's future by an order of magnitude.

Using Pratham when OLPC became possible with the effort made by Negroponet to raise $250 million and collect some of the best minds in teh world in the field of education and technology to create a revolutionary initiative embodied in a laptop that works everywhere regardless of infrastructure and teaching resources, is a bit like using a landline phone to communicate when the cell phones have become widely available.

Pratham does not address the potential of a child. It only looks at what the government set as a guideline half a century ago.

Meanwhile, the world has changed. The needs of learning have changed. And Pratham continues to chug along the same old way when imagination has begun to fly and created greater and deeper divides between those with resources and those without.

Its time Pratham uses OLPC to improve its own effectiveness or winds down to let more modern approaches lead the world to bridge the divide.

OLPC has demonstrated in Uruguay that in 19 months 500,000 children, EVERY SINGLE CHILD in Uruguay can start learning like the best in the world do.

Pratham helps a child become a domestic help who needs to be trained.

OLPC helps them become critical thinkers, problem solvers who can hold to their own in any environment.

Time to rethink folks!

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OLPC India and Satish Jha

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Yes

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ask them to embrace OLPC as their approach to improve learning rather than continue on the path that they started that appeals to heart but does little for the minds!

June 20, 2011

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1 previous review
October 12, 2009

Pratham Books' aim of putting a book in the hand of every child is a most laudable and much needed objective for an Indian publisher. There are millions of children in India and yet most books for the... more

June 20, 2011

With the arrival of enthusiastic and competent young publishers like Pratham Books (started in 2004), the children's book industry in India finally seems to be getting its act together! As a writer, translator and reviewer of children's books for 4 decades, this gives me tremendous pleasure.

Pratham Books aims to put a book in the hands of every Indian child.There are 300 million children in the country, speaking at least 21 languages. And many of them live in dire poverty, in remote, inaccessible areas.Getting good books to these children is a monumental task which Pratham Books seems to be tackling
with both creativity and vigour. In the last year Pratham teams have been reaching out to state governments and NGOs across the country to make books available not only through libraries, shops,schools and book fairs, but also through village post offices and at bus and train stations.

Realizing the enormity of the task ahead, they are also reaching out to other publishers and organizations so as to jointly produce rich and varied fare for children. In 2010 Pratham Books published 'Nono, the Snow Leopard' in 4 Indian languages, in collaboration with the Nature Conservation Foundation and the Snow Leopard Trust.

Recently they adopted the Creative Commons framework - making their stories and illustrations available under an open licence model. This has meant that their books are reaching children not just as written words but also as audio books, books in Braille for the visually handicapped, as well as iPad and iPhone applications.

All these excellent initiatives go to show how an organization can fly while remaining firmly grounded!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my interactions with their team and their volunteers who are very strongly committed yet full of fun. I find the range of Pratham's activities very inspiring.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give them whatever they feel they need in order to deliver faster and better .

October 12, 2009

Pratham Books' aim of putting a book in the hand of every child is a most laudable and much needed objective for an Indian publisher. There are millions of children in India and yet most books for them sell only in thousands. This means far too many children are deprived of books.Whatever be the reasons,and there are several, this is both sad and shameful. And it has been this way for the almost forty years that I have been associated with children as a writer, translator, reviewer and storyteller. To do justice to the children of our country,particularly the under-privileged, we need many,many more high quality,low priced books for them in all the Indian languages. And we need to reach these books to them. Pratham Books has made an excellent beginning.In the five years of its existence, its bright, well-produced, very reasonably priced books - and its story cards(which are shortened but still illustrated versions of their books, priced at just two rupees each)-have been read with pleasure by millions of children all over the country. May the efforts of Pratham Books go from strength to strength! And may many more 'Prathams' bloom and grow! The gratitude of India's young will bless them.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

cheerful, practical and committed to their cause, without being either sugary or appearing noble!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

December 15, 2010

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December 15, 2010

Awesome books
I use them for the school with special needs that I volunteer with.
Parents take one look at the books, especially age group 3 to 6 years, and they say...want want want!!

Topics are so relevant and child friendly....and Indian!

Only wish you could reach many
many more...especially special schools....

Any books for special children specifically would be more than welcome...I know Chuskit Goes to school....but perhaps for slightly smaller kids too!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Bought many books

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help with the sales and marketing

November 30, 2009

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November 30, 2009

Pratham is making a serious dent into the 'Children's Books' scene in India. They certainly have made a huge difference to the reading habbits of our 4 year old. The books are not pedantic, they are usually written from the perspective of a child, the publishing quality is outstanding and all this for just Rs25/- or so. I wish Pratham was available at more stores and libraries.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their desire to beak the mould and give quality books at super affordable prices.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 21, 2009

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October 21, 2009

Very colourful, rooted in Indian tales. My 18 month old daughter loves seeing the pictures while listening to stories of crows,grandmoms and fireflies :-) The low cost is an added incentive, cos you can buy so many more books! More power to them and their good work!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

very Indian stories, illustrations and settings, which is easy for children here in India to relate to.

