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Activity, art, stories: New Modi govt scheme targets basic literacy, numeracy by Class 3

Modi govt's NIPUN Bharat scheme is in line with the new National Education Policy, and a budget of Rs 2,688.18 crore has been allotted to it for financial year 2021-22.

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New Delhi: Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank launched a scheme Monday to strengthen foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) skills of children in the 3-9 age group.

According to the definition provided by the Ministry of Education, FLN refers to a child’s ability to read with meaning and solve basic mathematics problems by Class 3. The scheme, National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat), is in line with the new National Education Policy that accords a great deal of importance to FLN skills.

The ministry said these are crucial basic skills that help children succeed in life.

The aim of the scheme is to ensure that every child attains basic literacy and numeracy skills by 2026-27. It involves imparting lessons through activities outside the classroom as well, apart from lessons mentioned in the syllabus.


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In line with new education policy

“Our new education policy 2020 is not just aimed at providing school education to students but it also focusses on their overall development. NIPUN Bharat is one strong step in that direction,” the minister said while launching the scheme at a virtual event.

He added that a budget of Rs 2,688.18 crore has been allotted to the scheme for the financial year 2021-22.

Speaking at the online event, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education, Manish Garg said: “Students will be made to acquire foundational skills necessary for academic success. The foundational literacy includes oral language development, decoding, oral reading fluency, reading with understanding and writing skills. Foundational numeracy is the ability to solve day-to-day problems using numerical methods and analysis.”

He added: “NEP 2020 says that our aim should be to impart knowledge of foundational literacy and numeracy in primary schools, which is to be judged by learning outcomes. Our aim is to implement it for every child in primary school by 2026-27.”

Activity-based, story-based and art-based lessons will be a part of teaching in primary schools under the NIPUN scheme. The National Council for Educational Research and Training has developed study material for the various modes of teaching which will soon be made available to schools.

The ministry also said a separate module for training teachers according to the NIPUN scheme will be launched in August.


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Correcting a wrong

The guidelines and framework for NIPUN Bharat have been formed after consultations with the states and experts from the CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, according to the ministry.

The scheme is significant as surveys conducted on primary school children in India each year show they are not able to read and write basic alphabets and numbers or perform basic addition and subtraction.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey conducted by the NGO, PRATHAM, showed that only 28.1 per cent of children of Class 3 were able to do basic subtraction in 2018, a fall from 38.8 per cent in 2008.

Similarly, the ASER survey from 2019 showed that only 16 per cent of the children in 26 rural districts could read the text at the prescribed level and 40 per cent of them could not even recognise letters.


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