About Us

Overview

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
    practices

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

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

    • 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. Based on this strong foundation, all children will learn and grow to their full potential.

By 2020, our goal is to influence classroom practice of more than 75,000 teachers and teacher educators in collaboration with state governments. This will impact learning of more than 7,00,000 children in government schools’

Board of Trustees

  • Dr. Dhir Jhingran is the Founder Director of Language and Learning Foundation. He has worked in the primary education sector for over two decades, within and outside the government. As an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, he served as Principal Secretary, Education with the Government of Assam and as Director in the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Mission Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan as well as the District Primary Education Programme. In addition, he has handled several other profiles, such as Senior Advisor to UNICEF India, Asia Regional Director and Chief Program Officer with Room to Read and Country Director, TESS India. He has made significant contributions to the development and implementation of early grade reading programs in several countries in Asia and Africa and several states in India. Dr. Jhingran has authored two books based on empirical researches in primary education that he conducted and has contributed to many books and journals.

    Dr Dhir Jhingran

    Managing Trustee
  • 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

    Trustee
  • 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

    Trustee
  • 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,

    Trustee

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
  • Mr. Ashish Dhawan is Founder and Chairman of Central Square Foundation (CSF) and a Founding Member of Ashoka University. Prior to this, he worked for twenty years in the investment management business and ran one of India's leading private equity funds, ChrysCapital. In June 2012, he left his full time role at ChrysCapital to start CSF to pursue evidence driven and innovation led system reform in school education. CSF is a non-profit philanthropic foundation with the vision to ensure quality school education for all children in India. Together with our partners, grantees, government stakeholders and the larger ecosystem, CSF strives to enable system reforms with a focus on improving learning outcomes among children, especially from low-income communities so that they get equal access to opportunities needed for leading a better life. Ashoka University is a not for profit university that aims to offer an Ivy League-quality undergraduate programme in India, based on the US liberal education system. Ashish is also the founder of two new organisations to address the talent gap in the social sector: ISDM - a development management institute and ILSS - a program to transition experienced corporate talent into the development sector. More recently, Ashish has also created the Foundation for Economic Development (FED) to focus on policy reform in the agriculture sector. He also serves on the board of several non-profits including 3.2.1 Education Foundation, Teach For India, Centre for Civil Society, Bharti Foundation and India School Leadership Institute, Network for Quality Education, Khan Academy India, and Social Finance India. He is an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School and a dual bachelor's (BS/BA) holder with Magna Cum Laude honours from Yale University. He is on the Chair of India Advisory Board of Harvard Business School and a member of Yale's Development Council.

    Mr. Ashish Dhawan

    Founder and Chairman of Central Square Foundation (CSF)
  • Dr. Dhir Jhingran, Dr. Dhir Jhingran is the Founder Director of Language and Learning Foundation. He has worked in the primary education sector for over two decades, within and outside the government. As an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, he served as Principal Secretary, Education with the Government of Assam and as Director in the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Mission Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan as well as the District Primary Education Programme. In addition, he has handled several other profiles, such as Senior Advisor to UNICEF India, Asia Regional Director and Chief Program Officer with Room to Read and Country Director, TESS India. He has made significant contributions to the development and implementation of early grade reading programs in several countries in Asia and Africa and several states in India. Dr. Jhingran has authored two books based on empirical researches in primary education that he conducted and has contributed to many books and journals.

    Dr. Dhir Jhingran

    Founder and Managing Trustee of Language and Learning Foundation,
  • 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. Subhra 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. Subhra Chatterjee

    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

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

Our Team

Our Partners

Strategic and Financial Support

Implementation 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
  • BEPC, Bihar

Technical Partners

Research Partners

Other Donors