About Us


Early language and literacy skills are basis of all future learning in schools. If these are not developed well in early years, children will not be able to catch up in later grades with school texts becoming more dense and abstract. Therefore, strengthening teaching-learning for developing early literacy skills among students is crucial. The Language and Learning Foundation (LLF) was formed in 2015 with the aim of developing and implementing a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers, teacher educators and other stakeholders in the area of early grade student learning with a specific focus on language and literacy.

Rationale for LLF’s Focus on Professional Development

  • Lack of continuous development of
    teachers and teacher educators

    • Teachers not equipped to promote active learning in the classroom
  • Inappropriate classroom

    • Choral repetition and copying
    • Limited focus on comprehension
  • Low learning

    • Students unable to use language for higher order thinking, reasoning and communication
    • Poor performance in other subjects
  • Inappropriate classroom

    • Lack of basic reading and writing skills

Vision and Mission

Our vision is that all children will have strong foundational skills and abilities of language and literacy, thinking and reasoning in their home and additional languages. Based on this strong foundation, all children will learn and grow to their full potential.

By 2024, influence classroom practices of 8,00,000 teachers and teacher educators in collaboration with State Governments. This will potentially improve the learning outcomes of 3 crores children by 2024. This is almost 46% of all children in grades 1 – 3 in government schools who are at the risk of not learning foundational skills.

Board of Trustees

  • Dr. Dhir Jhingran is the Founder & Executive Director of Language and Learning Foundation (LLF), a non-profit focused on improving foundational learning of students through early literacy and multilingual education programs. LLF works closely with state governments to catalyse education system reform at scale in India. Dhir has worked in the primary education sector for 30 years, within and outside the Indian Government. Within the Government, as an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, Dhir has served in policy-making roles in the Ministry of Education at the national level and as Principal Secretary Education in the Government of Assam. He has also handled several other profiles, such as Senior Advisor to UNICEF India, Advisor to the Ministry of Education in Nepal, Asia Regional Director and Chief Program Officer with Room to Read. He has made significant contributions to the development and implementation of early grade reading programs in several countries in Asia and Africa as well as first language-based multilingual education programs in several states in India. Dhir has authored three books in primary education based on empirical research and has contributed to several books and journals. Dhir holds a master’s in Economics and a PhD in Education.

    Dr. Dhir Jhingran

    Managing Trustee (Founder & Executive Director)
  • Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra, Trustee, is a well-known folklorist with a passion for work with tribal groups in India and is recipient of Sahitya Academy Award in 1999. He has conceptualized, designed and implemented multilingual education programs in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. He has been part of many seminar and conferences on Folklore and Multilingual Education in China, South Korea, Thailand, and Nepal.

    Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra

  • Mr. Sushant Verma, Trustee, has got over eighteen years of intensive experience in managing social development programs within areas such as education, public health, livelihood promotion, community development, disaster management, corporate social responsibility and women’s empowerment. He has been awarded various National and International awards for outstanding contribution in the field of community initiatives.

    Mr. Sushant Verma

  • Dr. Uddalak Datta, Trustee, has been working in the field of elementary education for last two decades - both for government programs and for non-profit sector- across India. His focus has been predominantly on quality of education with emphasis on issues with regard to disadvantaged communities through strategic planning, capacity building and research initiatives.

    Dr. Uddalak Datta,

  • Ms. Madhu Ranjan
    With over 30 years of extensive experience in elementary education, Ms. Ranjan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our team. Throughout her remarkable career, she has been associated with prominent organisation's such as Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), Centre for Education Management and Development (CEMD), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She retired from USAID as the Senior Education Specialist and Team Lead. Ms. Ranjan's significant contributions span various areas, including government policies, implementation strategies, and program design. She has been an integral part of high-profile review missions and consultations, showcasing her dedication to the field. Currently, she is actively involved in consultancies focused on early learning and primary school education. Her engagements include collaborations with renowned organizations such as USAID, Central Square Foundation, Social Finance India, CARE India, Arizona State University, Reach to Teach, Handicap International, English Helper, Language and Learning Foundation, Story Ghar, and Project Concern International.

