State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India
Part of: Mains GS-II: Education
In News: The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) released the report on the State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India. The report prepared by the Institute for Competitiveness highlights the importance of early education years in the overall development of a child. It further highlights the role of well-planned early interventions like the National Education Policy (2020) and the NIPUN Bharat guidelines, leading to long-term improved learning outcomes.
- Access to quality early childhood education is a fundamental right for all children. The earliest years of a child’s life needs to be understood in the backdrop of the socio-economic, psychological, and technological hindrances they face, which further affects the potential of a child in numerous ways.
- Building the Foundation: A child needs to develop solid Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills. FLN refers to basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Falling behind in the Foundational Learning years which encompass of preschool and elementary education makes children more vulnerable as it negatively impacts their learning outcomes. In addition to the existing issues pertaining to foundational learning years, the ongoing pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology in overall child’s education. Therefore, focus on the foundational learning is the need of the hour to ensure universal access to quality levels of education for all children in pre-primary and primary classes in India.
The Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is the first step in this direction, establishing an understanding of the overall state of Foundational Learning across children aged below ten years in Indian States and Union territories. The Index includes five pillars comprising of 41 indicators.
- Educational Infrastructure
- Access to Education
- Basic Health
- Leaning Outcomes
India is committed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Zero Hunger, Good health and Well-being and Access to Education are the significant goals that have been mapped with the Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
- Some states may serve as role models for others in certain aspects, but they too need to learn from other states while addressing their challenges. This holds true not only for high performers but also for low performing states.
- States have performed particularly worse in the Governance pillar because over half of the states have a score that is below the national average, i.e., 28.05, the lowest across all pillars. These pillar-wise analyses help states assess the state of the budgetary measures and steps needed to improve the state of education and identify existing gaps that obstruct their growth.
- The issue of Access to Education is one that demands prompt action on the part of the States. The performance of Large States such as Rajasthan (25.67), Gujarat (22.28), and Bihar (18.23) is noticeably below average. Whereas the North-eastern states have the highest scores as a result of their superior performance.
News Source: PIB