‘Leap forward’ through early years


Development Initiative

Education theme

Delivery systems; Education and society; Inclusion; Monitoring and evaluation; Teachers, teaching and learning

Focus by region


Driving Pratham’s early years programs with the Yidan Prize project funds

Over the past 25 years, Pratham has been helping children catch up on math and literacy. Now, they’re working to ensure that children receive quality early learning to build strong foundations, reducing the need for catch-up interventions down the road.

If children miss out early on these foundational skills, they risk falling into a learning gap as the curriculum gets tougher. Prior to COVID-19, only about 30% of children in India who reached Grade 3 (eight years old) had acquired an adequate level of foundational skills. In this context, the impact of COVID-19—school closures and learning losses—was all the more devastating.

Developing and testing innovations for early years education

With the Yidan Prize funds, Pratham is developing, testing, and refining programs for children aged three to eight to support their development. They will continue to engage communities and families—especially mothers, alongside effective practices in pre-school and school settings. These programs are expected to benefit 35,000 children across 650 communities. As innovation ‘test beds’, the communities show what works best and what needs to be refined for large-scale implementation.

Scaling effective interventions through government partnerships

Pratham currently works with state governments in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, and Delhi. Together, they design, develop, and plan programs to be implemented locally. With the Yidan Prize funds, Pratham will expand collaborations with government systems in new locations, scaling proven as well as emerging interventions. The funds will also help set up a dedicated team—one that is focused on long-term strategy and partnership coordination across the country.

Open resources for all learners

As part of the PraDigi Open Learning initiative, Pratham Open School is a digital platform that encourages children to learn independently. The public platform offers learning resources for children and youth, preparing them for school, work, and life. Partially funded by the Yidan Prize, Pratham plans to take Pratham Open School’s work even further: more content, wider access, and support other partners in the education sector. In short, that means more stories, digital games, and videos in various languages will be made available to all. Toys and games are also being developed to serve communities without internet connection.