“The highest priority of the education system will be to achieve universal Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in primary school by 2025”
- National Education Policy, 2020
What is the problem?
The education system in India is one of the largest in the world, with over 260 million children studying in more than 1.5 million schools across the country. Today, close to 97% children in the age group of 6 to 14 years are going to school. Yet, children are not necessarily learning in spite of attending school. Several data sources have shown that each year an estimated 6 million children complete 8 years of compulsory schooling in India with alarmingly low learning levels. And the learning crisis starts early, with more than half of these children unable to read simple text or do basic mathematics at the level expected of them by as early as class 3.
Without these basic skills, the benefits of education in later years are lost. We believe foundational learning, or children’s ability to read with meaning and do basic math calculations by class 3, forms the basis of all future learning. It is thus most critical to achieve foundational learning for all children in order to improve overall student learning outcomes in India and build an effective and inclusive education system.
Over 50 million students in elementary schools have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy
33% of children in grade three cannot read small text with comprehension and 44% students are unable to use basic mathematics to solve daily-life problems
Why Foundational Learning?
Foundational learning forms the basis of all future learning. Those who fail to attain basic literacy and numeracy skills by class 3 find it difficult to catch up with the rigor of the curriculum in later classes and fall behind, creating wide learning gaps.
Promotes Equitable & Inclusive Education
For children from disadvantaged and low-income communities, the home environment is unable to supplement school education. Providing these children with foundational skills in the early years ensures that all students, regardless of their socio-economic background, are given equal opportunity to perform well in schools and improve their quality of life.
Critical to Improve Overall System Performance
Countries have moved from low to middle levels of performance by reducing the proportion of lowest performing children and ensuring that there are very few students who have not mastered these foundational skills. The examples of Vietnam, Brazil, Kenya and Peru show that making foundational learning a priority benefits not just the individual child, but also improves the learning levels of the country as a whole.
Investment in FLN is directly correlated to increased workforce participation and opens up opportunities for social and economic advancement. Research has also linked FLN learning to increased employability. The EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013-14 calculated that if all students left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.
The new National Education Policy (NEP) has impressed upon policy makers and practitioners alike about the urgent need to ensure that all young children are able to read, write and do simple math. It calls for a ‘mission-mode’ response towards strengthening FLN through a National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission.
Launch of the National FLN Mission (NIPUN Bharat) emboldens the opportunity to improve foundational learning outcomes across the country in a time-bound and targeted manner.
The Mission will galvanize the entire country to make concrete progress on FLN in the next 5 years
Launch of a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy
Making foundational learning the highest priority for the country
Calls for achieving universal FLN in Grade 3 by 2025
What we intend to do through this program?
Work with key stakeholders to determine and agree upon goals around student outcomes and intermediary outputs; promoting these identified goals and targets with the teachers, school HMs, officers and parents
Structured pedagogy & High quality teaching learning materials
Structured and effective pedagogy for improved teaching and learning in classrooms; support teachers to use components of structured pedagogy (lesson plans, TLMs, Assessments); ensuring TLM kit/packages reaches every school/child.
Capacity building and support
Direct support to teachers and HMs through classroom observations, assessments and coaching/mentoring; Continuous professional development in a blended mode for teachers and other stakeholders.
Assessments and Monitoring
Regular assessments to check progress and undertake course corrections as required based on evidence/data; program monitoring and evaluation