Facilitating Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) In India: A Complete Guide
The concept of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) forms the bedrock of a child’s learning journey. FLN emphasizes the importance of making sure that children develop fundamental literacy (reading and writing) and numeracy (mathematics) skills in the early years of their education. These fundamental abilities are considered to be highly essential since they ensure the overall cognitive growth of a child and serve as a foundation for the advanced levels of learning in the following years.
Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) is most commonly introduced during the early years of formal education, such as preschool or the first few years of primary school because children are more receptive to learning these foundational skills during their formative years. Mathematician Manjul Bhargava says that once students fall behind in fundamental skills, they rarely catch up, and their learning curves remain flat. Furthermore, as stated by Education Week, students who struggle in their initial years of school very rarely catch up later on.
Therefore, early intervention is critical. Overall, the concept of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) is considered crucial because it sets the stage for a Child’s ability to access further education. These children can then participate effectively in the workforce, and engage in civic life efficiently when they grow up. Without strong foundational skills in literacy and numeracy, children may struggle in various aspects of life.
The Indian Context
The importance of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in the Indian educational context is immense. It is a crucial component of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, laying the foundation for a child’s educational voyage. FLN in India concentrates on ensuring that all children acquire essential literacy and numeracy skills during the early years of their education, regardless of their origin or location. The National Education Policy 2020 states that achieving universal foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) in primary school and beyond by 2025 must be our top priority.
The Indian government’s education ministry has already released the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy – The NIPUN Bharat FLN Mission and a comprehensive implementation guideline for the states to follow to guarantee that every child in the country will have acquired Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) by the end of third grade by 2026–27.
Let us now go deeper into understanding the Nipun Bharat FLN Mission.
NIPUN Bharat FLN Mission: A ray of hope for India’s educational future
The National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat FLN Mission) is a comprehensive education program launched by the Ministry of Education in India in July 2021. The mission aims to ensure that all children in the country acquire essential reading and math skills by the end of the third grade, with a target date of the academic year 2026-2027.
How is the NIPUN Bharat FLN Mission vital?
Foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) are the necessary skills for school and life success for all children. FLN includes the skills of reading and comprehending text, writing effectively, and performing simple arithmetic operations. Children lacking FLN skills are at a substantial disadvantage in school and are more likely to drop out.
According to a 2019 report by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), more than fifty percent of Class 3 students in India were unable to read a simple paragraph in their native language. This sobering statistic highlights the significance of the NIPUN Bharat FLN Mission.
How is the NIPUN Bharat FLN Mission carried out?
The NIPUN Bharat FLN Mission is being carried out using the following approach:
Teacher training and capacity building
The mission invests heavily in educating teachers on effective FLN teaching methods. In addition, teachers are provided with instructional materials and resources of the highest caliber.
Focus on early childhood education (ECE)
The mission emphasizes the importance of ECE in building a strong foundation for FLN. The government has also launched a new program known as the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), which mandates universal access to high-quality ECE for all children aged 3-6.
The mission is to work with communities to raise awareness of the significance of FLN and to rally support for the mission.
Monitoring and evaluation
The mission is closely monitoring and evaluating its progress to ensure it is on track to accomplish its goals.
In the Indian context, Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) takes a further step to ensure proficiency in language together with Literacy and Numeracy. The Nipun Bharat FLN Mission also encourages students to become proficient in their mother tongue in recognition of India’s linguistic diversity.
Research shows that children learn best when they are educated in a language they understand well. Consequently, promoting education in the mother tongue improves comprehension and retention. Together with achieving proficiency in their Mother tongue FLN promotes multilingual competence. It acknowledges the need for students to be fluent in multiple languages to improve their communication skills and adaptability in a linguistically diverse society.
There is a severe learning crisis concerning these most basic skills, as evidenced by the fact that a large proportion of students (over Five crores in number) currently enrolled in elementary school – have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy, as highlighted by the National Education Policy (NEP,2020).
Let us now discuss the Current State Of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India in Further detail.
The Current State Of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India
The current state of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India can be reflected in the numbers that showcase the damage that lack of FLN brings to the students. As stated in the ASER report from 2013 – nearly 78% of children in Class 3 and approximately 50% of children in Class 5 were unable to read Class 2 text at that point for a variety of reasons. Basically, these students have significant learning gaps from their foundational years of learning.
As a fast-moving society, we will surely expect these numbers to come down 10 years down the line. But who knew that Covid-19 would come into existence and make the situation worse? Till 2018-19, things were still getting better. The progress wasn’t huge but there was progress. According to the Annual State Of Education Report – ASER 2022 that compares the analytics from 2018 with 2021, in 2018 around 23% of class 3 students could read class 2 text and around 28% could do basic math. For Class 5 students, roughly 48% could read Class 2 text and roughly 25% could do basic Division. But then, Covid-19 came into the picture and things went largely against the favor. Let us discuss how.
The Effects of Covid-19 on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India
The pandemic has had significant repercussions on efforts to ensure that every child acquires strong foundational skills in literacy and numeracy. To prevent the spread of the virus, schools across India were closed for extended periods, disrupting the regular academic schedule. This disruption to classroom instruction had a significant impact on the FLN development of students.
