Mumbai, 08 November – Piramal Foundation today announced its new learning initiative in collaboration with Google to help 6 lakh children in India learn to read with the help of Read Along, a speech-based reading tool by Google. This initiative has been launched in 30 aspirational districts across six states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh – spanning two years.
According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, only 50.3% of all children enrolled in Std V can read at least a Std II level text. The learning initiative will aim to help bridge this gap and empower 3000+ managers to train 30000+ teachers across India to help improve foundational literacy among students aged 5 – 11 years.
Piramal Foundation’s network of collaborators and Gandhi Fellows worked closely with the district officials to launch this initiative in each of the 30 districts. The launch is being supported by an outreach campaign through local NGOs and volunteers, aiming to increase awareness about the benefits of developing reading habits among young children.
The initiative aligns with the Ministry of Education’s NIPUN Bharat initiative (National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy), which aims to ensure that every child in India attains their foundational literacy and numeracy outcomes by 2026–27.
Manmohan Singh, Head Aspirational District Program, Piramal Foundation, “Foundational numeracy and literacy in formative years lead to better educational outcomes as children grow up. Piramal Foundation is happy to work with Google to extend the benefits of reading and improve foundational learning among 6 lakh young minds across the country. We will train and work closely with the education ecosystem to achieve this goal.”
Nitin Kashyap, Group Product Manager at Google, “With Read Along, our aim is to help every child learn to read better and develop their literacy skills by enabling easy access to reading at a young age. We are humbled to see that over the past three years, more than 30 million kids across the world have read more than 120 million stories on Read Along. With this initiative, we look forward to taking another step in this direction with the Piramal Foundation and helping many more children in India, especially in the aspirational districts, to learn to read with the magic of their voice.”
Read Along uses Google’s speech recognition technology to help develop literacy skills, and was first launched in India as Bolo. It is available as an Android app and a website, and it helps children learn to read independently with the help of an in-built reading assistant called Diya.