Madhya Pradesh & Gujarat: PMU for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN)

Acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy skills is key to improving learning as well as overall life outcomes of a child

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) accounts for children’s ability to read and meaningfully comprehend, as well as use basic mathematical operations in real life. Research shows that foundational learning forms the cornerstone to successful academic development in later grades. Children who are unable to build these foundational skills, then face a disadvantage where their learning levels continue to remain poor in later grades. They are thus unable to cope with instruction at school, often leading to increased chances of dropouts. Furthermore, the evidence shows that there are several associated long-term benefits from investing in FLN, such as better life outcomes and higher economic growth. UNESCO’s Education For All Global Monitoring Report in 2013-14 calculated that if all students left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.

Ensuring that every student can build at least basic skills of reading, writing and math will be crucial for India to harvest its demographic dividend and ensure a productive life for today’s youth. Milestones like alphabet recognition, reading words with meaning, fluency of reading small simple sentences with comprehension are crucial, and determine the learning trajectory of a student. Most of those who start to fall behind on these basic skills are unable to catch up even with subsequent years of schooling. Grade 3 is a key inflection point where students are expected to move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) calls for ‘attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children in primary school and beyond by 2025’ to become an immediate national mission for the country, in order to address our learning crisis

Madhya Pradesh

Commencement Year

15.1 Lakh


Commencement Year

10 Lakh

Mission Ankur

A Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) initiative in the State of Madhya Pradesh


To strengthen Foundational Literacy and Numeracy delivery and outcomes by building system capacity to design, iterate and evaluate FLN solutions for state-wide application in “Mission Ankur – Madhya Pradesh”



Mission Ankur will take a 2 pronged
approach towards design and
delivery of FLN initiatives at the state

It is proposed that Mission Ankur, Madhya Pradesh is the state’s mission to strengthen Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. A key component is setting up and operationalizing a FLN cell in 2020-21 at the education department (Rajya Shiksha Kendra) which will be the steering body that identifies academic and systemic hurdles, self corrects and builds institutional capacity at the state level in the area of FLN. Another critical component is the rolling out and analysis of radical innovations in three districts, namely Bhopal, Sehore and Shajapur, in 2020-21 through the use of innovative materials, training, and monitoring.

State FLN mission

FLN Reform in 49 Districts in partnership with Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK) Madhya Pradesh

  • FLN cell formed as the steering body to identify the academic & systemic hurdles, self correct & build institutional capacity at the state level
  • Do strategic planning for achieving FLN across the state as per the guidelines of MoE
  • Focus on implementing interventions to achieve FLN goals as per the vision of the state

Learnings will be shared regularly to the State through the FLN cell

Innovations Districts

FLN-related Innovations 3 districts (Bhopal, Sehore, Shajapur) through partners (2020-25)

  • The goal of the IDs is to demonstrate a set of innovations in order to leapfrog foundational learning outcomes.
  • Gather evidence to inform the FLN Cell on best practices
  • IDs will provide the state with research and learnings for state-wide implementation.

Intended Impact of
The Project:

Students build a strong foundation for learning, setting them up for success in further education, work, and life

A self-sustaining system where all stakeholders have the opportunity, motivation, and ability to contribute to improved FLN educational outcomes for children.


3 years 4 years 5 years 6 years/ Class 1 7 years/ Class 2 8 years/ Class 3
Children respond to simple questions connected to their daily life Children can recite simple rhymes Children can identify taught letters Children can accurately read 3 letter words with maatra and simple sentences with comprehension Children can read a paragraph with 3-4 sentences and be able to answer text-based questions Children can read grade-level text with fluency of 30-35 wpm with comprehension


3 years 4 years 5 years 6 years/ Class 1 7 years/ Class 2 8 years/ Class 3
Children can sort objects on the basis of their size and colour Children can identify missing parts of whole object/picture Children can orally say, identify and count numbers 1 to 9 Children can correctly read and write numbers up to 99 Children can solve two-digit with two-digit addition and subtraction problems Children can solve one-digit and two-digit multiplication problems

Impact till date

Received mandate for Mission Ankur

Engagement with key stakeholders at the State level to build a strong salience around FLN. Mission Ankur coalition acknowledged as FLN thought partner

Constituted FLN Cell (steering body)

The cell was formed at State level on 9 Dec 2020. Members are from concerned State departments (WCD, TWD) and partner organisations.