Despite the emergence of digital learning as an alternative during the pandemic, not all students had access to the required devices and internet connectivity. This digital divide disproportionately hampered the FLN development of students from marginalized communities.
Talking in numbers, as per the Annual State Of Education Report – ASER 2022, in 2021-
- Only around 15% of class 3 students could read class 2 text, which is 8% less than in 2018
- Around 24% of class 3 students could do basic math such as Subtraction, which is 4% less than in 2018.
- For Class 5 students, roughly only 40% could read Class 2 text, which is 8% less than in 2018
- Only 20% of Class 5 students could do basic Division, which is again 5% less than in 2018.
Unquestionably, the COVID-19 pandemic presented formidable obstacles to the promotion of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in India. It disrupted the continuity of learning, widened educational disparities, and exacerbated learning loss, especially in Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN).
All that is leading to some alarming consequences for society. Let’s discuss that one by one in our next section
The Consequences of the Lack of Foundation in Literacy and Numeracy
Inadequate Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India has grave repercussions for individuals and society as a whole. The provided statistics shed light on the severity and multifaceted impact of the issue:
According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), the learning crisis in India is cause for concern. This includes
– Deficits in Reading and Mathematics
According to ASER reports, the stats of which are already shared above in this article, a significant proportion of students in India are not proficient in reading and mathematics at the grade level. The fact that 40% of Class V students could not read a text at the Class II level, for instance, highlights the gravity of the situation.
– Foundational Deficits
Inadequate Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills hinder not only the current learning of students but also their ability to comprehend more complex subjects in the future.
High school dropout rates
FLN-challenged students are more likely to drop out of school. Data from the National Sample Survey (NSS) confirm that a lack of basic skills is one of the primary reasons why students drop out of school too early. This is because due to their learning gaps in the area of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN), they are not able to cope with the curriculum of their current grade. The consequences of dropping out of school extend beyond the classroom, affecting students’ future prospects and well-being as a whole.
– Skills Mismatch
Despite possessing advanced degrees, a significant proportion of graduates lack the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills necessary for employment. Underemployment is a direct effect of the skills gap, which also limits the country’s capacity to capitalize on its young population. As we already quoted Mathematician Manjul Bhargava – Once a student misses out on foundational skills, their learning curves mostly remain flat for their entire lives.
This skills gap leads to underemployment and hinders the nation’s ability to capitalize on its youth demographic dividend.
– Economic Stagnation
Reduced employability restrains wage growth and income potential during economic stagnation. It also hinders the nation’s workforce’s productivity, thereby hindering economic growth.
Insufficient Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) exacerbates educational disparities:
– Disadvantaged students
Students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by FLN deficits. The lack of access to quality education and resources perpetuates the cycle of poverty by aggravating existing disparities.
– Social Mobility
FLN has a significant impact on social mobility. Students lacking foundational skills have limited opportunities for upward mobility, which further entrenches social disparities.
The economic effects of insufficient FLN skills are felt on both the individual and national level:
– Limited Employment Opportunities
Individuals with insufficient Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills struggle to secure stable and well-paying employment opportunities. This affects their quality of life and financial stability.
– National Economic Development
A workforce with insufficient FLN skills hinders economic growth and development at the national level. A less-skilled labor force is less productive and less able to compete in industries that require advanced skills and innovation.
Keeping all this into consideration, India must continue to prioritize FLN, not only to regain lost ground but also to ensure that every child has a solid foundation in literacy and numeracy.
Recognizing the importance of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India, the iPrep Learning Platform for K-12 arises as a comprehensive platform devoted to the development of these foundational skills. Let us now explore how the iPrep Learning Platform uses its rich content, to equip Indian students with strong FLN skills and foster holistic development.
How? Let’s have a look in our next section.
How the iPrep learning Platform facilitates Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN)
In a dynamic educational landscape, the iPrep learning Platform stands as a beacon of joyful comprehension, enabling students on their journey to master Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN). Here is how-
1. A Comprehensive Set of Content
The iPrep Learning Platform provides a variety of e-learning content specifically designed to meet the needs of students from all classes, especially for students from class 1st to 3rd. Its academic content covers all subjects through various categories of e-learning content Its holistic approach to education ensures that students have access to a variety of resources that are suited to different learning styles and abilities.
2. Video Instruction with animated video lessons
Video lessons are an effective method for engaging students and fostering an interactive learning environment. iPrep’s video lessons are intended to provide clear and concise explanations of complex topics and chapters. Visual aids and animations further enhance the understanding of both mathematical and literacy concepts.
3. Picture-Based Practice
Picture-based practice is a valuable feature for younger students who benefit from visual aids. It aids students in comprehending fundamental concepts in a more tangible and relatable manner. The image-based exercises in iPrep make learning enjoyable and interactive.
4. Curriculum-Aligned Syllabus Books
iPrep offers curriculum-aligned syllabus books to ensure that students are learning relevant material for their grade levels. These books adhere to the standards established by educational authorities, making them a useful resource for teachers, parents, and students.
