Basic literacy

The National Education Policy 2020 is built on the fundamental pillars of equity, quality, accessibility, accountability and affordability. This policy is aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aimed at transforming India into a global knowledge superpower and a vibrant knowledge-based society.

The Sustainable Development Goals relating to education aim to make school and college education inclusive, more flexible, multidisciplinary and adapted to contemporary needs. It is the highest priority of the education system to achieve universal basic literacy and numeracy in primary school by 2025, in line with NEP 2020.

But the fact is that the rest of this policy will only become applicable and related to our students if the three Rs i.e. reading, writing and arithmetic are achieved first.

In order to achieve this goal, the Ministry of Education has prioritized a nationwide mission on basic literacy and numeracy called the National Initiative for Reading Proficiency with Comprehension and Numeracy.

Basic literacy includes pre-existing knowledge of the language which helps in the development of literacy skills in languages. The four macro skills of language learning are listening, speaking, reading and writing, which are very important for basic literacy.

These four skills are also important when we try to develop language in students, especially at the primary level. When these four abilities merge perfectly, we can expect good communication skills among students. The key elements of foundational language and literacy are decoding, oral language, reading comprehension, reading fluency, and writing.

Decoding encompasses the interpretation of written words based on thinking about the relationship between symbols and their sounds. Oral language development takes into account improved listening skills, comprehensive conversational skills and oral vocabulary. Oral language practices are essential for developing reading and writing skills.

Reading comprehension is about creating meaning from a text and developing critical thinking about it. On the other hand, reading fluency is essentially the ability that enables students to read text with accuracy, speed, expression, and comprehension, which enables them to derive meaning from the text.

The writing part is about the abilities to write words alongside writing for expression. With regard to fundamental numeracy, it means the ability to apply simple numerical ideas in the ordinary affairs of life or the solving of daily life problems and the ability to reason.

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