Synergy Summit, India’s most strategic two-day summit meeting, on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN), took place on 11-12th July 2022, at India International Center, Max Muller Marg, Delhi. The summit was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Dr. Abdullah Rasheed Ahmed, Minister of State for Education, Republic of Maldives, in the presence of Dr. Sunita Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Devi Sansthan, Dr. Payal Kanodia, Trustee of M3M Foundation, Dr. Aishwarya Mahajan, President of M3M Foundation, Nixon Joseph, CEO, CLT India, Alok Verma, Project Director, HCL Foundation, Thirumala Arohi, Senior Vice President, Head-Education, Training & Assessments, Infosys Ltd., Kamal Gaur, Deputy Director, Programmes Education, Save the Children and other dignitaries. Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh virtually graced the event and shared his thoughts through a video message. Today was the second and last day of this summit.
The two-day summit saw active participation and discussions on FLN by various organisations. On this occasion, Dr. Payal Kanodia, through a presentation highlighted how M3M Foundation is already working on literacy and numeracy skills through its various programmes and contributing significantly to the betterment of the country.
It is to be noted that there is still a need to work on FLN in many parts of the country and in view of this, M3M Foundation along with Devi Foundation has joined hands and signed an MOU for the implementation of FLN in 10 identified schools in Shamli district, Uttar Pradesh.
Union Defense Minister Shri Rajnath Singh appreciating the summit commented, “There is an old saying: ‘If you want to beautify your life, you should invest in business, but if you want to beautify generations, you should invest in education’. Events such as this are an investment in the field of education, which in the form of returns will pave the way for betterment.”
Continuing further he added, “The theme of the summit is very important. If India has to grow in terms of knowledge economy and if it wants to create a knowledge society, then foundation literacy will be its first and most necessary step. If we look at the actual situation of our country, even after 75 years of our independence, due to various reasons, we have not been able to reach an ideal position in foundational literacy. Although there has been a rise in enrollment rate but we have not been able to develop basic literacy and numeracy skills to the extent that we should have been. Several statistics reflect that children of class V in rural government schools lacked foundational literacy skills and this situation has worsened in the last two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need to figure out the problems and find a solution. We need similar efforts which can take foundational literacy not only to the pre-pandemic state, but beyond that. In this direction, I would like to congratulate Ms Sunita Gandhi for her concept and programme titled ‘Accelerating Learning for All’. As I have been informed that through this programme people can be made literate in 90 days, I hope a large number of people will join the initiative and come forward to support it.”
Dr. Abdullah Rasheed Ahmed, Minister of State for Education, Republic of Maldives said, “Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is the foundation of education. It is also the basis of life. It is indeed commendable that M3M Foundation has supported Devi Sansthan and will be working together. Dr. Sunita is working for many students free of charges. I believe this collaboration between M3M Foundation and Dr. Sunita will help advance and help our students in India and other countries. I thank and appreciate the contribution of the M3M Foundation to this endeavour.”
Speaking at the Synergy Summit, Dr. Payal Kanodia, Trustee, M3M Foundation said, “FLN is the key to the new education policy and the need of the hour. And with this effort we will try to make a wide impact in this district, will take this programme forward, and expand it to educate as many children as possible. I would like to thank Dr Sunita, armed with extensive years of experience in this field. We are extremely excited to be associated with Devi Sansthan.”
Sharing her thoughts on this occasion, Sunita Gandhi said, “We are very fortunate that we have got the opportunity to work for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by the Ministry of Education in two districts where Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is at the lowest level. . We will try to take it to the national level by March 2023. Our goal is to educate children in new ways, for which we have got the support of M3M Foundation and I am sure that together we will be able to justify our work and set an example for the whole of India.”
On the second day of the summit, Dr. Aishwarya Mahajan, President, M3M Foundation expressed his views on FLN and shared ideas on taking the programme forward in Shamli district and making this initiative a success story for all.
He further highlighted that M3M Foundation has several ongoing education and skill training courses in various districts of Haryana under the Literacy and IMpower programme.
Under the New Education Policy-2020, special training is given to primary teachers to raise awareness on the importance of FLN, so that students can communicate better and become socially and emotionally empowered.
FLN is a programme for access to education for children below 10 years of age, for providing every child with basic skills in their early life, through which students are able to read, write, speak and interpret. This further aids the children by providing additional support in their later stages of learning, thus becoming an imperative domain to focus on. FLN has been implemented under the Nipun Bharat Mission of the New Education Policy of the government of India. The primary objective is to adopt a holistic approach to the overall development of children in the age group of three to nine years.