New Delhi: Central Square Foundation, a non-profit organization working to ensure quality school education for all children in India, has launched #ShikshaKiABC, a digital campaign to create awareness on foundational learning. The campaign’s primary objective is to simplify the issue and enhance the understanding of what is foundational learning and why it matters.
Foundational Learning is a child’s ability to read with meaning and do basic math calculations by class 3. Research shows that the learning crisis starts early among children who are unable to build the foundational skills of reading. This gap in the learning trajectory continues to widen and most of those who start to fall behind are never able to catch up after class 3. According to the latest ASER 2019 (Annual Status of Education Report), just 37.4% of children below six are able to recognize at least letters and only 25.6% can do additions. Similarly, only 34.8% of children in Class II can read a text meant for the level below. And at Class III, only 50.8% can read texts meant for their juniors two levels below.
The campaign draws from the draft National Education Policy (NEP) to highlight the importance of foundational learning and explains how it is linked to overall growth and development of our country (watch campaign video: English and Hindi). In the context of foundational learning, the draft NEP underlines that “if action is not taken soon, over the next few years then we could lose 10 crore or more students from the learning system to illiteracy.”
Commenting on the campaign, Ashish Dhawan, Founder & Chairman, Central Square Foundation, said, “India’s learning crisis is increasingly being acknowledged and concrete efforts are now taking shape to address the same. Foundational learning is the most critical gap and the only way to solve the crisis and therefore it needs to become a priority for enabling education reform. #ShikshaKiABC is a digital campaign to create awareness amongst teachers, NGOs, parents and subject-matter experts on the importance of learning to read by class 3. I believe that this is an appropriate time to launch this initiative and I urge everyone to spread the word and help ensure all children are able to read fluently and comprehend.”
While calling upon parents, teachers, NGOs and subject matter experts, to act urgently, the campaign also highlights steps that can be taken. The campaign suggests simple actions for different audiences, such as: urging parents to read aloud with children for 30 minutes every day or encouraging teachers to try and ensure that all children in their class are able to read fluently at least 30-40 words per minute in child’s mother-tongue.
Follow the campaign updates on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube using #ShikshaKiABC