5. Holistic Reading Material
FLN is not restricted to only literacy and numeracy. It involves a broader aspect of education, such as the formation of reading habits and skills. This is why iPrep provides students with holistic development-related reading material including picture books, storybooks, and comics that encourage them to explore the world of literature and improve their reading skills.
6. Project Videos for Mathematics and Science
The pursuit of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) requires theoretical understanding. However, genuine mastery is achieved when students can apply their knowledge in practical, real-world situations. The iPrep Learning Platform recognizes this fundamental learning principle and goes one step further by incorporating Project Videos for Mathematics and Science. These videos bridge the gap between theory and practice, making FLN not only informative but also joyful and practical.
7. Promoting Delightful Learning
Among the most significant benefits of iPrep is its capacity to make studying enjoyable. Students will approach FLN with enthusiasm and curiosity due to the engaging material, interactive lessons, and imaginative projects. When students find learning enjoyable, they are more likely to retain the information they acquire.
That’s not it. iPrep also brings in some game-changing features that make it easier and more efficient to facilitate Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in India. Those include:
Learning Driven by Data with Usage Reporting
The iPrep Learning Platform includes a game-changing function: usage reporting. The Platform monitors user engagement and content exploration in real-time and presents this information analytically in the “My Reports” section. These reports provide insightful information about students’ progress, making learning outcomes data-driven.
These reports can be utilized by teachers and parents to monitor FLN progress and identify areas where students may require additional support. This data-driven strategy enables educators to tailor their teaching strategies to meet the unique requirements of each student, ensuring that no child falls behind in their FLN journey.
Class Change and Language Change Features
iPrep Learning Platform recognizes that learning requirements can differ. To accommodate these varied requirements, it offers a class change function. To address historical knowledge gaps, students can easily transition to junior-level classes, allowing them to strengthen foundational skills before moving on to more advanced material.
Moreover, the language change feature enables students to select their preferred language of instruction. This adaptability promotes inclusive education, ensuring that language barriers do not impede the development of FLN.
But a question remains. How can these young students access the iPrep Learning Platform?
There are various ways in which the iPrep Learning platform can be accessed to facilitate Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN). Let us move to our next section where we’ll discuss various digital learning solutions powered by the iPrep Learning Platform which can facilitate Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN).
Digital Learning Solutions Powered by the iPrep Learning Platform To Facilitate FLN
iPrep Digital Class for Smart Classrooms:
- Interactive Learning: These iPrep digital classes provide interactive content that can engage students in active learning, fostering a better understanding of foundational concepts.
- Data-Driven Teaching: The platform’s reporting capabilities enable teachers to track individual student progress, identifying areas where students may be struggling with literacy and numeracy skills. This data can help create and execute targeted interventions.
- Visual Learning: Utilizing Smart TVs, Interactive Flat Panels, and Digital Whiteboards, teachers can use visual aids and multimedia content in the smart class setup to enhance the understanding of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) concepts.
iPrep Digital Library for Tablets-Based Smart ICT Labs:
- Access to Resources: These iPrep Digital Libraries provide access to a wide range of e-learning content, including resources for improving literacy and numeracy skills.
- Hands-on Learning: Digital Libraries for schools can offer hands-on, interactive learning experiences to reinforce foundational skills.
- Personalized Learning: Students can explore content at their own pace, allowing for personalized learning experiences tailored to their specific Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) needs.
The iPrep Tablets for Preloaded Learning Devices with Monitoring:
- Mobile Learning: The iPrep Tablets provide flexibility for students to learn both at school and at home, ensuring continuous practice and improvement of FLN skills.
- Monitoring Progress: The monitoring feature of these e-learning tablets helps educators keep track of individual student progress, enabling early intervention for students who may require additional support in literacy and numeracy.
iPrep App for a one-stop learning platform:
- Accessibility: The iPrep app‘s availability across Android, iOS, and the web ensures that students can access FLN content on a wide range of devices, making learning more accessible.
- Multilingual Content: The bilingual content of the educational app accommodates diverse language backgrounds, making it easier for students to learn Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills.
- Multi-Grade Access: Allowing access to multiple grade levels in a single subscription means that students can reinforce foundational skills and move at their own pace, regardless of their grade level.
Overall, these iPrep solutions offer a comprehensive approach to Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) by combining interactive content, data-driven insights, personalized learning, and accessibility, making it easier for students to develop strong foundational literacy and numeracy skills, which are essential for their academic success.
To conclude, In India, Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) is not just an educational concept; it’s a critical cornerstone for a child’s future. The National Education Policy 2020 and the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy – The NIPUN Bharat mission outlines the FLN journey, which seeks to equip every child with essential literacy and numeracy skills. Nevertheless, the journey encounters significant obstacles, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a worrying decline in FLN proficiency. Insufficient FLN has far-reaching effects on academic achievement, employability, economic growth, and social equality.
To address these challenges, the iPrep Learning Platform emerges as a comprehensive solution, offering a wealth of content, interactive learning resources, data-driven insights, and accessibility options. It is one of the potential digital learning options in India’s effort to provide every child with a solid foundation in literacy and numeracy. Thus, paving the way for a brighter and more equitable future.