A National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat), for ensuring that every child in the age group of 3 to 9 years in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy by the end of Grade 3, by 2026-27 has been launched in the country.
The National Mission under the aegis of the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha of MoE was launched on July 5 by Union Minister for Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in the presence of Minister of State, Sanjay Dhotre, Anita Karwal, Secretary (SE&L), senior officers from the Ministry, all States and UTs, Senior Policy Makers and Heads of Institutions, envisages making the experience of learning at the foundational stage Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive, Enjoyable, and Engaging. This Mission will focus on providing access and retaining children in foundational years of schooling; teacher capacity building; development of high quality and diversified Student and Teacher Resources/Learning Materials; and tracking the progress of each child in achieving learning outcomes.
Addressing the participants Pokhriyal said that 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. The minister said that it covers key technical aspects of foundational literacy and numeracy as well as the administrative aspects for effectively setting up an implementation mechanism at the National, State, District, Block and School level. He also informed that an approval of Rs 2688.18 crore has already been given under Samagra Shiksha scheme to the States and UTs for implementation of the various interventions for Foundational Stage in 2021-22
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 (targets) 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 at least 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.
The National Education Policy 2020 has laid down that attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children must become an immediate national mission. In keeping with this, the Department has developed a comprehensive guideline under NIPUN Bharat, through a series of intensive consultations with implementing partners, experts to make it flexible and collaborative according to MoS Dhotre.
The outcomes have been envisaged from implementation of the goals and objectives of NIPUN Bharat Mission are:
- 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.