ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in West Bengal

Literacy and education are vital developmental indicators for a nation. With more than 200 million children, India has the world’s most extensive primary education system. While primary school enrolment has increased significantly, learning levels remain low. To strengthen foundational literacy and numeracy, the West Bengal government launched “Shishu Aloy” a model Integrated Child Development Services centre in 2015. But the shortage of trained anganwadi workers is the major drawback of this programme in rural villages of West Bengal.


The future of India is being shaped in the early stage of learning. Early childhood education has become a concern towards universal quality education, especially their crucial roles in a childs brain development and access to elementary education. Many research studies have found good preschool education and early learning gives children a better future opportunity for higher achievement. It is necessary to provide an enriching environment for children for their growth and learning. This necessitates the provision of suitable facilities for children outside of their homes in the form of preschool education (Murlidharan and Kaul 1999). Researchers have found that children who spent time in preschool attained significantly higher scores in foundational reading and early numerical skills than those who attend local schools (Laosa and Ainsworth 2007).

Building adequate literacy and numeracy skills at the foundational age between three and seven years is very crucial because over 85% of a childs cumulative brain development occurs at the age of six. The ability to read and write and perform basic numerical operations at the foundation is a prerequisite for future schooling and lifelong learning. These skills empower the children to think critically and creatively and ultimately support the nation towards progress (NEP 2020). Foundational literacy is the ability to understand and identify letters, read familiar words, and create a variety of forms of communication. Literacy helps students to read, write and speak fluently. Foundational numeracy is the ability to understand and identify numbers, discriminate between numbers, and perform basic mathematical calculation (addition or subtraction). (GOI 2020)

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.