New 'foundation' formula for schoolchildren

Government clears Rs 460 crore for 'Read India, Progress India' programme

New 'foundation' formula for schoolchildren

Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday rolled out a new programme that would help children build a “sound foundation” of Mathematics as well as reading, writing and comprehension skills at Class I and Class II level.

Under the ‘Padhe Bharat, Badhe Bharat (Read India, Progress India)’ programme, launched at a day-long conference of the State Education Secretaries, the schools will adopt a new method and course content to improve the learning outcomes of the children in these subjects. Out of four instructional hours a day, two and a half hours would be earmarked to language activities, and one and a half hours for early Mathematics. 

The Centre has approved Rs 460.54 crore for the programme.  The new methods proposed under the programme for teaching Mathematics aims at building a sound foundation of counting, moving onto place value and number operations among children of Class I and Class II to enable them to become independent in problem solving by way of numeracy and spatial understanding skills.

The HRD Ministry’s move comes almost seven months after a report by Pratham, a non-government organisation, indicated that there was no significant improvement in learning outcome of government school students at elementary level in rural India with children showing poor reading, writing and arithmetic skills. The programme will be implemented at all the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan schools.

The minister asked the states to implement the programme at the schools operating under them with a “strong resolve” so that children in early grades acquire proficiency in writing, reading and comprehension. 

The resource materials, already developed by the NCERT will be made available to all the states to help them design new curriculum and methods of instruction.

Smriti also stressed the need for improving of quality of schools which still remains a challenge, asking them to cooperate with the Centre to address the issues.

A separate fund of Rs 762.20 crore has been earmarked for expenditure to be incurred by the states and the NCERT on text books, other teaching learning materials, teachers’ training and monitoring.

The programme had been in the making since last year, sources in the ministry said.The minister also laid stress on the construction of toilets at schools, especially for girls, and asked the states to complete the work by June.

She urged the states to prepare an action plan for construction of the toilets in all  government schools so that the “vision and goal” set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech becomes a reality.

Referring to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, initiated by the Centre, Smriti asked states to pay “special attention” to girl’s education and create an enabling environment for them to attend schools.

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