According to a study, 11% of Indian children in Class III lack basic mathematics skills when compared to the global benchmark proficiency level. This was revealed in the national report on ‘Benchmarking for oral reading fluency with reading comprehension and numeracy 2022’ of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).



  • A large-scale foundational learning study (FLS) was recently undertaken jointly by the Ministry of Education and the NCERT.
      • Foundational learning, which is the children’s ability to read with meaning and do basic math calculations by Class III, forms the basis of all future learning.
  • The study aims to provide reliable data about Class III students in order to determine what they are capable of doing in foundational literacy and numeracy, as well as the extent to which learning outcomes are achieved.
  • The survey categorises learners based on their knowledge and skills into four groups: those who lack them, those who have limited proficiency, those who have sufficient competency, and those who are superior.
  • The survey results will assist the government in establishing benchmarks in 20 languages and numeracy.
  • The national report on ‘Benchmarking for oral reading fluency with reading comprehension and numeracy 2022’ published by the NCERT is the result of this study.


Findings of the study

  • In the foundational numeracy (skills in maths) —
      • The study discovered that 48% of Class III students lacked or had limited basic numeracy knowledge and skills.
      • As many as 11% of students were unable to complete the most basic grade-level numeracy tasks, and 37% could only partially complete basic grade-level tasks.
      • Tamil Nadu was the worst performer among the states, with 77% of students lacking or having only limited numeracy skills.
      • In total, 11 states had more than 50% of students who lacked or had limited numerical skills.
  • In the language proficiency —
      • Students’ foundational learning in Hindi is poor, but their performance in regional languages is even worse in some states.
      • In 18 states, approximately 53% of Class III students surveyed for Hindi proficiency lacked or had limited knowledge and skills in reading and comprehending the language.
      • Regional language proficiency was lower in states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, with 59% of students either lacking or displaying limited skills.


Government efforts

  • The National Education Policy 2020 —
      • It advocates for a 3-language formula in which two of the languages are indigenous to India.
      • It states that the medium of instruction should be in the mother tongue until at least Class V, and preferably until Class VIII, after which it can be taught as a language.
      • The policy also emphasises the significance of foundational learning.
  • NIPUN Bharat — The Union Ministry of Education launched the NIPUN Bharat in 2021 as a national mission to enable all children at the end of Class III to attain foundational skills by the year 2026-2027.