Ajmer report 2008-09

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					                             Read India Progress Report: Ajmer (Rajasthan)
                                     Update on 2008-09 activities

Background and approach
As outlined in the previous report, Pratham started work in Ajmer in Oct 2007. It has continued work in
the district since then. Pratham worked primarily with volunteers since there was no state-level
partnership. However, partnerships at the district and local level have ensured that volunteer-run
classes were conducted after school hours in the school premises. In two blocks where Pratham was not
able to get the requisite permissions, classes were held in community spaces.

Pratham increased the focus on training in 2008-09 compared to 2007-08. Greater emphasis was placed
on training through demonstrations as opposed to through lectures.

Reach 2008-2009 academic year
   1. Total no. of blocks covered: All 8 blocks in the district were covered
   2. No. of children reached: Approx. 60,000
   3. No. of volunteers recruited: 1257

Impact on learning outcomes
In May 2009, Pratham conducted a special mid-year ASER survey in 8 districts in Rajasthan, including
Ajmer. Children who were surveyed in November 2008 were tracked and their learning levels were
surveyed again. Key results for Ajmer are summarized in Table 1 below. As shown, learning levels
improved by at least 15 percentage points in both reading and math across grades.

Table 1: A comparison of ASER 2008 (November 2008) with mid-year ASER 2009 (May 2009)
                                          Grades 3-5 :
                       Grades 1-2 :                           Grades 1-2 :       Grades 3-5 :
                                        Children who can
                    Children who can                        Children who can Children who can
                                         read a Grade 1
                       read letters,                       recognize numbers solve subtraction
                                               text
                     words or more                               or more           or more
                                             or more
 ASER 2008                 65.4                47.8                68.1              33.2
 MID ASER 2009             81.8                70.3                82.2              47.5



A comparison of Read India districts with non-Read India districts in Rajasthan reveals that learning
levels improved much more significantly in the former. These results are summarized in Table 2. In grade
1, for instance, the percentage of children who could recognize alphabets improved by almost 17
percentage points in Read India districts as compared to only 4.4 percentage points for non-Read India
districts. Similarly the percentage of children who could read a grade 1 text in Grade 5 improved by
alphabets improved by more than 14 percentage points in Read India districts as compared to only 2.3
percentage points for non-Read India districts.
Table 2: Comparison of non-Read districts with Read India districts, Rajasthan
                              Percentage of children who could recognize alphabets
                           Non-Read India                                 Read India
             ASER 08       Mid-year 09    Improvement      ASER 08      Mid-year 09             Improvement
 Grade 1      48.2            52.6             4.4          47.6            64.5                    16.9
 Grade 2      84.3            90.2             5.9          80.3            88.1                     7.8
 Grade 3      94.5            96.6             2.1          94.8            97.7                     2.9

                               Percentage of children who could read a grade 1 text
                           Non-Read India                                  Read India
             ASER 08       Mid-year 09    Improvement      ASER 08       Mid-year 09            Improvement
 Grade 3      37.5             43              5.5           42.5            50.8                    8.3
 Grade 4      62.5            66.5               4           66.9            80.5                   13.6
 Grade 5      82.1            84.4             2.3           75.4            89.6                   14.2


 Profile of a volunteer: RAM SWARUP KALBELIA

 Ram Swarup is the youngest of six brothers. Although he was good in his studies, his parents pulled
 him out of school to supplement his family income when he was in the ninth grade. Since then, he has
 been collecting scraps from door-to-door and selling them. However, he has always retained an
 interest in reading and would often read the old newspapers and books that were sold to him.

 In January 2009, based on a recommendation by the panchayat head, a Pratham coordinator
 approached Ram Swarup and asked him to volunteer for READ AJMER. He agreed and underwent
 training. In spite of his busy schedule, he currently conducts hourly classes every day for the children of
 his village.

 Ram Swarup is today one of the most dedicated and effective teachers in the Pratham network in
 Ajmer. He says “I have had to struggle a lot because I was unable to complete my studies. I don’t want
 these children to go through the same fate. I will consider it a blessing if because of my small efforts, I
 can help these children to stay in school and do well”.

				
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