Home / Education / News /  Govt unveils NIPUN to improve learning

The Union government on Monday announced a new mission to improve foundational literacy and numeracy of early graders in school. NIPUN Bharat Mission will offer an “enabling environment to ensure universal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy, so that every child achieves the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy by the end of Grade 3 by 2026-27".

Earlier, the Centre had said that foundational literacy and numeracy should be achieved by 2025 under the new education policy. However, due to the covid-led disruptions, the deadline had to be extended.

The scheme will be implemented by the Union education ministry in collaboration with states through the flagship school education programme, Samagra Shiksha. It will also track students’ performance and conduct assessment at the central and state levels, and possibly by a third party.

It will be done through “a five-tier implementation mechanism" at the “national, state, district, block and school level in all states and Union territories".

“NIPUN Bharat aims to cover the learning needs of children in the age group of three to nine years, and teachers need to focus on every child for developing basic language, literacy and numeracy skills," education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said.

Foundational learning has been poor in Indian schools and the annual Annual State of Education Report (Aser) findings released by education non-profit Pratham have shown for successive years how a bulk of Indian students at the elementary level cannot even read, understand or do basic arithmetic.

At least 25% of school children in the four-eight age group do not have age-appropriate cognitive and numeracy skills, leading to massive learning deficit at an early stage, according to the Aser findings released in January 2020. Just 37.4% of children below six were able to recognize at least letters and only 25.6% could do additions, said the report. Similarly, only 34.8% of children in Class II could read a text meant for Class I. At Class III, only 50.8% could read texts meant for their juniors two levels below.

Under the new scheme, organizations such as the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will share detailed targets with schools and states.

For example, a child should be able to read 45 to 60 words per minute and at least 60 words per minute correctly by the end of Grade II and III, respectively, from an age-appropriate unknown text with comprehension and clarity.

Several state-level organizations and expert groups such as education non-profits Central Square Foundation and Pratham have provided inputs for the scheme. Pokhriyal said the scheme will help improve learning outcome of children in the early years of schooling.

The ministry has said that an approval of 2,688.18 crore has already been given under the Samagra Shiksha scheme for 2021-22 to states and Union territories for the implementation of various interventions at the foundational stage.

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