Nation First, Always First. As the nation prepares to celebrate the 77th Independence Day, it probably is also the right time to remember the future of a generation that would succeed ours. It’s time to remember and ensure universal access to foundational learning. As UNESCO in its 1990 Global Education Monitoring Report so succinctly summarised stating “Learning is pivotal for translating expanded educational opportunities into meaningful development”.
What is important to note at this juncture is the fact that India has also made substantial progress toward universal access to primary education as has been substantiated by various empirical studies. But there are more miles to tread before we get to reach that milestone of comfort in universal access to primary education. And the most important component of this access is creating pathways to foundational skills. It’s empirically proven that children who can’t read by the time they have completed grade 3 fall behind and face problems in catching up, which often become an insurmountable problem. So much so that it becomes irreversible.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has recognized the importance of foundational learning in taking the Nation to greater heights. It has, therefore, focused on bridging the access gap both quantitatively and qualitatively. The policy lays stress on improving the foundational skills of the children. Not only that it also aims to raise participation after elementary education. It has laid particular stress on the socio-economically backward class as it has rightly recognized the dynamics of literacy and development and this emphasis is to bring to play these dynamics into reality.
The Nalanda Learning Systems led by Shri Tamal and Timir Mukherjee, in sync with the vision of the NEP 2020, got into the act of creating an ecology for universal access to primary education. Realising that the digital world can be harnessed to reach out and enhance the infrastructure in a manner that would facilitate universal access they created ENRICH – a 360o solution to empower pre-schools and K12 schools with pre-primary segment to deliver an NEP 2020 recommended curriculum backed by technology, training and expert advice.
The system essentially aims at using the local physical infrastructure as the delivery agent. The digital platform that has pedagogy and teacher training at its core acts as the resource centre for the delivery points so that the teaching system stays upgraded and preschool owners are offered security and institutional continuity through rigorous expert advice.
As Mr Tamal Mukherjee says, “It’s time to celebrate our Independence by realizing our core aspiration of universal access to education by starting with making available foundational learning universally.”