When New Education Policy 2020 focuses on foundational learning as the bedrock for all future learning. It puts a spotlight on the gravity of the issue at hand – that over 5 crore elementary level students (pg 8, NEP 2020) have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN). A deficiency of FLN skills leads to a learning gap in such students, resulting in their dropouts in later stages of schooling. To address this, the Government of India launched the NIPUN Bharat Mission on 5th July 2021, with the aim of attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children. The Mission advocates that students, along with their schools, teachers, parents, and communities, must be urgently supported and encouraged in every way possible to help carry out this all-important target and mission, which forms the basis of all future learning.
Haryana is duly committed to achieve the objectives of the NIPUN Bharat Mission for foundational literacy (Hindi and English) and numeracy for grades 1-3. Accordingly, Government of Haryana launched the NIPUN Haryana Mission on 30th July 2021. Under the mission, Haryana is undertaking various academic and governance initiatives to ensure that all students of grades 1 to 3 become grade-level FLN competent. These initiatives will be supported by a robust tech-enabled monitoring system to track all the factors inside and outside of a classroom that affect the learning outcomes of children.
The most critical of these factors is the making available the teaching-learning materials (TLM), teaching-learning equipment (TLE), and teacher resource materials that leverage innovative competency-based pedagogy to create a joyful learning environment in a classroom. We have conducted research on best practices on pedagogy 1 which has been customized as per local context in partnership with our foundation partners. As a result, our government schools have appropriate TLM, TLE and activity based pedagogy for joyful learning. Lesson Plans and Teacher Guides have been created to help teachers plan their teaching and incorporate best practices of classroom management and timetable management. All materials have been designed keeping in mind a shift towards competency-based learning. Competency based learning is focused on student learning outcomes (LOs). It divides competencies into explicit and measurable learning outcomes. It further aims to focus on the learning needs of each child instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. Providing instructions at each child’s levels of readiness is critical to make students fall in love with the learning process.
Special attention has been given to Teacher Professional Development (TPD) or the capacity-building of our primary teachers. A 3-day teacher training has been conducted in the State for all ~36,000 primary teachers. They have been oriented on the NIPUN Bharat and NIPUN Haryana Mission, and have been introduced to innovative pedagogical interventions in the teaching of Hindi, Mathematics, and English. Further blended trainings have been planned with the aim to empower teachers to create an engaging and stress-free learning environment for their students.
With regards to assessing the learning levels, the aim of assessments is to be independent, periodic and holistic. There are two types of assessments – school-based assessments and large scale assessments.
We are strengthening school-based assessments to decentralize the approach and make regular monitoring of student learning possible without the stress usually observed in high-stakes onetime exams. Teachers will use the state’s skill passbook to assess students on 2 grade-level competencies. Large-scale assessments will be sample-based and conducted at a lower frequency. These include the National Achievement Survey (once every three years) and baseline/endline exams (annual).
With regards to assessing the learning levels, the aim of assessments is to be independent, periodic and holistic. There are two types of assessments – school-based assessments and large scale assessments. We are strengthening school-based assessments to decentralize the approach and make regular monitoring of student learning possible without the stress usually observed in high-stakes one-time exams. Teachers will use the state’s skill passbook to assess students on 2 grade-level competencies. Large-scale assessments will be sample-based and conducted at a lower frequency. These include the National Achievement Survey (once every three years) and baseline/endline exams (annual).
IEC (Information, Education, Communication) is another critical aspect of the mission. An IEC campaign has been developed keeping all stakeholders in mind including teachers, parents, academic mentors, administration such as DEEOs, BEOs, and the general public, leveraging materials like infographics, school-to-parent communication material, letters, and channels like social media, radio, print and TV. Various community level events including school readiness melas, book fairs, reading events, gunot savas etc. will also be conducted. We have made a special effort to include parents as the key enablers in the mission. Research has shown that whenever parents are involved in their child’s learning process, the learning outcomes usually improve. We have created provisions to ensure daily interaction with parents about their child’s learning. Through WhatsApp groups, we share updates with parents about daily activities conducted and skills taught to their children. They are encouraged to take a regular interest in their child’s learning and take part in home-based activities.
Technology will play a key role in implementation and monitoring of all these initiatives. For NIPUN Haryana Mission, we have planned for a robust all-comprehensive integration of technology that makes dissemination of content, information, monitoring, evaluation and decision-making efficient and effective. The plan includes development of an FLN mobile application, a web application, NIPUN Haryana Mission website, and other tools. The FLN mobile application is a key highlight of the plan. It will be a multi-stakeholder solution, bringing all the key stakeholders including teachers, parents, mentors, officials together at one platform. Each stakeholder will have access to their own interface in the application according to their roles and responsibilities. This will ensure better communication, easy access of information, reporting, and monitoring of the critical KPIs of the mission.
Haryana has been leading the way among all the states in implementation of NEP 2020 imperatives and lays paramount importance on achieving the goals of foundational learning. Ensuring quality education at foundational levels will go a long way in providing equitable access to quality education at higher levels, later on leading to a better standard of life. Thus, we are determined to make certain that under the NIPUN Haryana Mission, each child in Haryana achieves grade-level competencies required under foundational literacy and numeracy and play our part in making the NIPUN Bharat Mission a success.