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CARE India in partnership with USAID released a position paper on ‘Early Language and Literacy’. The position paper was launched at India Habitat Center, in New Delhi on June 22, 2016.
Setting the tone, the chief Guest, Dr. Subhash Chandra Khuntia, Secretary, MHRD, Government of India, acknowledged the efforts made by CARE India and USAID in developing the position paper and opined, “Though we have universalized elementary education, the learning outcomes of children are still not satisfactory. Rightly, this paper focuses on 3-8 years of age which includes the pre-primary years (3-6) and the primary education years (6-8) and points out the need to adopt approaches which make the learning process not forced, but contextually relevant for children.”
He also assured the gathering that going forward MHRD will be incorporating some of the ideas from this paper into MHRD’s ‘Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat Abhiyan’ that focuses on early literacy and numeracy.
Elaborating on it, Mr. Rajan Bahadur, CEO and MD, CARE India, said, “CARE India has been working in the area of elementary education for the past two decades. We strongly feel that literacy is not just about code-breaking or meaning-making. Students should also be empowered to act as text users and as text critics. CARE India and USAID came together to support Start Early: Read in Time project that focuses on improving reading skills of children in early years. This position paper is the outcome of this fruitful partnership. I am sure this collaborative work will provide direction to pre-primary and primary education, as this paper provides an opportunity to understand the challenges faced by teachers, children and others.
Adding further, Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, USAID Mission Director to India, said, “Bringing quality developments to early grade reading will require innovation – in how students are taught, teachers are trained, in the materials used by the schools, and in the approaches used for early grade education. USAID supports testing and scaling of innovations that support these improvements. We are proud to have contributed towards this important paper that provides specific guidance on providing high quality early language and literacy.”
Other dignitaries present at the event included Emeritus Professor A.K. Jalaluddin, Chairperson, Technical Core Group, Dr Sunita Singh, Ambedkar University and Dr Shailaja Menon, Azim Premji University.
The position paper titled “Early Language and Literacy, can be viewed at: https://www.careindia.org/sites/default/files/ELL%20India%20%28revised%20pdf%29.pdf
Developed by a Technical Core Group, the paper articulates the connectedness of the pre-primary age group of 3-6 years with the early years of schooling (6-8 years) in the area of language and literacy, and recommends a principles-based approach to early literacy. It addresses issues related to early language and literacy for children in the age group of 3-9 years in India. It builds upon the previous policy documents related to language while articulating new positions on issues that have not been discussed comprehensively.