More feedback...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

With a mission and commitment to enabling children to read, and to creating a reading country, Pratham Books has done pioneering work that has reached children across the country with its pre-school, in-school and out-of-school programmes that aim to ensure that every child is in school and learning well. Pratham Books is a not-for-profit trust that seeks to publish quality books for children at an affordable cost in a number of Indian languages – reaching books to children who otherwise would not have access to good quality material. The books are beautifully designed and their content is among best one can find in publications for children – the text or story of each book usually contains a meaningful insight for children but it is one that is subtle, not patronizing or beating down with a high moral tone. So children enjoy the stories, are fascinated by the design and artwork and what they read gives them learning for life. The books are so reasonably priced that the libraries can afford to have multiple copies of the books. This means that an entire class can read as one and the children can share their thoughts and ideas about the stories. Even library periods have become more interactive as the children read the same titles together, and then move into discussion, reviews and other follow-up activities that make learning hands-on. As the books cover a wide range of subjects, the themes lend themselves to social studies, environment studies, and value education. I work with a number of schools as a consultant in education, and my focus area of work is curriculum design and lesson planning. Having been introduced to Pratham Books, teachers often replace textbook chapters with stories from Pratham Books or else use them to add value to the subject matter. In the light of current trends in education – particularly the development of life skills – Pratham Books are among the best resources available to educators today – particularly educators in middle and low income schools, as they provide excellent content and design at easily affordable prices. I have also seen first hand the outreach work that Pratham does as part of its Read India project. At one of the schools that I work with, a library and learning center was started in April with about 18 children from low income families who come in to read every afternoon. Pratham allowed the use of its systems and assigned a trained volunteer to assist the staff and student volunteers of the school to run the library. Each child who comes to the library is given a personal library card and a target is set of a common minimum objective of 70 books read by each child annually. The children are screened and ranked according to levels of literacy, ranging from symbol recognition to sentence level and book level. Then they are divided into groups: the beginners at a Learn to Read level and the more advanced at a Read to Learn level. Volunteers apply an accelerated learning method developed by Pratham in which an unlettered child soon starts reading and computing basic mathematics. Through the books it brings to children, Pratham Books brings about a transformational change in their lives.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

classrooms, libraries and learning centers - seen children take an avid interest in reading, supported by the learning systems and material that the organization provides

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extremely helpful - showed concern for and interest in the work and projects we undertook - trained and professional - committed and dedicated - at hand, always.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

I run a Library for young children in Delhi, and was on the lookout for books that are simple in text but have great content and Pratham books absolutely fit the bill. I have had many moms come back to me and say that their children loved the books, looked at the pictures and enjoyed the story.Our library is well stocked with the Pratham collection and we keep adding more. We have been handing the books out to children living around our area and these books have been a first for almost all of them and many have come back for more.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

passionate about Pratham and efficient in execution.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

Pratham Books is a real world example of what happens if you combine a super-charged team with great intentions! The work they are doing to promote literacy is truly amazing. As a parent of a three and half yr old, I'm always on the look out for interesting books that bring a contextual connect, so I just love the fact that these books are about every day Indian lives. Makes it very easy for my daughter to relate to them as opposed to the Enid Blyton's we were used to. I also feel great that buying these books helps put a book within reach for so many more children. In fact it's the kind of idea that makes me say - why didn't I think of that! Kudos!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Great content that works for Indian children.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazingly charged (at least the one's I'v met in the cyber-world)

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

ensure "no child was left behind" and didn't experience the joy of reading!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 19, 2009

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October 19, 2009

Pratham Books does exactly what it sets out to do: bring out beautifully produced,extremely relevant,engaging books for children at a price that make the books universally accessible.Literacy is the need of the hour in India, and Pratham Books is doing a wonderful job of planting the seed of curiosity and interest in children from various sections of society.

More feedback...

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change the face of young India in planting the seed of reading and learning in children across the country, not least because it brings out its books in most Indian languages!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 19, 2009

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October 19, 2009

I'm the executive director of Literacy Bridge, a U.S.-based nonprofit that develops a low-cost audio computer to improve literacy in India and other countries throughout South Asis and Sub-Saharan Africa. I've worked with Pratham Books for two years. I have personally reviewed about ten of their books and have been extremely impressed by their content. We have their books in our U.S. office, and visitors often request copies for their U.S. programs. I've worked closely with senior members of the staff and am constantly impressed by their innovative approach to making high quality content available to the children who need it most. This is a high-quality organization that I look forward to working with as long as possible.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

children's reading books

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working with staff

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extremely bright, personable, and hard-working

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

eliminate illiteracy throughout India (well, it's a big country, so maybe just a really large portion of India)

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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