In order to address the country's low literacy rate, TCS devised the Adult Literacy Program (ALP) in 2000, to augment the Government of India's efforts to improve adult literacy. The program runs a Computer-Based Functional Literacy software (CBFL), which uses a combination of methods to teach a non-literate person to read in a short amount of time and makes use of commonly used words in the learner's mother tongue.
The ALP aims to help learners reach functional literacy in 50 to 55 hours. To implement the program, TCS enters into an agreement with local NGOs and provides financial support to assist in conducting these courses. The NGOs, referred to as funded partners, then execute projects according to the terms of the agreement and its related budget. TCS provides CBFL software to funded partners free of charge - as long as intellectual property rights are maintained - and partners share information about the number of learners reached. TCS also works closely with government agencies, prison authorities and academic institutions to implement the program in local languages. The courses are provided free of charge to learners.
The Adult Literacy Program is intended to promote and strengthen adult education, particularly that of women, and to extend educational options to those adults who have lost the opportunity to access formal education and/or are above school age (ie, 15 years and over). Specifically, this means that the focus of the program has been on non-literate adults in the 15-35 age group, and women. The program is currently being implemented across 18 states in India as well as in Burkina Faso in West Africa.
The ALP comprises a multimedia software package and e-Learning system that helps adults who do not have literacy skills and who speak a native language to learn basic reading, writing and arithmetic. The content is presented via a multimedia puppet show and focuses on individual words rather than the alphabet, with the aim of teaching learners to read and write 700 commonly used words in their native language. The software is currently available in nine Indian languages (Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu) as well as in three foreign languages - Arabic, Northern Sotho (South Africa) and Moore (Burkina Faso).