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States need to work on access to education: PM’s economic advisory council

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, the Council said. (PTI)Premium
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, the Council said. (PTI)

  • The EAC-PM chaired by Bibek Debroy said in a statement quoting from its report on the ‘state of foundational literacy and numeracy in India’ that the issue of access to education “is one that demands prompt action on the part of the states”

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NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC-PM) on Thursday said that access to education is a key area that demands prompt action from states as the hindrances children face in their early years affect their potential in numerous ways.

The EAC-PM chaired by Bibek Debroy said in a statement quoting from its report on the ‘state of foundational literacy and numeracy in India’ that the issue of access to education “is one that demands prompt action on the part of the states."

The statement said that the performance of large states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Bihar is noticeably below average, whereas the North-eastern states have the highest scores as a result of their superior performance.

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, the Council said, adding that this holds true not only for high performers but also for low performing states. For instance, while Kerala has the best performance in the small state, it can also learn from some lower-scoring regions, such as Andhra Pradesh, which outperforms Kerala with respect to access to education, said EAC-PM.

The Council highlighted the importance of early education years in the overall development of a child.

“Access to quality early childhood education is a fundamental right for all children. The earliest years of a child's life needs to be understood in the backdrop of the socio-economic, psychological, and technological hindrances they face, which further affects the potential of a child in numerous ways," the statement said.

"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," the statement said quoting Debroy.

A child needs to develop solid foundational literacy and numeracy skills, which refers to basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Falling behind in the foundational learning years which encompass pre-school and elementary education makes children more vulnerable as it negatively impacts their learning outcomes," the statement said.

In addition to the existing issues pertaining to foundational learning years, the ongoing pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology in the overall education of children, it said. “Therefore, focus on the 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," the statement said.

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