Pahal Library Programme

The programme in operation

The Pahal Pustakalayas  serve as a forum to bring different stakeholders together in helping improve learning processes and levels, and form the basis of a long-term school transformation programme. In the 30 government schools where our libraries function, children from underprivileged backgrounds not only read, discuss and do activities around books but also manage the libraries. In the evenings, the community runs the libraries and involves the youth. Panchayat heads have volunteered help, and teachers and HMs have asked to be trained to teach better. We have a team working with schools to improve classroom processes and there is extensive data to show that the libraries are leading to improved learning.

Outcomes aimed at

The Pahal Pustakalaya progamme aims to achieve the following outcomes.

Short-term outcomes (one-year period)

In the targeted schools:

  1. The average number of pages accessed per child will be higher when compared to control schools
  2. Basic reading skills (word and alphabet recognition, ability to read short, simple sentences, connecting graphics with words) will be significantly / measurably higher.

Long-term outcomes (three-year period)

In the targeted schools:

  1. The reading (and overall learning) levels attained by children will be much closer to their age-appropriate levels.
  2. Higher order skills (reasoning, problem-solving, creativity) will be much more strongly present among children.
  3. Classroom practices will more closely approximate desired ones in more schools, with teachers having greater clarity on what to do (as observed in their teaching plans and through interaction with them), and actually implementing it (based on classroom observation against a set of performance indicators).

The components of the ​Pahal Library Programme

  1. At our invitation, schools volunteer to participate in the programme and are offered a careful selection of books.
  2. To enable them to use the library effectively, they are provided with a library manual, performance standards as well as tools to enable learning.
  3. An Ignus Pahal resource team visits the schools twice a week to offer feedback and support, undertake activities with children and ensure community’s participation.
  4. Where stakeholders have asked for it we have also provided ‘training-on-demand’, in which SMCs and Panchayats have begin to get involved.
  5. Finally, activities are closely monitored, data is gathered and research on effectiveness undertaken.
  6. All this prepares the ground for the next stage, which is that of a larger and deeper school transformation.

It is sustainable – and scaleable!

After our initial inputs (three years) the programme is designed to be sustainable on basis of resources and provisions that already exist in the educational system. It is also easily scalable in terms of 25 school libraries at a time, with the provision of books and one resource person to support schools.

In the coming months and years

In the coming months and years, we intend to expand to more schools in UP, Odisha, MP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Kerala and TN. Your support will make all the difference!

How you can help

You can help us with:

  • Books: You can help us with books
  • Funds: You can donate funds
  • Implementation support: You can get involved with the programme implementation in the current sites. At present we are in 4 rural Varanasi blocks and will also be starting in Odisha.

Contact us at

Subir Shukla: subirshukla(at)gmail(dot)com

Surendra Singh: psinghsurendra(at)gmail(dot)com