Madhav Chavan, Ph D, is a co-founder of Pratham Education Foundation. He stepped down as CEO of Pratham in 2015, but continues to be a full time member of the board, while also looking after the vocational training and digital learning innovations wings of the organization.
Madhav acquired a Ph D in Chemistry at the Ohio State University in 1983 after his Masters in Mumbai. He spent three years at the University of Houston as a post-doctoral fellow and a visiting assistant professor. Upon returning to India in 1986 he joined the Department of Chemical Technology at the University of Mumbai. However, his involvement in the National Literacy Movement started in 1989. In 1991, he was relieved of his teaching duties by the Government of India for three years, which effectively ended his association with Chemistry.
In the period between 1989 and 1993, Madhav worked in the field of adult literacy and public sanitation through the Committee of Resource Organizations (CORO) for Literacy that he founded. As a part of this he also worked with the All India Radio and Doordarshan to create, script and present numerous radio or TV programs which ran for almost 18 months. He has to his credit several songs on the theme of women’s liberation and civil liberties written during the period between 1975 and 77 in Mumbai. Later a song he wrote (Tara’s Song) was made the state-theme song for girls’ education by the Government of Maharashtra.
UNICEF made Madhav and his colleague Farida Lambay responsible for setting up and running Pratham Mumbai Education Initiative, which rose out of Bombay Education Initiative of UNICEF. Thanks to many champions, colleagues and supporters in India and around the world. this organization, originally mandated to work within Mumbai, has now grown to be one of the largest all Indian NGOs.
Madhav Chavan was awarded the WISE Prize, known as the Nobel for work done in education in 2012. He has also received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and recognized as an Asia Game Changer by Asia Society. Most recently, he received the Teachers College, Columbia University's Medal for Distinguished Service.