    Ms. Madhu Ranjan


Advisory Board

  • Ms. Vrinda Sarup is a retired IAS officer of the 1981 batch, who has served as Secy to Govt of India in the Dept. of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resources Development and in the Dept. of Food and Public Distribution. Ms. Sarup has worked in the sector of Education for over 23 years both at the Central and State Govts, where she has experience both as an implementer and policy maker. She has been closely associated with the formulation and implementation of some of the most significant national programmes of the District Primary Education Programme and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for elementary education and the revised Vocational Education Programme at secondary/senior secondary level. She has been central to the revision of pre-service teacher training programmes and the national pupil assessment and the assessments of school performance systems. Ms. Sarup is the Chairperson of the Advisory Board.

    Ms. Vrinda Sarup

    Chairperson, Former Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Dr. Dhir Jhingran is the Founder & Executive Director of Language and Learning Foundation (LLF), a non-profit focused on improving foundational learning of students through early literacy and multilingual education programs. LLF works closely with state governments to catalyse education system reform at scale in India. Dhir has worked in the primary education sector for 30 years, within and outside the Indian Government. Within the Government, as an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, Dhir has served in policy-making roles in the Ministry of Education at the national level and as Principal Secretary Education in the Government of Assam. He has also handled several other profiles, such as Senior Advisor to UNICEF India, Advisor to the Ministry of Education in Nepal, Asia Regional Director and Chief Program Officer with Room to Read. He has made significant contributions to the development and implementation of early grade reading programs in several countries in Asia and Africa as well as first language-based multilingual education programs in several states in India. Dhir has authored three books in primary education based on empirical research and has contributed to several books and journals. Dhir holds a master’s in Economics and a PhD in Education.

    Dr. Dhir Jhingran

    Founder and Executive Director (Managing Trustee)
  • Prof. Venita Kaul, is Professor Emerita (Education) Ambedkar University Delhi and Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of Center for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED) at the university. She retired in 2016 as Director of School of Education Studies and Founder Director of Center for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED), at the Ambedkar University, Delhi, which is a state university. Prior to this assignment, Prof Kaul was a Senior Education Specialist in The World Bank for over ten years. Before joining the World Bank, Prof Kaul served in NCERT for over twenty years and took early retirement from the position of Professor and Head of Department of Preschool and Elementary Education. Prof Kaul has been a member of several Committees of the Government in an Advisory capacity. At the international level, she has been a Member of the Steering Group of Asia Pacific Regional Network for ECD and has been an invited member of the International Forum for Investing in the Young Child. She has also been on the Boards of a number of well known NGOs working in the area of Education including Pratham, Mobile Creches and Sesame Street (India). Prof Kaul has a PhD from I.I.T. Delhi in Psychology and has several national and international publications in the area of Early Education to her credit.

    Prof. Venita Kaul

    Professor Emerita (Ambedkar University Delhi)
  • Ms. Amrita Patwardhan heads the Education and Sports portfolio of the Tata Trusts. She has been with the Trusts since 2003. She has led design and implementation of two strategic plans, set up and managed teams and programmes working on elementary education across multiple states. Ms Patwardhan has a Masters in child development from MS University, Baroda and MPhil in education from Delhi University. She was recipient of Edberg Foundation, Sweden's fellowship in 2001 where she spent a year at the International Development Department of Clark University researching 'Impact of displacement on children'. She also completed Harvard summer course on 'Improving quality of education systems', Harvard University in 2007. She has represented the Trusts on National Mission on Libraries, has been on various expert committees set up by the National Council for Education Research and Training, and Ministry of Human Resource Development to review national programmes on literacy, elementary education and children's literature. Before joining the Trusts, Amrita taught in a primary school and college, and worked as a teacher educator.

    Ms. Amrita Patwardhan

    Heads of Education and Sports portfolio of the Tata Trusts.
  • Ms. Shubhra Chatterji, Mrs. Shubhra Chatterji has been working in the space of School Education since 1986. She has worked as a teacher, curriculum developer, pre-school incubation expert, teacher educator and designer of teacher preparation programmes. She has worked in a variety of socio economic settings, and is founder Director of Vikramshila, a resource organization that works across the country on issues of educational quality and equity. This organization began its journey by providing teacher support to rural NGO run pre-schools – it has evolved alongside the children it serves, and now works across the K-10 spectrum across several states of India. Most recently Mrs. Chatterji has provided technical expertise in rewriting the ECE curriculum for the ICDS system in West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. One of her abiding areas of interest is ‘Language Learning in Early Years’.

