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Foundational Literacy and Numeracy: NIPUN Bharat

Introduction


FLN refers to the ability among children to read with meaning and solve basic math problems by the end of Class 3. These are essential gateway skills that, as the terminology suggests, serve as the basis upon which children build their lives. The successful acquisition of FLN enables children to learn more meaningfully as they advance to higher grades and equips them with essential 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, which is imperative in longer run.


Why are levels of foundational learning low?


  • Our administrative/management systems prioritise inputs and processes over actual learning outcomes.


  • Poverty is another factor; it has a direct impact on the cognitive development of children, which in turn affects their learning abilities.


  • India has for a long time prioritised quantity, which has increased its enrollment rate; it must now prioritise quality education.


  • Parents don’t engage with children, there is this mindset that duty is done once the child is sent to school. It’s imperative on the part of parents to actively engage and provide reinforcement.


NIPUN Bharat


NIPUN Bharat aims to cover the learning needs of children in the age group of 3 to 9 years.  The teachers need to focus on every child for developing basic language; literacy and numeracy skills which will help them develop into better readers and writers.


Thus, NIPUN Bharat envisages making the experience of learning at the foundational stage Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive, Enjoyable, and Engaging.


The unique feature is that the goals of the Mission are set in the form of Lakshya Soochi or Targets for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.Although, the overall aim is to achieve the desired learning outcomes by the end of grade 3, however, in order to generate greater awareness among the parents, community, volunteers etc. the Lakshyashas been developed from Balvatika to Grade 3. The Laskhyas are based on the learning outcomes developed by the NCERT and international research and ORF studies. For example, a child should be able to read 45to 60 words per minute and atleast 60 words per minute correctly by the end of Grade II and III respectively from an age appropriate unknown text with comprehension and clarity.


The success of NIPUN Bharat will primarily depend on teachers, so, there will be a special emphasis on capacity building of teachers.  A special package for foundational literacy and Numeracy under NISHTHA is being developed by NCERT and around 25 lakh teachers teaching at pre-primary to primary grade will be trained this year on FLN. 


Following outcomes have been envisaged from implementation of the goals and objectives of NIPUN Bharat Mission:


  • Foundational skills enable to keep children in class thereby reducing the dropouts and improve transition rate from primary to upper primary and secondary stages.


  • Activity based learning and conducive learning environment will improve quality of education.


  • Innovative pedagogies such as toy-based and experiential learning will be used in classroom transaction thereby making learning a joyful and engaging activity.


  • Intensive capacity building of teachers will make them empowered and provide greater autonomy for choosing the pedagogy.


  • Holistic development of the child by focusing on different domains of development like physical and motor development, socio-emotional development, literacy and numeracy development, cognitive development, life skills etc. which are interrelated and interdependent, which will be reflected in a Holistic Progress Card.


  • Children to achieve steeper learning trajectory which may have positive impacts on later life outcomes and employment.


  • Since almost every child attends early grades, therefore, focus at that stage will also benefit the socio-economic disadvantageous group thus ensuring access to equitable and inclusive quality education.

Thus, NIPUN Bharat is envisaged to support and encourage students, along with their schools, teachers, parents, and communities, in every way possible, to helprealise the true potential of our children and propel the country to new heights.





Significance of Foundational Learning


Class 3 is considered the inflection point by which children are expected to ‘learn to read’ so that they can ‘read to learn’ after that. Those who fail to attain these basic literacy and numeracy skills find it difficult to catch up in later years and risk dropping out of school.


By 2025, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 places the utmost importance on ensuring that all children possess fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. The policy states that the rest of the policy will be relevant for students only if they attain basic literacy and numeracy skills at the right age.

According to the 2018 ASER, 72.8% of children cannot read a simple second-grade text, and 71.9% cannot solve a simple third-grade subtraction problem. NIPUN Bharat, the national mission on FLN, is expected to reduce learning poverty in India.


The primary school students of today will enter the workforce in India in 2030, and the successful implementation of NIPUN Bharat has the potential to transform India into an economic superpower. The future of our children and India's goal of maximising its demographic dividend depend on whether or not third-graders can read with comprehension.

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