The Context

In its attempt to universalise 8 years of elementary education, there has been a considerable expansion in schooling facility and enrolment. However, research indicates that a majority of children, predominantly from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, are barely able to read, write and calculate after even 5 years of primary schooling.

Most children attend elementary school in which the medium of instruction is one of the many Indian regional languages. It is important to ensure that students acquire appropriate literacy, numeracy and other cognitive skills. Empowering them with a good quality elementary education entails that they also acquire a basic proficiency in English. Unless the quality of learning of our disadvantaged urban, rural and tribal children significantly improves, they will be not be able to fulfill their educational potential and will be unprepared to meet the challenges of the future.

Issues / Needs We Address

Towards improving the quality of elementary education that disadvantaged children receive, the CLR focuses on the following:

Literacy Learning in the First Language

  • Home language to school language transition
  • Process of literacy learning; place of oracy
  • Reading with meaning
  • Writing independently
  • Learning assessment

Primary Mathematics

  • Teachers' own conceptual understanding and competence
  • Building conceptual understanding, problem-solving and computational skills of learners - the place of experiential learning and concrete materials
  • Relating mathematics to everyday life
  • Learning assessment

Teaching of English as a Second Language

  • Significantly enhancing the limited knowledge of the English language itself of elementary school teachers.
  • Providing teachers with practical and effective methods of teaching English to students, whose background and exposure to English is very limited.
  • Giving opportunities for students to listen to spoken English, and to be able to respond in English, as well as acquire basic reading and writing skills.
  • Providing instructional and supplementary learning materials in English, which are relevant to the Indian context, and appropriate to the backgrounds and interests of mainstream elementary school students.

Inservice Training of Trainers, Teachers and Para-Teachers in Primary Level Literacy Development and Mathematics

Our inservice training programmes for teacher trainers, primary school teachers and para-teachers, have concentrated on improving their capacity to teach basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics effectively. Wherever relevant, other inputs like environmental and values education, and creative activities are also included.

Our training programmes incorporate :

  • Content knowledge and effective activity-based pedagogy.
  • Making and using simple, low cost teaching-learning materials.
  • Evaluation of pupil achievement.
  • Discussions on the affective aspects of teaching and learning, including equity in the classroom, teacher attitudes and motivation.

Teaching-Learning Materials for Primary Level Literacy Development

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Teaching-Learning Materials in Primary Mathematics

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Training Materials : Print and Video

Based on our extensive experience of training teachers in primary schools and non-formal education programmes, the CLR has developed audio-visual and print training materials, including training videos.

We train trainers to use these materials to conduct inservice training programmes.

Our training materials also:

  • Integrate theory and practice
  • Emphasise active, participatory training methods
  • Allow for local adaptation

We have found that in order to enhance the capacity of teacher trainers at the district and sub-districts levels, there is a need to equip them with effective teacher training materials in the video medium.

We continue to develop videos which depict the complexities and realities of mainstream classrooms, and engage teachers in reflection and discussion. We record actual classroom transactions, so that one teacher's experience can be a learning catalyst for others, and different teaching styles viewed and analysed. These videos will be provided to participants of all CLR trainers' training programmes. Click here for more details and ordering information.

Teaching of English as a Second Language

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We offer consultancy services to organisations involved in primary education. For example, we formulated a concept paper for a National Learning Materials Fair organised by the Department of Education, Government of India. On their behalf, we also undertook to observe and report on the inservice teacher training programmes being conducted by the Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training.

Advocacy Activities

We believe that our attempts at micro-level qualitative improvements and innovations in children's education need to be reinforced by developing a climate of support within the educational community, parents and the general public. The CLR has developed a range of advocacy activities to generate this public awareness and support.

Primary Mathematics Exhibition

The CLR has designed an exhibition in Marathi which depicts the functional mathematics skills that children in primary schools and non-formal educational centres need to learn, and the methods and materials required to teach these skills. It has been staged in collaboration with government agencies at a number of locations in Maharashtra. Designed to travel, the exhibition has been viewed by thousands of parents and teachers, and other members of the educational community.

Raising Awareness About Improving Rural Primary School Design and Facilities

Both within and outside the educational community, the CLR actively promotes the understanding that children learn best when their schools and classrooms are designed properly, and provided with adequate indoor and outdoor facilities.

The CLR has developed an audio-visual training series depicting improvements required in rural primary school design and facilities. This series entitled "A Better School For Every Child" is aimed at audiences ranging from state and district level administrators and engineers, to teachers and village education committee members. Click here for more details and ordering information.

Examples of Agencies Requesting CLR Technical Support

Government Agencies

  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) - Andhra Pradesh
  • District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) - Maharashtra, Assam and Uttar Pradesh
  • Primary Education Enhancement Project (PEEP) - Maharashtra, Bihar and Delhi
  • Education Department - Pune Municipal Corporation, Bombay Municipal Corporation and Delhi Municipal Corporation

Indian NGOs / Organisations

  • Azim Premji Foundation
  • CASP-Plan, Pune
  • India Sponsorship Committee, Pune
  • Institute of Health Management, Maharashtra

Foreign NGOs / Organisations

  • Aga Khan Humanities Project, Tajikistan


Click to read / download:

In Elementary Education, the CLR Focuses on the following:

  • Literacy Learning in First Language
  • Primary Mathematics
  • Teaching of English as a Second Language