Digital Blue: A New Paradigm to Solve the Illiteracy Problem in India by the Year 2020

28 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2014

Date Written: July 16, 2014


Researchers have cited the lack of availability of results on effective strategies to improve school quality in developing countries. Strategies for improving school quality in developing countries must be adaptable, efficient and scalable. In this analysis, we assess the effectiveness of the project Padippum Inikkum for enhancing reading levels of school children in Tamil Nadu, India. The Padippum Inikkum project in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, trains teachers in an innovative teaching methodology based on collective learning and group psychology, and provides inputs to schools and augments their resources. In the Padippum Inikkum project, the focus of the problem was maintained on improving reading levels as opposed to learning as a whole. The results indicate that there was a statistically significant improvement in the reading levels of elementary school children under the project (P-value <=0.01). The reading levels of children in these schools in Tamil Nadu increased significantly, and the effect was large. Reading levels went from 30% to 62% and 39% to 72% for more than 4000 elementary school students in each of two districts within 2 months. The children used what we have called “leveraged learning”, wherein the children’s ability in the grammar of their native language and the task of reading that language came together in a mutually reinforcing and continuous manner. This paper points to the potential for enhancement of educational outcomes in developing countries through enhanced school quality. Furthermore, the paper proposes a new model that could potentially end the problem of illiteracy in India in a matter of years. It is possible that, if the proposal accompanying the paper is adopted, illiteracy in India could be eliminated by 2020.

Suggested Citation

Manikutty, Anand, Digital Blue: A New Paradigm to Solve the Illiteracy Problem in India by the Year 2020 (July 16, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Anand Manikutty (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States

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