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Celebrating International Literacy Day 2023 And Its Alignment With India’s National Education Policy 2020 – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Celebrating International Literacy Day 2023 and Its Alignment with India's National Education Policy 2020

Harshaa Kawatra

Abstract

This article explores the alignment between NEP 2020 and International Literacy Day, celebrated on September 8th each year. NEP 2020’s emphasis on early childhood literacy, multilingual education, lifelong learning, digital literacy, and inclusivity resonates with the core themes of the day. The article highlights how NEP 2020 is shaping India’s education landscape to promote quality education for all, focusing on the need for collaborative efforts to realise these goals year-round.

Introduction to NEP 2020 and International Literacy Day

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a comprehensive and transformative educational framework for India. It is guided by foundational principles that prioritise equitable access to quality education for all, irrespective of socio-economic background or geographical location, aiming to bridge the urban-rural education divide. Additionally, NEP 2020 underscores the significance of quality and accountability in education, with a strong emphasis on learning outcomes and standardised assessments to measure student performance. It recognizes the value of multilingualism, advocating for the use of mother tongue or local languages as mediums of instruction in the early years to enhance learning outcomes.

Source: Government of India, Ministry of Education

International Literacy Day, observed on September 8th each year, serves as a global reminder of the importance of literacy in our lives. It’s an occasion to celebrate the progress made in promoting knowledge and education worldwide and reflect on the challenges that persist. This year’s celebration carries even more significance as it aligns perfectly with India’s National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which places a strong emphasis on quality education, and lifelong learning. 

It was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1966 empowering individuals and communities. This day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the significance of education and to address the global challenges faced.

How is it observed?

  1. Theme: Each year, UNESCO chooses a specific theme for the day to focus on a particular aspect of literacy. The theme varies from year to year and often reflects current global literacy issues and concerns.
  1. Goals: The primary goals of the day is to include raising awareness about literacy challenges worldwide, promoting it as a means of achieving personal and societal development, and advocating for policies and programs that enhance necessary skills among all age groups.
  1. Statistics: On this day, various organisations and governments often release statistics and reports to highlight the current status of literacy worldwide. These reports help in understanding the progress made in improving the rates and identifying regions and populations that still face significant challenges.
  1. Education Campaigns: This day serves as a platform for launching education and literacy campaigns, both on a global and local scale. Many governments, NGOs, and educational institutions organise events, workshops, and awareness programs to promote the same.
  1. Awards and Recognitions: UNESCO awards the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes to individuals, organisations, and governments that have made significant contributions. These prizes recognize outstanding efforts in literacy improvement.
  1. Advocacy: It is a time when various stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, and educators, come together to advocate for increased funding, resources, and policies to support literacy initiatives. It is an opportunity to mobilise support for literacy programs and projects.
  1. Focus on Sustainable Development Goals: The day aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Literacy is considered a crucial component in achieving this goal.
  1. Digital Literacy: In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on digital literacy due to the rapid advancement of technology. Many events of the day and their discussions now address the importance of these skills in the modern world. According to India development review, only 38 percent of households in the country are digitally literate. Additionally, only 31 percent of the rural population uses the internet as compared to 67 percent of the urban population.
  1. Local Initiatives: This day is not just a global event; it’s also celebrated at the local level. Schools, libraries, and community centres often organise activities, reading sessions, and necessary workshops.

It is an annual observance that emphasises the importance of learning, education and knowledge as a basic human right and a crucial tool for personal and societal development. It provides a platform for raising awareness and advocating and recognising the efforts of individuals and organisations in promotion of the same.

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Source: Times of India

The Link between the Two

  1. Early Childhood Literacy: The day focuses on the importance of literacy for individuals and societies as a whole. NEP 2020 recognizes this by placing a strong emphasis on early childhood care and education. It aims to ensure that every child, from the age of three onwards, has access to quality education. This early foundation and numeracy is crucial for future learning and development.
  1. Multilingualism: The NEP promotes multilingualism, acknowledging that children learn best in their mother tongue or home language. This aligns with he day’s theme of promoting literacy in diverse linguistic communities. By emphasising multilingual education, NEP 2020 aims to ensure that all children can access education in a language they understand, fostering better literacy outcomes.
  1. Lifelong Learning: The day highlights the importance of lifelong learning. NEP 2020 echoes this sentiment by introducing a flexible and lifelong learning approach. It encourages continuous skill development, enabling individuals to adapt to changing job markets and societal needs. The policy envisions a holistic education system that nurtures critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills – all crucial aspects of lifelong learning.
  1. Digital Literacy: In today’s digital age, digital literacy is as important as traditional literacy. NEP 2020 recognizes this and aims to integrate technology into education. This aligns with the global shift towards the same and the theme of the day, which often includes digital literacy as a key focus area.
  1. Inclusivity: The day emphasises reaching marginalised and vulnerable populations with necessary programs. NEP 2020 shares this commitment to inclusivity, striving to ensure that no one is left behind in the pursuit of education. The policy emphasises equitable access to quality education, with a particular focus on girls, children with disabilities, and disadvantaged communities.

Conclusion

As we celebrate the day, it’s evident that India’s National Education Policy 2020 provides a comprehensive framework for realising the goals of literacy and quality education for all. The alignment between NEP 2020 and the themes of the day highlights India’s commitment to improving its education system and ensuring that every citizen has the opportunity to become literate, learn continuously, and contribute to the nation’s progress.

However, it’s important to remember that the successful implementation of NEP 2020 will require concerted efforts from all stakeholders, including the government, educators, parents, and communities. Together, we can make quality education a reality for all, not just on International Literacy Day, but every day of the year.

References:

  1. National Education Policy 2020

https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/NEP_Final_English_0.pdf

  1. National Education Policy and more

https://niepid.nic.in/nep_2020.pdf

  1. International Literacy Day

https://www.unesco.org/en/days/literacy

  1. India’s digital divide: From bad to worse?

https://idronline.org/article/inequality/indias-digital-divide-from-bad-to-worse/#

Harshaa Kawatra is Research intern, IMPRI.

Acknowledgement: The author would like to thank Chaitanya, Aqsa and Aasthaba for their kind comments and suggestions to improve the article.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organisation. 

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