Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

As an “urgent national goal,” the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 prioritizes the acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) for all students. In 2021, the Ministry of Education‘s National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN-Bharat) initiative established standards for the same.

FLN is roughly defined as a child’s ability to comprehend simple texts and answer simple math problems (such as addition and subtraction). One of the NEP 2020’s primary focuses is Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.

The NIPUN-Bharat program began in 2021 with the goal of achieving universal literacy and numeracy for Class 3 students by 2026-27. It called for a five-tier implementation structure to be established at the National-State-District-Block-School level in all States and UTs, under the auspices of the Centrally Sponsored Samagra Shiksha Scheme.

Issues Associated with FLN

Encourages Rote-Learning – For a long time, rote-learning has been viewed as the primary problem in the Indian education system – de-contextualized repeating of knowledge, reciting without questioning, and a general lack of critical thinking are barriers to holistic forms of learning.

Way Forward

Parallel Model – The current education system, policymakers, and citizens must overcome the misguided sequential idea of “basics first, critical thinking later” and develop a new approach in which fundamental learning and critical thinking run concurrently.

Children should not be forced to spend years learning FLN just to pass a test; instead, they should be equipped to accomplish modern educational goals such as critical thinking, curiosity, and empowerment.

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