The draft National Education Policy reinforces outdated ideas about the goals of a foundational literacy programme. Comment.
There are many children in the elementary classrooms across India who are unable to read and write properly as has been stated by the Annual Status of Education Reports. The chapter which is devoted to the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in the draft NEP. It is a welcome focus on the early education years especially the continuity which it establishes between the pre-primary and primary years. It also stresses the education in mother-tongue and development of oral language. All the analysis about the failure of children to read and write is largely focussed on all the factors which revolve around the teaching and learning process, health and nutrition of children and even high student-teacher ratio. None of these factors are able to address issues about the curriculum, pedagogy and other teacher-education-related issues which have led to deficient teaching and learning of children in early years. Mostly the early classroom teaching is based on rote learning methods with only focus on the ability of the child to read and write simple words and paragraphs. All forms of higher learning, critical thinking, reading and writing were left for higher classes. The draft still reinforces all these goals about the foundational literacy programme.
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