State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India- Relevance for UPSC Exam
- GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education and Human Resources.
State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India- Context
- Recently, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) released the report on the State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India.
State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India- Key Findings
- About Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN): FLN refers to basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills.
- Falling behind in the Foundational Learning years which encompass of pre-school and elementary education makes children more vulnerable as it negatively impacts their learning outcomes.
- Mandate: State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India Report highlights the importance of early education years in the overall development of a child.
- Report on State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India 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.
- Preparing Authority: State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India report was prepared by the Institute for Competitiveness.
- Key Findings: For comparing alike, the report has provided a ranking of States and UTs in four Categories- the Small States, Large States, Union Territories and the North-Eastern States.
- Performance among the Large States: West Bengal bagged top position with a score of 58.95, while Bihar finished at the bottom with a score of 37.
- Performance among the Small States: Kerala finished on top with 68, while Jharkhand languished at the bottom with a score of 45.
- Performance among UTs: Lakshadweep (52.69) was the top-scoring UT while Ladakh ranked at the bottom in the list of UTs.
- Performance among the North-Eastern States: Mizoram (51.64) was the top performer while Arunachal Pradesh came last in the North East State Category.
State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India- Key Significance
- Access to quality early childhood education is a fundamental right for all children: The earliest years of a child’s life need to be understood in the backdrop of the socio-economic, psychological, and technological hindrances they face.
- Lack of access to quality early childhood education further affects the potential of a child in numerous ways.
- Positive Externalities: Education leads to positive externalities and the quality of education imparted is important especially during the formative years.
- The present attainments in literacy and numeracy and the variations among states should be the focus for remedial action.
Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy- Key Points
- About: 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.
- Key Parameters: The Index includes five pillars comprising of41 indicators. The five pillars are-
- Educational Infrastructure,
- Access to Education,
- Basic Health,
- Learning Outcomes and
State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India-Key Suggestions
- Learning From Each other: 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.
- Ex- Kerala has the best performance in the small state but can learn from states such as Andhra Pradesh (38.50), which outperforms Kerala (36.55) with respect to access to education.
- Poor Performance in ‘governance’ Pillar: States have performed particularly worse in the Governance pillar.
- 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.
- Focus on ‘Access to Education’: 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.
State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India- Conclusion
- Focus on 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.