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A guide on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

By Ampersand Group

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is one of the major themes of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The NEP 2020 prioritises foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) for all children of age group 3 to 8 years as an “urgent national mission”. The Ministry of Education’s NIPUN-Bharat i.e. National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy program, provided guidelines to ensure that every child achieves the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy at the end of Class III.

What is Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN)?

FLN is broadly conceptualised as the ability to read with meaning and perform basic calculations such as addition and subtraction.

But in a larger context Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is more than just the child’s ability to read basic texts and solve number operations. It also includes several foundational literacy competencies such as phonics development, decoding sounds, reading fluency, reading comprehension, drawing and writing. It helps them decode meaning from the text and voice.

Whereas Foundational Numeracy helps in understanding numbers, shapes, measurement etc. Children learn basic mathematical skills to solve problems which need some calculations or deductions.

Why does Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) matter?

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is crucial in early development of children’s cognitive capabilities and have been scientifically correlated with better educational outcomes in later years. It has a significant impact on children’s academic progress throughout their life. With good foundational literacy and numeracy skills help children to learn more meaningfully in higher classes and acquire 21st century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking.

India's aspiration to reap the benefits of its demographic dividend hinges on the attainment of fundamental literacy and numeracy by all children.

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What are the issues related with Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN)?

There are several issues associated with Foundational Literacy and Numeracy skills and addressing them is essential for promoting quality education. Here are some key issues:

1. Lack of Access to Education

In many parts of our country especially in remote and rural areas lack of access to quality education is still an issue. This deprives individuals of the opportunity to develop foundational literacy and numeracy skills.

2. Quality of Education

When education is accessible, the quality of teaching and learning materials are not adequate. Poorly trained teachers, outdated curriculum and insufficient resources can contribute to a low-quality education that fails to impart strong foundational skills.

3. Language Barriers

Language plays a crucial role in foundational literacy. In regions with linguistic diversity, students may face challenges if the language of instruction at school is different from their native language.

4. Socio-Economic Disparities

Socioeconomic factors, such as poverty, children from marginalize communities often lack access to educational resources and may face additional challenges.

5. Gender Disparities

Gender biases can also affect access to education and the development of foundational skills.

6. Insufficient Parental Involvement

Lack of awareness about the importance of foundational skills, coupled with limited parental involvement in the learning process, can impede a child's progress.

7. Lack of Relevant Learning Materials

Inadequate or outdated materials such as textbooks, workbooks and less use of educational technology tools can hinder effective learning.

Addressing these issues requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach involving policymakers, educators, communities and parents working together to prioritise and improve foundational literacy and numeracy skills for all individuals, regardless of their background or location.

What is the importance of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN)?

Foundational literacy and numeracy are essential building blocks for a person's overall development and success in various aspects of life. Here are some key benefits:

1. Academic Success

Proficiency in foundational literacy and numeracy lays the groundwork for academic success. These skills are fundamental for learning other subjects and for tackling more advanced concepts in various disciplines.

2. Critical Thinking

Literacy and numeracy skills foster critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Individuals who can read, analyse information and solve mathematical problems are better equipped to make sound decisions in both personal and professional contexts.

3. Communication Skills

Literacy skills enhance communication abilities, allowing individuals to express themselves clearly and effectively. This is crucial at the workplace, in personal relationships and broader social interactions.

4. Lifelong Learning

A strong foundation in literacy and numeracy encourages a habit of lifelong learning, to seek out new information, engage in continuous education and adapt to evolving circumstances.

5. Social Inclusion

Literacy and numeracy skills contribute to social inclusion by enabling individuals to participate fully in their communities. This includes engaging in civic activities, understanding social issues and contributing to the overall well-being of society.

6. Health Literacy

Literacy skills are linked to better hygiene and health outcomes. Individuals with strong literacy skills are more likely to understand health information, follow medical instructions and make informed choices about their personal well-being.

7. Reduction of Inequality

Foundational literacy and numeracy in India can play a role in reducing socio-economic disparities. Providing equal access to quality education that emphasizes these skills helps level the playing field and reduce inequality.

8. Socio-Economic Development

Our country will be better positioned for socio-economic development. A skilled workforce contributes to innovation, productivity and overall economic growth. Literate and numerate individuals are more likely to actively participate in society, breaking stereotypes, biases etc., thus leading to social development.

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Altogether, investing in foundational literacy and numeracy is not only crucial for individual development, but will also contribute significantly to the overall progress and well-being of communities and our country.

To know more in the education and skill development sectors, visit Ampersand Group.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the 5 pillars of FLN?

The five pillars of FLN are Educational Infrastructure, Access to Education, Basic Health, Leaning Outcomes and Governance.

2. What is Literacy and Numeracy?

Literacy extends beyond mere reading and writing proficiency. It encompasses a spectrum of competencies including critical thinking, effective communication, adaptability to change, and problem-solving across diverse situations. Its goal is to empower individuals to pursue personal aspirations, expand knowledge, and engage actively within society.

Similarly, numeracy involves utilizing mathematical comprehension and skills to navigate the complexities of daily life within intricate social environments.

3. Why are Literacy and Numeracy Important?

Early literacy and numeracy skills serve as the cornerstone of learning and are associated with improved quality of life, individual wellness, national stability, and prosperity. They play a pivotal role in shaping educational achievements in later stages. Proficient literacy and numeracy enable children to explore, analyze, problem-solve, and express themselves creatively.

They empower children to become engaged, informed members of society who contribute meaningfully socially, culturally, and economically. Conversely, limited access to early literacy and numeracy opportunities hinders children's academic advancement and enthusiasm, leading to persistent academic challenges.

Guide on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy | Ampersand Group
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