Madhav Chavan

Co-Founder, Pratham

Skoll Awardee


Madhav Chavan led Pratham for 20 years after co-founding it in 1995. In mid-2015 he stepped down as CEO to focus on vocational training for youth and innovation in digital learning for children. Madhav earned a Ph. D. in Chemistry in 1983 and was a post-doctoral fellow and visiting faculty at the University of Houston for 3 years before returning to India to work as a Reader in Chemistry at the Mumbai University, Department of Chemical Technology. While there he got involved in adult literacy work in the slums of Mumbai and later in pre-primary and primary education.

Madhav won the Skoll Award in 2011 and received the WISE Prize for education, considered to be the Nobel of Education, in 2012. Under his leadership Pratham has been recognized by the Kravis leadership prize and the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Prize in development cooperation.

Throughout his career in the development sector since 1989, he has believed in working on large scale to impact the massive population of India. He is passionate about science but has focused till now on basic literacy and numeracy as essential for foundations of education. After stepping down as CEO he has started experimenting with communicating fundamental concepts of science to underprivileged school children. He fancies himself as a creative person and is particularly interested in amateur photography.