The new school structure by NEP2020 includes the newly added Foundational Stage for the first five years of the school life i.e. ages three to five years. This provision aims to curb the detrimental trend of the downward extension of primary curriculum to pre-primary classes that was resulting in over-load of teaching-learning content causing extreme stress and overwork to the early learners who were expected to master reading, writing, and numbers operations at pre-primary stage.
Education experts and leading voices in the domain have written about the importance of helping children acquire Foundational Literacy and Numeracy skills by Class 3. Read what they have to say.
PM Narendra Modi said that a grade 3 child should attain oral reading fluency of 30-35 words per minute to understand the texts s/he is reading. ORF is a very critical skills in early days of literacy acquisition and is calculated as number of correct words read by a child in one minute.
The New Education Policy (NEP) – 2020 also assumes that the ability to read and write and perform basic operations with numbers, is a necessary foundation and an indispensable prerequisite for all future schooling and lifelong learning.
In its aspiration and in the policy framework it articulates, NEP is genuinely transformational. The document recognises the twin tragedies of a large proportion of children in elementary schools failing to attain foundational literacy and numeracy coexisting with an assessment system that tests “rote memorisation skills” and “requires months of coaching” to master.
There are many meaningful ways to engage with children so that they ‘Learn to Read’ proficiently like making high-quality and age appropriate reading resources adequately available for children between the ages of 5 to 8 years, and mobilising the community, especially parents, to be more involved in children’s learning journeys.
There are five major aspects of the NEP 2020 that can potentially transform school education: Focus on foundational learning, universal access to pre-primary education, key-stage assessments to measure learning outcomes, integration of technology in education, and an enabling environment for the private school sector.
While India has achieved considerable success in increasing primary school enrolment and improving input-based measures of school quality over the past 10 years, learning outcomes continue to be abysmally low. This column synthesises over a decade of research on the challenge of converting increased spending into improved education outcomes and highlights key policy implications.
Anita Karwal, the Secretary of School Education and Literacy at the Ministry of Education writes about the dogma NEP 2020 seeks to break: Testing only what is written in the textbooks. A lot of research shows that an enabling environment is one in which a child is constantly learning — to collaborate, think critically, solve problems, be creative and articulate. The end of the year examination results do not reflect the full potential or uniqueness of a child.
Education Minister Ramesh Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ explaines why achieving foundational literacy and numeracy by all students by Grade 3 is the fundamental principle of the National Education Policy 2020.