Foundational literacy

National initiative for proficiency in reading with understanding and numeracy
Representational Image
Representational Image File/ GK

National Education Policy 2020 is built on the foundational pillars of Equity, Quality, Accessibility, Accountability, and Affordability. This policy is brought into line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda aiming to transform India into a global knowledge superpower and a lively knowledge based society.

Sustainable development goals pertaining to education aims at making both school and college education all-inclusive, more flexible, multidisciplinary suiting to contemporary needs. It is the highest priority of the education system to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school by 2025 as per NEP 2020.

But, the fact is that the rest of this Policy will only become applicable and related for our students if the three Rs i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic are first achieved.

The Ministry of Education on priority, in order to achieve this end, set up a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy called National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy.

Foundational literacy comprises the pre-existing knowledge of language which helps in the development of literacy skills in languages. The four macro skills of language learning are Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing which are very important for foundational literacy.

All these four skills are equally important when we try to develop language among students, especially at primary level. When these four capabilities flawlessly amalgamate together, we can expect good communication skills among students. The key components in Foundational Language and Literacy are Decoding, Oral language, Reading comprehension, Reading Fluency, and Writing.

Decoding encompasses interpreting written words based on thoughtfulness towards the relationship between symbols and their sounds. The development of oral language takes account of the better listening command, comprehensive conversation skills, and oral vocabulary. The oral language practices are vital for developing reading and writing skills.

Reading Comprehension is concerned with creating meaning from a text and development of critical thinking about it. On the other hand, Reading Fluency is basically the ability that makes it possible for students to read a text with accuracy, speed, expression, and comprehension allowing them to make meaning from the text.

Writing part concerns the capabilities of writing words alongside writing for expression. As far as Foundational Numeracy is concerned, it means the ability to apply simple numerical ideas in one’s ordinary business of life or daily life problem solving and the ability to reason.

It is a hard core fact that most of the government schools in Kashmir lack a comprehensive classroom environment that will incorporate play, discovery, and activity-based education, linking it to the daily life circumstances of the children.

In order to confirm an inclusive classroom environment that will include activity-based pedagogies, connecting it to the daily life situations of the children coupled with formal presence of children’s home languages, National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy was set up. It empowers children to become independent, inspired, and promised readers and writers with comprehension holding sustainable reading and writing skills.

To see our children active in all spheres, NIPUN aims to make children understand the reasoning in the domains of fundamentals of mathematics viz. number, measurement and shapes. Actually, NIPUN tries to develop a good interface among the three R’s because it will enable them to become independent in problem solving by way of numeracy and spatial understanding skills.

We saw some videos going viral with regard to trainings imparted to school teachers under NIPUN having the main aim to bring a play way method in education. We don’t find novelty in play way methods especially in private schools but government schools lack play way and activity based pedagogies. We have highly qualified teachers in government schools but they should learn the play-way method, activity based teaching, and game-based learning skills.

They should try to develop play way models and evolve their own play way method of learning for children. Viral videos of our government school teachers were trolled like anything on social media because they were not presented in the format in which they are actually available online.

They lacked effective presentation among the children. Different videos were uploaded such as Kisne Kaata Kisne Kaata Ji, Hum ne Kaata Hum ne Kaata Ji; Shake Banana Shake Banana No more Banana etc. But, these videos are already available on Youtube and far better than those uploaded by government teachers in Kashmir.

Experts in government schools should try to upload quality videos on play way teaching so that both students and teachers get benefited. Policy makers should focus on non-stop capacity building of teachers, head teachers, education administrators, and academic resource persons.

In order to remain actively engaged with all stakeholders i.e., Parents, Teachers, Students and Community, policy makers should develop a strong foundation of National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN).

It is very important for all stakeholders to understand the fundamentals of NIPUN so that the teaching learning process in government schools becomes enjoyable and effective at the same time.

Dr. Binish Qadri,, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Cluster University, Srinagar.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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