Earlier this month, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) prize, one of the biggest awards in international education, was given to Madhav Chavan. The award recognizes Chavan for his long-time work to provide basic education to millions of poverty-stricken people in India. With an additional prize of almost $500,000, Chavan expressed his desire to continue providing lessons in literacy and numeracy to the slum community of his country.
After receiving his Ph.D. in the United States, Chavan returned to India. While teaching at Mumbai University, he realized that lack of education was the main barrier to the country’s development. Working with UNICEF and city authorities, he set out to provide lessons for people at a low cost. Through his charity, called Partham, not only did he increase numbers of available lessons, but Chavan also ensured a better quality of education. He had a philosophy to have “every child in school and learning well.”
Partham Lessons are held in temples, offices, and homes in communities. They are often taught by local volunteers. Today, Chavan’s charity has expanded to 17 of India’s 28 states. It has became the country’s largest non-governmental education provider for underprivileged children. A study shows that preschool students from Partham are more likely to attend primary schools and score higher on tests than other children their age.
“This prize is a major landmark that reminds me how much more remains to be done. It is an enormous honour for me to be recognised by this unique community of innovators,” said Dr Chavan.
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