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More than 50% of India’s children are unable to read simple text with meaning by age 10 (World Bank Learning Poverty report), with 75% of Standard 3 students unable to read Standard 2 level text, and 81% unable to solve questions on subtraction (ASER 2018). In Tamil Nadu, of the children of the ages 6 to 7, only 57% can read letters and 69% can recognise numbers from 1–9 (ASER 2018). A student thus left behind, stays behind and over the next few years the country could lose 10 crore students to illiteracy (Draft NEP, 2019). With schools in Tamil Nadu remaining closed for over 15 months now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children are at a greater risk of progressing through the school system without the necessary foundational skills. In India, over 15 lakh schools have been closed due to the pandemic, affecting 28.6 crore children from pre-primary to secondary levels (UNICEF The Remote Learning Reachability report, Aug 2020). This necessitates immediate and at-scale interventions to battle this mounting challenge.
Madhi Foundation has been working with public schools in Tamil Nadu since its inception in 2016, to understand the foundational learning crisis and design holistic and system embedded solutions that transform classroom learning. The foundational learning crisis is a complex problem and cannot be solved in silos. A public education system where curriculum design and policies are not child friendly, each child's unique learning needs are not addressed, poor data-driven decisions fester, and inefficient teacher training models are used, leads to a great deal of policy intentions being lost in implementation. We intend to solve the problem by partnering with the TN State Government, using the state machinery to ensure scalability and sustainability and synergize with the government departments to augment the technical expertise required to successfully implement the State FLN Mission as the state’s Chief Management Partners. We have designed our unique 6T model to holistically address the problem through integrated and contextual solutions which will form the core of the State FLN Mission.