Foundational Literacy takes centre stage at the SERI summit organized by Room to Read India, USAID, and RTI

New Delhi- March 07, 2023: To assess critical elements of foundational literacy, understand systemic requirements to sustain literacy gains at scale, and comprehend how the Scaling-up Early Reading Intervention (SERI) project could act as a reference for literacy understanding and instruction across multilingual scenarios, Room to Read India, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and RTI International organized a two-day national summit in the capital.

Room to Read India, with the support of USAID, has been running the SERI project since 2015. It is a broad and large-scale early-grade reading program to enhance reading outcomes among children in government-run primary schools across the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Telangana.

Access to quality childhood education is a basic right for all children. To fast-track the process of achieving universal foundational literacy and numeracy, the Government of India launched the ambitious NIPUN Bharat Mission in 2021. Incorporating the theme “Foundational Literacy at Scale – Learnings from SERI”, the summit served as a strategic platform for sharing experiences, learnings, challenges, and achievements from the SERI initiative. The summit brought together education experts, policymakers, and other important stakeholders under one roof.

The recently launched second edition of the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) Report by the Institute for Competitiveness (IFC) was presented during the summit. The Report decodes the role of language in education and focuses on the fundamental concepts of FLN ; it also highlights specific FLN challenges encountered in a multilingual environment. The report is expected to act as a vital benchmark for states and union territories to assess their progress towards achieving universal foundational learning by 2026-27. A presentation of the report was made by Dr. Amit Kapoor, Founder, Institute for Competitiveness.

”Building on our commitment to foundational learning, the SERI summit created an exemplary platform for experts and stakeholders to convey valuable insights and collaborate towards accomplishing universal foundational literacy and numeracy. SERI, which initially began in four Indian states, namely Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, has now grown to include Telangana and Rajasthan. It has reached over 900,000 children in more than 2600 primary schools, creating a powerful impact through improving reading outcomes among early-grade children. The summit is an important step in our mission of strengthening gender equality and primary education’’ said Mr Sourav Banerjee, Country Director, Room to Read India.

“At USAID, we have always recognized the role of Education, which is foundational to societies, and one of the highest-return development investments that countries can make. Since 2015, USAID has been supporting our partner, Room to Read India, to implement an effective model for improving reading outcomes among primary-grade children. SERI is an innovative approach for scaling NGO-led interventions through the government system.” said Mark Tegenfeldt, Director, General Development Office, USAID/India.

USAID has been a long-standing development partner of Room to Read and has supported them in designing evidence-based solutions to enhance educational outcomes across the country.

The two-day event also witnessed eminent experts engaging in a wide range of panel discussions. The event is expected to benefit stakeholders to learn and replicate best practices from the SERI project in their respective states.

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