Improving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in Your Schools

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

Every policy is only as good as its implementation.

The implementation of NEP in the public school system is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education at the central government and Departments of Education at the State Level. Various government departments and organizations are surely working on this.


Instead of deliberating on whether or not the government will be able to implement the policy, we need to collectively focus on finding ways to make the policy benefit our students, our teachers, and our schools. We also need to be aware of and prepared for any adverse effects that the policy may have for our schools and stakeholders.

With this, let me address four important aspects of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy that concern private schools.


Foundational Literacy and Numeracy refers to building adequate literacy and numeracy skills during the foundational stage of school education. These are the first 5 years of education up to class 2 when the child is between 3 – 7 years. Since the majority of the brain development happens during this time, cognitive abilities in language and mathematics must be developed during these years.

In article 2.3 the policy shares the intent of the government to recruit and continuously train a large number of teachers to ensure a pupil-teacher ratio of 30:1. Since a government job is an attractive proposition for a lot of people, private schools may face challenges to recruit and retain good teachers. To become a preferred employer, schools will need to provide better salaries, work environment, and employee benefits.


In article 2.4 the policy outlines a shift in the focus of the curriculum toward literacy and numeracy. Two explicitly mentioned new aspects of the policy are:

  1. Emphasis on mathematical thinking during the foundational years.

  2. Advocacy of continuous formative and adaptive assessment to individualize learning


In article 2.5 the policy introduces “a 3- month school preparation module” for all grade 1 students created by NCERT and SCERTs.


In article 2.7, the policy allows schools to introduce and implement structured programs for peer-tutoring and recruiting volunteers to assist teachers.


How would your school improve the quality of foundational literacy and numeracy? Do share your views in the comments below.

About the Author

Dr. Atul Nischal is the Founder of the International Council for School Leadership (ICSL) and serves as the Program Director of ReSET, the 3 week online certificate program for educators.

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