New Delhi: A two-day Synergy Summit on the theme, A Paradigm Shift in FLN: Making India Literate in Months, not Years, was held at the India International Centre in New Delhi.
COVID has wiped out years of gain in education. As per UNICEF, over 70% of the 10-year-olds post-COVID school closures do not have the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills. Against this backdrop, the theme of the Synergy Summit, A Paradigm Shift in FLN: Making India Literate in Months, not Years, is a call to urgent action.
The two-day Synergy Summit brought together, for the first time, and in one place, the heads of several major CSR, NGOs, Embassies, Schools, Universities and the Government to jointly solve India’s biggest education crises.
The Chief Guest on the first day of the two-day Summit was Shri Rajnath Singh, Hon. Defence Minister of India. Shri Rajnath Singh, Hon. The Minister of Defence said, “It was high time to bring all the stakeholders on the same table to explore transformative solutions to the mammoth crises of foundational literacy and numeracy. Without strategic thinking, and without highly disruptive solutions, the literacy crises will continue to deepen. The children in Grade 3 today have not seen school till recently. Children in Grade 5 lost most of what they learned in Grade 3 before the COVID. Thus, the vast majority of children in the primary grades need urgent support. We cannot leave it to the teachers alone to solve this major crisis. Entire communities need to be mobilized and all segments of society have to work in synergy. FLN needs to be treated as an emergency, and we need all hands-on deck”.
He praised the FLN ground-breaking efforts of Dr. Sunita Gandhi, Former Economist, The World Bank, and Founder, DEVI Sansthan for coming up with the new Global Dream ALfA or Accelerating Learning for All methodology. He said, “India needs highly disruptive solutions such as ALfA Global Dream to bridge the learning gap within 90 days. The traditional methods have grossly failed to develop the foundational skills even after five years of schooling. I am pleased that ALfA is now being implemented in two of the ten Lowest Performing Districts of India: Shamli in Uttar Pradesh and Sambalpur in Orissa. ALfA education needs to be urgently given to every child, just like the COVID vaccination”.
The first day of the event also saw the launch of a book written by Dr. Sunita Gandhi: Disruptive Literacy, A Roadmap for Urgent Global Action, and published by Bloomsbury. The book highlights that major gains breakthroughs are possible through the three prongs of a) a nationwide mass movement in which every stakeholder needs to be involved from the students to the government officials at all levels like in the pulse polio campaign, b) government commitment to such a movement, and c) through transformative curriculum and processes of teaching and learning that allows young and old volunteer and all teachers to get involved.