Session II : Foundational Literacy as building blocks of learning Progression 

Speaker Profile

Dr. Usha Sharma is well known and reputed professor in NCERT New Delhi. She is a professor of Hindi Languages in Education. She has done M. A in Hindi, M.Ed., M.Phil. in Education, Ph.D. in Education UGC NET in Education and Diploma in Applied Linguistics Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education. Previously she worked as a “Hindi teacher in Rabia Girls Public school and taught Hindi from class 1 to 12 for 9 years”, “a lecturer in DIET, SCERT for 2yeasrs”,” a Sr lecturer in DIET, SCERT for 2 years”.

Now prof Usha Sharma is working a s a member of State Resource Group, SCERT Delhi. The specialization of Prof Usha Sharma is in Language Education: Psycholinguistic, early literacy, Early Childhood care and Education, Elementary Education, Audio Visual Education.

Prof. Usha Sharma

National Council of Educational Research and Training


Session Summary

27th August 2020, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

The discussion was started with a brief explanation of foundational literacy with the title of “PADHNA HAI SAMJHNA”.
 Speaker explains the concept of foundational literacy with some major components:

  1. What is reading.

  2. What is writing.

  3. Language of the medium and Medium of instruction.

  4. Language convergence.

  5. Teaching learning Resources availability for the foundational literacy and numeracy.

  6. The important measures which requires to take for better learning to achieve foundational literacy and numeracy.

  7. A platform, the digital infrastructure for knowledge sharing (DIKSHA).

  8. Some issues like: low learning level, Increasing drop out ratio, Inappropriate language and Mathematical skills.

One of the fundamental principles of NEP is according the highest priority to achieving foundational literacy and numeracy by all students by Grade 3, which we are committed to achieving by 2025.

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is an important component of NEP 2020, An Urgent & Necessary Prerequisite to Learning. The ability to read and write, and perform basic operations with numbers, is a necessary foundation and an indispensable prerequisite for all future schooling and lifelong learning. However, various governmental, as well as non-governmental surveys, indicate that we are currently in a learning crisis: a large proportion of students currently in elementary school - estimated to be over 5 crore in number - have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy, i.e., the ability to read and comprehend basic text and the ability to carry out basic addition and subtraction with Indian numerals. Keeping the looming learning crisis in perspective, the education ministry has put immense focus on foundational literacy and numeracy in NEP 2020.

1As we are facing lot of issues with reading and writing process in our foundational education this is very important to achieve foundational literacy for the success of NEP 2020. 

So, it is requiring to take measures of: 

  • To fill the vacant places of teachers.

  •  Ratio of teacher to student to be 1:30

  •  3-month school preparation module

  •  The book building in Indian language and Diksha.    


There is a need of all the government, non-government and private organizations to develop an inclusive, integrated, and multi-sectoral approach for primary education. Foundational literacy and numeracy for all children must be the top-most national agenda. Quality primary education is the fundamental right of every child, and it is our responsibility that no child is deprived of this right. Let’s collate our efforts required for bringing in the transformative change of overcoming learning poverty.

2. In our country there is a diversity of language, 22 official languages are there. So, problem comes that which language will be mother tongue, “that language in which our mind takes a process of think something” it is different from regional language and different for different places in India, so there is need to learn basics of the languages. It is easy to learn with the help of environment of the language. for example, if a child listens 3 to 4 languages in his home then he will be able to speak all these languages because language is acquired by itself from the environment of those languages in which the child or person is living. In NEP 2020, there is a independency to choose many languages at a time.

One more thing about the language is after the globalization English considered as a global language so that everybody has a focus toward English language. So, for learning of English language we have to create environment, use different sources and by listening continuously it would be easy to acquire.

3. In teacher education program like NCERT, SCERT and DIET there is a need to talk with them about role and significance of foundational literacy and numeracy and the better platform for it where we talk and assess the concept of foundational literacy. As we know in the class room teacher teach the students and students also teach the teachers, so it is required to change the role of languages.


​Reflection is important, need to think understand and reflect whatever is going and whatever is need to change.

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Details of key points from the Q and A session:

  • As suggested by the previous policies and pedagogues, mother tongue should be the most preferred medium of instruction till primary grades. Does the NEP 2020 propose the same recommendation for middle grades also? Is it practical to ignore the English language the is the global language?

    • Response: Yes, NEP 2020 propose the same recommendation for middle grades. Students will have their regional languages as the medium of instruction while teaching. But they will have 2 more languages along with their mother tongue.
      English is a library language not global, and any languages can be a global language if it is used in maximum countries. And we are not ignoring the English language that will be one of their three language in school. We can not shift the medium of instructions from mother tongue to English suddenly. So, we will shift it but after the process of acquisition. If students will acquire this from initial phase then they will have command on all language.

  • In India we get a lot of diversity in language, even in a state we do not have a single language and now according to new NEP 2020, students will be able to study in their mother tongue or regional language. But what type of challenges will students or young generation face while transferring school or changing cities for higher studies or job opportunities.

    • Response: New NEP 2020 is not based on only one language (mother tongue or regional language). It takes about 3 languages and teaching in regional languages that will help students to understand the concept clearly and they will able to contrast their own understanding or knowledge. Students or young generation can use these 3 language and if they got transfer anywhere and they got transfer in a city which is totally different for example, a north Indian students got transfer in any south Indian state then after few month he or she will be able to understand that language and try to speak it.

  • Students come from different states with different languages in Delhi Educational institute, for mathematics teaching, what expectation from them?

    • Response: As we have discussed that in a classroom the teachers teach to the students as well as students teach the teacher. also motivate and appreciate to the teachers for acquiring different regional words and languages. Teacher has to observe the languages use by students and can be used by teacher for them and slowly teacher acquire whatever is need. So, there are no difficulties for teachers to teach them.​

This session was moderated by Somya Agarwal and Pooja Rai while Sushil and Md. Wahab were the rapporteurs.

Total attendees: 50.