Drafted Learning Outcomes with the RSK curriculum team

Framework (also called Learning Grid) for Hindi & Math for ECCE, Grades 1 and 2 . This comprises of LOs, sub-LOs, quarter-wise real life based activities, and assessment questions

In-principle agreement to revise the Grade 1 and 2 timetable for the State

Program is for grades 1 to 8 with special focus on Gr 1,2 teachers. The first set of courses were launched launched in Feb’21

Received mandate for Mission Ankur

In-principle agreement to revise the Grade 1 and 2 timetable for the State Proposed time allocations for all the subjects have been tabled to the dept & are under review

Designed Student workbooks and teacher guides

15 weeks content based on structured pedagogy for FLN for use in the Innovation Districts. Approved by RSK and created for Grade 1 for use in AY 2020-21.

Collaborating Entities

FLN project in Gujarat


To strengthen Foundational Literacy and Numeracy delivery and outcomes by building system capacity to design, iterate and evaluate FLN solutions for state-wide application in Gujarat.




Ensuring that all stakeholders in the reform and delivery of education are aligned on importance of foundational learning outcomes and its measurement


Co-create a foundational learning programme contextualized to the state based on comprehensive evidence and best practices from within India and internationally

Institutionalise Monitoring
and Accountability

Establish constant and rigorous evaluation for course-correction and state owned accountability for the package.

Intended Impact of
the project:

Significant Student Learning Gains by Grade 3 against the FLN competencies

Institutionalisation and sustainability of the programme

Collaborating Entities

Funding & Strategic partner:

Central Square Foundation

Central Square Foundation (CSF) is a non-profit organization working with the vision of ensuring quality school education for all children in India. Since 2012, CSF has been partnering with the government, multilateral organizations, non-profit organizations and other ecosystem stakeholders to improve the learning outcomes of children, especially from low-income communities. CSF is driven by the mission that all children can and should achieve foundational reading and numeracy skills by class 3.

To achieve the foundational learning goal CSF intends to engage with government systems and form a coalition with NGO partners to identify and scale cost-effective solutions based on relevant pedagogical interventions, leveraging technology and key system enablers, as well as support disruptive innovations that can help improve learning in grades 1 and 2. On the lines of the National Education Policy recommendation, CSF believes that the highest priority must be accorded to ‘achieving universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary schools and beyond by 2025’.

Project Management Unit:

The Education Alliance

TEA to achieve its mission of building an ecosystem in which governments can strategically partner with mission oriented non-profit educational organisations to deliver high quality education, engages in five broad areas of work:

  • Dialogue with governments to design the frameworks for intervention,
  • Identify high-quality and mission-aligned non-profit partners to support governments in their Stated goals,
  • Set up a Project Management Unit to implement and oversee initiatives,
  • Conduct research to test the efficacy of the model, and
  • Build system’s capacity to sustain the intervention

Given the shared mission of both organisations, CSF and TEA have come together to work on the FLN program in the State of Gujarat.

Knowledge Partners:

Literacy partner - Language and Learning Foundation (LLF)

Literacy does not mean the mere ability to read a text. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society (UNESCO, 2004; 2017). Language and Learning Foundation’s goal is to influence classroom practice of more than 75,000 teachers and teacher educators in collaboration with state governments. This will impact the learning of more than 7,00,000 children in government schools. This is done through:

This is done through

Continuous professional

Courses and Workshops: Facilitate continuous professional learning of key stakeholders involved in the process of enhancing student learning

Technical support
for state projects

Comprehensive engagement with selected states including support to field-based projects aiming to bring about enhancement in children outcomes

Knowledge building
and sharing

Creating a variety of resources materials for resources persons and trainers to use in training programmes and teachers’ meetings.

  • Provide overall leadership and thought partnership
  • Support with M&E planning
  • Support with the financial resourcing of the project
  • Provide operational support for the ID program
  • Develop Class 1-2 pedagogical solution for Literacy contextualized to State instructional design
  • Design and conduct trainings needed for effective delivery of the program
  • Provide thought partnership and technical expertise for FLN cell initiatives
  • Develop Class 1-2 pedagogical solution for numeracy contextualized to State instructional design
  • Design and conduct trainings needed for effective delivery of the program
  • Provide thought partnership and technical expertise for FLN cell initiatives
  • Project Management Unit that will manage key government relationships
  • Set-up PMU structure to coordinate the state mission, hire State team on payroll and manage project delivery and performance
  • Lead sustainability initiatives (like setting up the FLN cell)