Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Monday launched the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat) for ensuring that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy by the end of grade 3, by 2026-27.
The mission planned as per the new National Education Policy (NEP) has been launched under the aegis of the centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha. It will focus on providing access and retaining children in foundational years of schooling, teacher capacity building; development of high quality and diversified student and teacher resources and tracking the progress of each child in achieving learning outcomes.
"NIPUN Bharat aims to cover the learning needs of children in the age group of 3 to 9 years. Teachers need to focus on every child for developing basic language, literacy and numeracy skills which will help them develop into better readers and writers. Thus, NIPUN Bharat envisages making the experience of learning at the foundational stage Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive, Enjoyable, and Engaging," Nishank said.
The minister underlined that the National Education Policy 2020 has laid down that attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children must become an immediate national mission. "In keeping with this, the Department has developed a comprehensive guideline under NIPUN Bharat, through a series of intensive consultations with implementing partners, experts to make it flexible and collaborative.
"It covers key technical aspects of foundational literacy and numeracy as well as the administrative aspects for effectively setting up an implementation mechanism at the national, state, district, block and school level. An approval of Rs 2,688. 18 crore has already been given under Samagra Shiksha scheme to the states/UTs for implementation of the various interventions for foundational stage in 2021-22," he said.
The unique feature of the initiative include the goals of the mission being set in the form of "Lakshya Soochi" or Targets for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
"Although, the overall aim is to achieve the desired learning outcomes by the end of grade 3, however, in order to generate greater awareness among the parents, community, volunteers etc, the Lakshyas have been developed from Balvatika to grade 3.
"The Laskhyas are based on the learning outcomes developed by the NCERT and international research and ORF studies. 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," Nishank said.