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Special Content

Issue no 5, 30 APRIL - 6 MAY 2022

Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat Foregrounding Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

Reading is essentially a process of making meaning i.e., comprehension. Reading is an interaction between the text and the reader which is shaped by the context-the reader's prior knowledge, experience, attitude and language of community which is culturally and socially situated. The reading process requires continuous practice, development and refinement. Additionally, reading requires creativity and critical analysis. Reading has always been recognised as a key component of a sound educational programme. Recognising that the existing school plans of many school systems do not ensure a child's acquisition and proficiency over reading skills, the Ministry of Education has initiated a nationwide- 'Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat' as a subprogramme to erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and continued under the new integrated scheme Samagra Shiksha.

What is Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat programme?

Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat (PBBB) aims to improve language development to create an enduring interest in reading and writing with comprehension as a lifelong activity. It is based on the premise that children need meaningful and socially relevant engagement with books, along with various opportunities to actively and purposefully engage with a variety of print-based reading and writing activities.

The National Curriculum Framework, 2005 has clearly pointed out that a majority of children have a sense of fear and failure regarding Mathematics, which is why they give up early on, and drop out of serious mathematical learning. It was observed that the tendency embedded in teaching was to accelerate children's mathematical skills by teaching them mechanical rules at the expense of understanding and intelligent application. Therefore, a need was felt to help the children learn mathematics in a way that develops liking and understanding of the subject right from their early years of schooling.

Thus, Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat follows a twin track approach: to improve language development by creating an enduring interest in reading and writing with comprehension, and to create a natural and positive interest in mathematics related to the physical and social world. In other words, the programme focuses on Early Reading and Writing with Comprehension and Early Mathematics.

Objectives of PBBB

1. To enable children to become motivated, independent and engaged readers and writers with comprehension possessing sustainable and lasting reading and writing skills and achieve learning levels appropriate to the class of study;

2. To make the children understand the reasoning in the domains of number, measurement and shapes; and enable them to become independent in problem solving by way of numeracy and spatial understanding skills;

3. To associate reading and writing with the experience of joy and real life situations; and

4. To recognize the social perspective of home-school transition and the role of children's literature in the process of building independent and engaged readers and writers.

These objectives are being realised by:

a) Initiating a dialogue with teachers, head teachers, parents, educational administrators and policy makers to bring attention to the pedagogy of reading and writing; and early mathematics;

b) Creating sensitisation about the needs of children of classes I and II with reference to meaningful processes of reading and writing and early mathematics;

c) Creating a cadre of resource groups and teachers well acquainted with pedagogy of reading and writing ; and early mathematics; and

d) Creating classroom and school environments conducive and vibrant to early reading and writing experiences ; and early mathematics.

How is it being implemented?

Three factors-the text, the reader, and the context-both the setting where the reading, writing and oral language activity happens and also the manner in which these are transacted are critical to make any reading / writing / speaking a meaningful or meaningless experience. Similarly the context of problem solving exposed by the reader provides better appreciation of numbers and spatial understanding. Considering these factors the programmes are composed of various components towards imple-mentation.

States and Union Territories are implementing PBBB using multiple strategies and approaches. These include adoption of NCERT model of early reading, provision of supplementary reading material, development of State specific models for early mathematics and early reading, collaboration with organizations like UNICEF, etc.

PBBB Library Grant and Promotion of reading

In order to inculcate reading habit among students of all ages, strengthening of school libraries is being undertaken through provision of books by providing library grants for government schools. The fund for library grant ranges from Rs. 5000/- to Rs. 20000/- based on the category of the school.

The old guidelines on library grant have also been revised recently. The present guidelines, dated 28th October 2021, emphasize on the promotion of reading as a whole apart from development of libraries and procurement of library books and the activities that can help achieve these goals. Further, the recommendations of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 were also considered while framing the present guidelines.

Padhe Bharat Campaign

 In January 2022, the Union Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan launched a 100-days reading campaign 'Padhe Bharat'. The launch of the campaign was in alignment with the NEP 2020 which emphasizes on promotion of joyful reading culture for children by ensuring availability of age appropriate reading books for children in local/mother tongue/regional/tribal language.

Padhe Bharat campaign focused on children studying in Balvatika to Grade 8. The objective of the reading campaign, organised till April 10, 2022, was to have participation of all stakeholders at national and state level including children, teachers, parents, community, educational administrators, etc. One activity per week per group was designed with the focus on making reading enjoyable and building lifelong association with the joy of reading.

 A unique feature of the Padhe Bharat campaign was the attention given to the Indian languages, including mother tongue/local/regional languages. It is in this regard, 21st February which is celebrated as International Mother Tongue Day, was also integrated with this campaign. The day was celebrated with the activity of Kahani Padho Apni Bhasha Main (Reading story in own language) across the country by encouraging children to read in their mother tongue/local language.

This campaign was aligned with the vision and goals of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy mission.

What is Foundational Literacy and Numeracy mission?

The Department of School Education and Literacy launched the National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy called National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat) in 2021 under Samagra Shiksha. The Mission aims to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary classes. The Mission Guidelines lays down priorities and actionable agendas for States and UTs to achieve the goal of proficiency in foundational literacy and numeracy for every child by grade 3. Detailed guidelines for the Mission have been developed which includes the codification of development goals and learning outcomes for ages 3 to 9 years and Lakshya or Targets for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy starting from Balvatika to Grade III.

To achieve this, a specialized National Initiative for School Heads' and Teachers' Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA 3.0) for the foundational literacy and numeracy, covering about 25 lakh teachers at the primary level across all States and UTs, has been launched in September, 2021.

The National Education Policy 2020 states that "Our highest priority must be to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary schools by 2026-27. The rest of this Policy will be largely irrelevant for such a large portion of our students if this most basic learning (i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic at the foundational level) is not first achieved."

(Compiled by: Anuja Bhardwajan and Annesha Banerjee) Source: PIB/MoE/Twitter