Dubai Cares today announced that it has partnered with Indian NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Pratham Education Foundation (Pratham) to launch a program aimed at enhancing literacy and numeracy skills, as well as early childhood education in India.
Dubai Cares will collaborate with Pratham and assist local communities in six Indian states by strengthening programs focused on three core issues - enhancing the learning levels of beneficiaries in government schools across rural areas, providing school readiness among children in grades 1 and 2, as well as supporting the Central Resource Group. The program is expected to benefit over 1 million children over the span of three years.
Speaking on the partnership with Pratham, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: “Our partnership with Pratham will ensure quality education for children attending schools in India and will facilitate high levels of literacy and numeracy skills. We lay a lot of emphasis on monitoring, evaluation and learning, so this program will also serve as demonstration sites to generate evidence and showcase best practice that can be replicated across the country to enhance the educational support system on a national level.”
The partnership will support Pratham in its efforts to reverse the school dropout rates and low learning levels prevalent in the country. India is one of 135 nations to make education a “fundamental right” with the Right to Education Act (RTE) in effect around the country. However, despite having achieved the target for universal primary education set under the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, the Indian educational system has been handicapped by inadequate teacher qualification and support, low teacher motivation, high absenteeism, flawed teaching methodology and linguistic diversity, leading to a lack of incentives for students to continue in school.
Under the partnership, Dubai Cares has earmarked three programs that will reach a total of 1,053,954 direct beneficiaries. The Read India III program will boost the skill levels in language and math for government school students in rural areas through an intense short-term teaching-learning program that will be repeated several times in the same village or school during the year. The program will be delivered to 150,000 villages in 150 blocks across the country and will demonstrate the positive effects of short bursts of quality training.
The Urban Early Childhood Education Program prepares primary-age children for school through physical, language, cognitive and emotional readiness. It also promotes early literacy and numeracy amongst children in Grades 1 and 2 through community classes held in homes or common community facilities.
With its emphasis on innovation and development, Dubai Cares will also support the Central Resource Group that will focus on four key functions – content creation, Research & Development, training and advocacy. The group’s work will allow Dubai Cares to fine-tune as well as elevate the standards of existing interventions to deliver a stronger content, training, and analyses.
Similar to many Dubai Cares initiatives, the India program is in line with the ‘Global Education First Initiative’ launched by United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in September 2012 and aimed at renewing and reinvigorating global commitments to education. Dubai Cares attended the launch of this global initiative during the week of the UN General Assembly in New York, where Ban Ki-Moon selected Dubai Cares to be a partner in this initiative.
Dubai Cares has so far reached over 8 million children in 31 developing countries. The organization’s programmatic interventions comprise building and renovating schools and classrooms, improving water, sanitation and hygiene in schools, providing school feeding, deworming activities, early childhood education, as well as teacher training, curriculum development, literacy and numeracy.