    Ms. Shubhra Chatterji

    Founder and Director, Vikramshila Education Resource Society
  • Mr. Ravi Sreedharan (Ravi) is an Engineer from IIT-BHU (1985) and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad (1988). He worked in the corporate world for 24 years, most of it with the MNC Bank – HSBC in Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Cairo. He quit a successful corporate career in 2011, at the age of 49 to return to India and pursue a career in Social Work. Back in India, he was part of the leadership team at Azim Premji Foundation 2011 to 2015. With an Endowment of over Rs 50,000 crores, Ravi has done a lot of work specifically in the School Leadership space across the country from researching and defining qualities required in good school leaders to designing interventions to develop these qualities. This work was at the level of village schools at one end; and advising National Level Programs of the Government in developing curriculum and programs for strengthening school leadership across the country, at the other end. While working in the social sector across numerous villages in the country, Ravi saw an acute shortage of good, relevant leadership not only in the education sector but also in the entire development sector. To address this critical issue, he left Azim Premji Foundation with an idea to build a pioneering, world class, iconic, not-for-profit institute in the country dedicated to Development Management. An institute that will catalyse a big change in the way organizations in the development sector are managed and become far more impactful, sustainable and achieving significant scale. In a short period of less than a year, he and the team at Indian School of Development Management are well on their way to establishing a unique institution and building an eco-system for development management in the country and possibly the world. He is the Founder and Director of Indian School of Development Management

    Mr. Ravi Sreedharan

    Founder and Director of Indian School of Development Management
  • Ms. Nishi Suri
    Nishi is the Founder and CEO of BrandCross Consulting whose mission is to enable young talent and organizations to build better brands, because a better brand means better marketing. With high profile international business experience of over 35 years in developing brands for Fortune 500 companies such as Unilever, Coca-Cola, British Petroleum, Danone, Kraft Foods, YUM!, Asian Paints and others, Nishi has held C-Level leadership roles in global brand management and general management based in the U.S., China and India. She has deep knowledge and understanding of BRIC markets and cultures gained though on-site work and life experiences in the U.S., Latin America and Asia. While building brands all along, several of which have won international and domestic creative and effectiveness recognition, Nishi also had the opportunities to develop initiatives including CSR programs such as Lifebouy India's Hand Washing program, setting up Lowe India's Rural Communications Group for Unilever's brands and leading the development of Goli Ke Hamjoli - an USAID funded program - to promote the use of oral contraceptives in India. Nishi has served on the juries of effectiveness and content marketing awards in India and the U.S. and was part of the Visiting Faculty at the Miami Ad School, Miami.

    Ms. Nishi Suri

    Founder and CEO of BrandCross Consulting
  • Shaveta Sharma-Kukreja
    Shaveta is the CEO & Managing Director at Central Square Foundation. Shaveta has been part of the founding team at CSF since 2012, and leads CSF’s strategy, operations and partnerships. She leads CSF’s work on FLN (Foundational Literacy & Numeracy), Early Childhood Education (ECE) and EdTech, and oversees CSF’s organizational development. She is passionate to bring to life CSF’s vision of quality learning for all children and government-led system reform for scale and sustainability. Prior to CSF, she worked at The Boston Consulting Group and Citibank. She has also been a visiting faculty member in the Human Resources and Organizational Behavior disciplines at various business schools. Shaveta earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi, and holds an MBA in Management from IIM, Bangalore. She is a proud parent to two young adults (a boy & girl) & furry-boy. In her free time, Shaveta enjoys reading, watching Hindi movies & listening to music, solving Sudoku & Kakuro puzzles and travelling.

    Shaveta Sharma-Kukreja

    CEO & Managing Director at Central Square Foundation
  • Dushyant Singh
    Dushyant comes with 20+ years of experience in strategy, merger and acquisition, and business development and is an IIM Calcutta alumnus. He is Co-lead in the private equity practice at McKinsey in India, serving leading buyout and growth funds and their portfolio companies. He also co-leads the M&A competency, serving Indian business houses on topics related to acquisitions, divestitures, and corporate finance. He previously established and led the Commercial Due Diligence practice at Deloitte, and led the M&A strategy practice at PwC. He has also served as a solution leader in the IT industry and a corporate planning manager in the media industry. His specialties include due diligence, M&A and growth, private equity, communications & media, and education.

    Dushyant Singh

    Private Equity and M&A at McKinsey & Co.
  • Roopika Saran
    Roopika Saran brings experience from both corporates and NGOs. A graduate of the University of Maryland, USA, Ms. Saran is the co-founder of the Delhi Chapter of Each One Teach One, an organization that has pioneered educational support and holistic development for underprivileged children in government schools. She has also been the Program Advisor to the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation and advises multiple NGOs on a range of issues to enhance their impact. Previously, she worked as a technology consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the US and with a Boston-based education start-up.

