Several participants from different states and UTs interrupted government officials during the virtual launch of the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat) by the union minister of education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’.
The officials present at the virtual launch introduced the scheme in the Hindi language to which many participants from other states and UTs objected and asked officials to speak in English. Shortly after the requests, the government played a video in English detailing the policy.
The National Mission was launched in the presence of the minister of state, Sanjay Dhotre, Anita Karwal, Secretary (SE&L), senior officers from the Ministry, all states and UTs, senior policymakers, and heads of institutions.
Since the policy is for entire India including non-Hindi speaking states participants asked that the government officials should speak in English. The participants from other states had made the request during the live event at least thrice.
The NIPUN Bharat is a nationwide policy aiming at strengthening the foundation skills of students in junior classes. It is designed to ensure that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy by the end of class 3, by 2026-27. This Mission has been launched under the aegis of the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha and an approval of Rs 2688.18 crore has already been given to states and UTs under the scheme to implement various interventions for Foundational Stage in 2021-22.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has laid down the vision of attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children on mission mode.
The 10th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) had found that only one-fourth of students in class 3 are able to read Class 2 level text fluently, and less than half of class 5 students were able to do so.
The NIPUN initiative aims at strengthening these basic skills in students. The aim of the policy is to strengthen the FLN skills in time-bound targets. For instance, for class 2 students should be able to read 45 to 60 words per minute, read and write numbers up to 999 are some targets.
During the event, Minister of State Sanjay Dhotre said, “for India to be Vishwa Guru (a global teacher) it is crucial that students’ basic foundations are strong". He added that the policy is aimed at ensuring that “all children can win the battle against low learning levels".
The goals of the policy are set in the form of Lakshya Soochi or Targets for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. The overall aim of the scheme is to achieve the desired learning outcomes by the end of class 3 so to generate “greater awareness among the parents, community, volunteers etc. the Lakshyashas been developed from balvatika to class 3,” said the statement from the ministry.
The Laskhyas are based on the learning outcomes developed by the NCERT and international research and ORF studies.
The success of NIPUN Bharat will primarily depend on 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,” said the statement from the ministry.
For students, the policy will include toy-based learning, increased time for listening and reading for kids it also suggests teacher training in creating a fun and engaging environment in and outside the classroom parent and community participation.