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Where no child is left behind

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

 

Source: The Hindu

 Context: As the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 emphasises the need for a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) to achieve universal FLN in all primary schools, it is necessary to explore how we can accomplish this ambitious goal.

 

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN): FLN is the ability of children by the time they enter Class III to read with meaning and perform basic math calculations, which serves as the foundation for all future learning.

 

Global-national-local efforts towards FLN over the years:

GlobalNational Local
Jomtien Conference (1990): World Declaration on Education for All●        Unni Krishnan v. State Of Andhra Pradesh (1993), the SC ruled that the right to education for children up to age 14 is central and fundamental.

●        The District Primary Education Programme (1994), to universalise and transform the quality of primary education.

●        Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (2001), aimed at the universalisation of elementary education.

●        The Shiksha Karmi Project, 1987: To tackle teacher absenteeism in remote villages in Rajasthan.

●        The Bihar Education Project (the 1990s): To give a fillip to the universalisation of primary education.

●        The Lok Jumbish or Peoples Movement for Education for All (1992) in Rajasthan.

  

Concerns:

  • Poor education indicators:
    • The fact that India ranks 132 out of 191 countries in the 2021 Human Development Index, which measures a country’s health, average income and education, is concerning.
    • According to an NCERT survey, 11% of Indian children in Class III do not have fundamental maths skills when compared to the worldwide benchmark competency level.
  • Poor governance
  • Absence of a systematic way of recruiting good teachers and establishing teacher development institutions.

 

Government’s recent initiatives:

  • The National Education Policy 2020: It proposes a 3-language formula, 2 of which are indigenous to India and states that the medium of instruction should be in the mother tongue until at least Class V.
  • The NIPUN Bharat: The Union Ministry of Education launched the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) in 2021 to enable all children at the end of Class III to achieve foundational skills by the year 2026-2027.

 

Way ahead:

  • Direct funds to schools, fewer non-teaching tasks and a vibrant community and panchayat connection and parental involvement for accountability.
  • The recruitment of teachers, educators and administrators has to become a priority if a difference needs to be created.
  • For this, the Central, State and local governments need to transform governance to ensure that everyone delivers their best.

 

Best practices:

  • Sampark Foundation: A civil society initiative, the Foundation uses technology (audio battery-operated sound boxes and innovative teaching learning materials) and has also launched a TV for teacher development.
  • Pratham’s Read India campaign and the Azim Premji Foundation are working to improve government schools by providing district/block-level support to schools and teachers.

Conclusion: The time between preschool and Class 3 can be transformative for individuals, and FLN is required to prepare a generation of learners who will secure high rates of economic success and human well-being for India.

 

Insta Links:

Primary Education in India

 

Mains Links:

Q. To achieve the objective of foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools, we need to especially focus on community connections and parental involvement. Analyse.