    Roopika Saran

    Co-Founder, Each One Teach One(Delhi chapter)

Global Advisors (Honorary)

  • Carolyn J. (Carol) Benson, is Associate Professor in International and Comparative Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Sciences and Comparative Education from University of California Los Angeles in 1994. She started her career as an elementary school teacher. From 1998 to 2011
    Dr. Benson was based at Stockholm University, first at the Centre for Research on Bilingualism and later at the Centre for University Teaching and Learning, meanwhile expanding her research and consulting in languages and literacies in the Southeast Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Africa regions. Her current work focuses on educational language policy and practice, gender and language, and multilingual curriculum development. She has a large number of publications including the 2013 volume co-edited with Kimmo Kosonen, Language Issues in Comparative Education: Inclusive teaching and learning in non-dominant languages and cultures (Sense Publishers).

    Dr. Carolyn J. (Carol) Benson

    Associate Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak is a noted linguist, educationist and activist who has contributed tremendously to the field of languages in India and abroad.
    Dr. Pattanayak served as the first Director of the Central Institute for Indian Languages (CIIL) apart from serving as Language Advisor to the NCERT and as committee member for many education related initiatives. He also has many book titles such as Multilingualism and Mother Tongue Education (Oxford University Press) to his credit. Dr. Pattanayak has been decorated with numerous awards over his long-spanning career, including the Padmashree conferred upon him by the Government of India in 1987.

    Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak

    Noted linguist, Educationist and Activist
  • Paola Uccelli is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. With a background in linguistics, she studies socio-cultural and individual differences in language and literacy development throughout the school years. Her research focuses on how different language skills (at the lexical, grammatical, and discourse levels) interact with each other to either promote or hinder advances in language expression and comprehension in monolingual and bilingual students. Uccelli's current projects focus on describing individual trajectories of school-relevant language development; on the design and validation of a research instrument to assess school-relevant language skills in elementary and middle school students; and on understanding how monolingual and multilingual speakers and writers learn to use a variety of discourse structures flexibly and effectively for diverse communicative and learning purposes. Uccelli studied linguistics at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and subsequently earned her doctoral degree in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Being a native of Peru, she is particularly interested in Latin America where she collaborates with local researchers and often participates in research conferences and workshops.

    Dr. Paola Ucceli

    Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Dr. Abul Khair Jalaluddin (A.K. Jalaluddin) is a distinguished educator, educational researcher and thinker, widely known for his contributions to the field of literacy, basic and mass education. He served as the former Joint Director at NCERT, New Delhi and held senior faculty and technical advisory positions at Directorate of Adult Education, as well as several other institutions including the Maulana Azad Centre for Social and Elementary Education, Delhi University. He also assisted the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in framing the National Education Policy formation (NPE 1986) and led the NCERT team in revising the National Curricular Framework for Elementary and Secondary Education and examination reforms. He is a former UNDP/UNESCO international adviser to the government of Bangladesh and provided technical assistance to BRAC's innovative Chandina Learning Improvement Project (CLIP). His “accelerated literacy” model has become a household name in United Nations educational projects. In 1999 he formed his own charitable public Trust, NEEV (Network of Enterprising Educational Ventures) which is actively engaged in promoting educational change through innovation, research and training.

    Dr. Abul Khair Jalaluddin

    Distinguished educator, educational researcher and thinker
  • Dr. Susan E. Malone is a Senior Literacy and Education Consultant at SIL International. She has worked extensively in the field of language and provided technical support in formulation of educational policies in many countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Timor Leste, Laos, Liberia etc. Dr. Malone also has many publications on multilingual and mother tongue-based education to her credit.

