Date: March 4, 2024
Place: Stanford University, US
3:29 PM IST


  • The report on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy was released at #TheIndiaDialog, organised by the Institute for Competitiveness and US-Asia Technology Management Center, Stanford University, on February 29th & March 1st, 2024. 
  • The third edition of the State of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy emphasises the significance of implementation science in improving the outcomes among children and the prospects of Artificial Intelligence in foundational education.
  • A dedicated section of the report covers insights into the district level, which assesses the performance of various districts across the nation based on the National Achievement Survey (NAS) of 2021. 
  • State profiles and a comparative analysis of learning levels are covered, enabling states/Union Territories to get an understanding of how the existing data can be improved over time and can guide the introduction of targeted intervention.

The third iteration of the foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) report captures the significance of evidence-backed curriculum designs, interventions, and practices in improving learning outcomes among children. These elements share a common aspect: the quality and process of implementation. It is fundamental to ensure equity and excellence by providing quality education during the foundational years. Implementation science is integral in bridging the gap between scientific research and practical implementation, ensuring initiatives and services related to early care and education achieve their desired positive effects on target populations. A special section in the report explores the coexistence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and foundational learning, especially in the post-pandemic era. In this context, AI can assist teachers to create assessment plans and offer guidance on relevant learning materials. To do this, teachers must have the requisite expertise and abilities to employ AI appropriately, and this can be developed through comprehensive capacity-building initiatives. 

The report continues to be a benchmark for states and union territories to track their performance relative to their peers in achieving universal foundational learning by 2026-27. The report’s findings focus on the strategies required for effective implementation, the development of sustained programmes to ensure long-term continuity, the concept of AI literacy, opportunities and challenges of teacher competency through AI, and the importance of capacity-building of teachers. It is further recommended that outcomes of the implementation of initiatives are monitored and assessed on a regular basis, exceptional guidance and support must be provided to the teachers in equipping them with the required skills and training. Lastly, an increased frequency of surveys such as Foundational Learning Study (FLS) is crucial for appropriate data collection for state planning and policy influence. Monitoring disaggregated data with outcome-based indicators on pedagogical framework and education is essential, along with a comprehensive database that captures the state and district learning outcomes for deepening FLN ranking in the country.

The pillars on Educational Infrastructure, Basic Health, and Access to Education have showcased considerable performance compared to the other pillars in the index. This indicates that most states/UTs have fared high with better educational infrastructure in schools. The variance not only showcases an overall score but also helps us to identify areas that should be regional priorities by providing scores for areas ranging from learning outcomes to good governance. Developmental issues are often unique to their regional location, and it, therefore, remains critical to address challenges based on their distinct properties.

StateFLN scores 2023Category rank 2023
West Bengal59.491
Tamil Nadu52.833
Madhya Pradesh43.287
Uttar Pradesh42.988
StateFLN scores 2023Category rank 2023
Himachal Pradesh47.915
Andhra Pradesh44.039
StateFLN scores 2023Category rank 2023
Arunachal Pradesh36.027
StateFLN scores 2023Category rank 2023
Jammu and Kashmir50.893
Andaman & Nicobar Islands47.906
Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli35.148

The report has been authored by Amit Kapoor, Chair, Institute for Competitiveness; Natalia Chakma, Researcher, Institute for Competitiveness, and Sheen Zutshi, Research Manager, Institute for Competitiveness. The report can be accessed at

A panel was organised at #TheIndiaDialog which included Michael Bowers, Chief program Implementation Officer, Room to Read; Bhavya Durgesh Nandini, Adolescent Well Being Advocate; Karen Klimowski, Development Diplomat in Residence Western US; Dr. Omar Qargha, Fellow, Center of Universal Education, Brookings and Gurcharan Das, Author as panellists. The panel was moderated by Pranjal Sharma, Economic Analyst, Advisor and Author. 

Michael Bowers, Chief Program Implementation Officer, Room to Read highlighted, “Progress in India is evident in foundational literacy and numeracy, with improvement observed at the district and state levels. However, there are inefficiencies and gaps in policy implementation, particularly concerning fluency and comprehension. Addressing issues related to delivering services, enhancing accountability, and improving teacher capacity are crucial aspects that require attention.”

Bhavya Durgesh Nandini, Adolescent Well Being Advocate, said, “The National Education Policy is wonderful in terms of how the country is reimagining and thinking about education, but we are not considering the entire demographic that has been potentially left behind when it comes to foundational literacy and numeracy. Children between 14-18 years of age, only 42% of them are able to do basic math and are not able to read basic text.”

Gurcharan Das, Author said, “Breaking down the silos within education policy is important and will inevitably result in improved learning outcomes. Addressing the issue of rote learning and fundamental governance issues in K-12 education is crucial.”

Karen Klimowski, Development Diplomat in Residence Western US said, “Teachers are key to lifelong learning of students, therefore, to enhance the quality of education, there needs to be a focus on teacher training. Creating educational materials in students’ mother tongues, establishing libraries with books in local languages, and improving access to education for girls are essential.”

Dr. Omar Qargha, Fellow, Center of Universal Education, Brookings quoted, “Transformation is essential to realise the objectives of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, with SDG 4 being the primary goal. While these foundational skills are necessary, they alone are not sufficient. A broader spectrum of skills is required. Initiating a national dialogue on the overarching purpose of education is imperative, acknowledging its complex nature. It is crucial to transcend the traditional school model and assess the contemporary demands of the world. This involves equipping teachers with enhanced professionalism and capacity to adapt to evolving educational needs.”

About IFC

Institute for Competitiveness, India is an international initiative centered in India, dedicated to enlarging and purposeful disseminating of the body of research and knowledge on competition and strategy, as pioneered over the last 35 years by Professor Michael Porter of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School. Institute for Competitiveness, India conducts & supports indigenous research; offers academic & executive courses; provides advisory services to the Corporate & the Governments and organises events. The institute studies competition and its implications for company strategy; the competitiveness of nations, regions & cities and thus generate guidelines for businesses and those in governance; and suggests & provides solutions for socio-economic problems.

The complete press release can be looked at

© 2024 Institute for Competitiveness, India


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