FOUNDATIONAL LITERACY & NUMERACY
India has one of the largest and most complex education systems in the world. There are 15 lakh schools and 26 crore students. However, despite the significant increase in school enrolment in the last many years, schooling is not equal to learning in India. What this means is that while students are attending school it is not necessary that they are learning and understanding what is being taught. This includes even the most basic form of learning that is reading and numeracy which is called foundational literacy and numeracy.
According to the ASER report 2022, a large proportion of children are not picking up these basic skills even after they leave Grade 5. For Eg: 73% students in Grade 3 in schools in rural India cannot read Grade 2 text.
80% students in Grade 3 in schools in rural India cannot do subtraction. This is a serious problem as this causes continuous dropout from schools as children reach higher grades. Such an inability to read and understand a simple text is known as learning poverty.
According to World Bank estimates, almost 56.1% children in India, that is more than half of India’s school going students suffer from learning poverty. Covid 19 further aggravated the problem as schools were shut for a period of 82 weeks and unstable financial conditions due to the COVID crisis caused many families to pull their daughters out of school either to work or because they could not afford it.
This learning crisis is a huge impediment to India achieving its larger socio-economic development goals at the end of Amrit Kaal when we celebrate 100 years of independence in 2047.