    Dr. Susan E. Malone

    Senior Literacy and Education Consultant, SIL
  • Sakil Malik grew up in Bangladesh in the 1970s and 80s, where he witnessed firsthand the marginalization, inequity, and inequality in that country’s education system. In high school, he volunteered for national newspapers and community-based libraries to raise awareness of the education issues in Bangladesh and look for solutions to the education challenges confronting the most vulnerable Bangladeshis, particularly street children. Today, Sakil is DAI’s Senior Global Practice Leader for Education. He has 25 years of experience working in international development and project management, focused on education and education in conflict-affected areas. Most recently, he served as World Learning’s Vice President for Global Development. Sakil served as Director for the Reading within Reach Project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, and he led the Global Reading Network Community of Practice, which worked to improve the literacy of primary school children around the world. He has also served as a Project Director for Creative Associates, managing literacy and education programs in Cambodia, India, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Timor-Leste, in addition to Arabic literacy programs throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Sakil’s career also includes serving as Director of Global Operations for the International Literacy Association, Program Coordinator for the Child Welfare League of America, and Technical Officer for CARE’s office in Bangladesh. Sakil was the Academic Coordinator for the Global Partnership Program at BRAC Bangladesh and a Faculty Member of BRAC Training Division, where he started his career. He received a UNESCO Scholarship to study Peace and Conflict studies at the European Peace University in Austria. (1)M.A., Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Maryland, USA (2) M.A., economics, Aligarh University, India (3) B.A., economics, Aligarh University, India (4)B.Com., commerce, Dhaka University, Bangladesh

    Mr. Sakil Malik

    Senior Global Practice Leader for Education, DAI
  • Dr. Davidson joined FHI360 as a Senior Technical Advisor in Reading in the Global Education Division in 2018.  Before coming to FHI360, she held the position as the Team Lead for the Reading Team in the E3 Office of Education at USAID. Prior to joining USAID, she was a senior consultant in literacy where she provided support for and contributed to the design on projects funded by USAID and the World Bank in early literacy in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, S.E. Asia, and the South Pacific. She designed one of the first USAID/World Bank early grade reading interventions in Liberia in 2008 and returned to lead a scaled reading intervention in Liberia from 2010 to 2012. She served as the Global Director of Reading Instruction for Room to Read and led the classroom reading interventions in nine countries in S. and S.E. Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She has designed, implemented, and consulted in the development of reading interventions and early grade reading assessments in multiple languages, developed coaching models and professional development modules on supporting teachers in teaching children how to read. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has designed impact evaluations for reading interventions.   Prior to her international work, Dr. Davidson worked as a national consultant to the states for Reading First, and designed and directed several intervention studies in early literacy. As a tenured faculty member at Western Washington University, she developed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in general education and special education on reading methods, assessment, and early language and literacy acquisition. She also taught graduate courses and conducted research as a faculty member at the University of Maine and the University of Utah. She earned a master’s degree in school and community psychology from Central Florida University and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in special education.

    Dr. Marcia Davidson

    Senior Technical Advisor, FHI 360
  • Amita Chudgar is a professor of education policy at Michigan State University. Prior to joining Michigan State, she trained in economics (Mumbai University), development studies (Cambridge University) and economics of education (Stanford University). Through the analysis of diverse, large-scale, national (India), regional (South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa) and cross-national datasets, she explores the role of policy-relevant variables in ensuring equal educational opportunities for disadvantaged children and youth. Chudgar’s research has been supported by various awards including the American Educational Research Association research award, National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation’s Postdoctoral fellowship, The United Nations Children's Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, and most recently the prestigious Lyle Spencer award. She has written extensively in several prominent outlets and some of her publications have won various prestigious awards in the field. She currently serves as a co-editor at Comparative Education Review and serves on the editorial boards of American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, International Journal of Educational Development, Prospects: quarterly review of comparative education. In addition to her scholarship Chudgar also has a prominent leadership presence in the field of international and comparative education. She is the founding chair of South Asia Special Interest Group at the Comparative and International Education Society and has served as elected board member at the Comparative and International Education Society.

    Prof. Amita Chugdar

    Professor, Education Policy, Michigan State University

Our Partners

Strategic and Financial Support

State Partners

  • SCERT, Uttar Pradesh
  • SCERT, Bihar
  • SCERT, Haryana
  • SCERT, Chhattisgarh
  • DIET, Dungarpur, Rajasthan
  • Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission, Chhattisgarh
  • Haryana School Shiksha Pariyojna Parishad, Haryana
  • Pandit Sundarlal Shiksha Open University (PSSOU), Chhattisgarh
  • Rajasthan Council of Secondary Education, Rajasthan
  • Department of School and Mass Education Government of Odisha
  • Bihar Education Project Council-BEPC
  • Government of Uttar Pradesh
  • Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training

Program Partners

  • Vikramshila Education Resource Society
    Vikramshila Education Resource Society
  • Nalandaway Foundation
    Nalandaway Foundation
  • UNICEF India
    UNICEF India
  • Mission Prerna
    Mission Prerna

Technical Partners

Research Partners

Online Donation Partner

  • Online Donation Partner