5 cr elementary students can’t read, write basic text

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Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 31

One in four elementary school students in the country cannot read or write basic text even 10 years since the implementation of the Right to Education Act.

Each one, teach one

The policy seeks every literate Indian to teach one student each how to read & write; India has nearly 20 crore elementary schoolgoers

This startling revelation is part of the National Education Policy, 2020, which says a large proportion of students in elementary schools have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy and this number is set to double soon unless the country acted now.

The policy seeks out every literate Indian to teach one student each how to read and write.

“An estimated 5 crore children currently in elementary school have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy, which is the ability to read and comprehend basic text and the ability to carry out basic addition and subtraction with Indian numerals. If action is not taken soon, over the next few years we may lose 10 crore or more students from the learning system to illiteracy,” the policy states, fixing an ambitious goal for the Central and state governments to ensure that by 2025, all students up to grade 3 would have attained foundational literacy and numeracy skills, which would be tested by a special agency to be created for the purpose. India’s elementary schoolgoing population is 20 crore.

The policy shows ways to achieve the foundational literacy and numeracy goal, including the promise that the government would encourage community participation for the purpose.

“If every literate member of the community can commit to teaching one student how to read, it would change the country’s landscape very quickly,” says the document.

“Immediate measures are needed on multiple fronts to achieve the goal of every student attaining foundational literacy and numeracy by grade 3. The highest priority of the education system will be to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school and beyond by 2025. The rest of this policy will be largely irrelevant for a large number of our students if this most basic learning requirement is not achieved first,” said the policy. 

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