The policy and practice of early literacy acquisition in the akshara languages

Authored by: Shaher Banu Vagh , Sonali Nag , Rukmini Banerji

The Routledge International Handbook of early Literacy Education

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138787889
eBook ISBN: 9781315766027
Adobe ISBN: 9781317659204


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India is a country of many pluralities as reflected in its linguistic, geographic, religious, cultural and socioeconomic diversity. All of this poses significant challenges for its education system, which spans the spectrum from high-fee-charging privately managed schools to publicly funded government schools. Some schools along this spectrum are partially aided and some are not recognized by education authorities. Typically, the high-cost private schools provide English as the primary language of instruction, while government schools are more varied, offering instruction in one of the Indian languages and English. Even though in recent years there has been an increase in ‘affordable’ low-cost private schools, government schools continue to provide schooling to the majority of India’s children (ASER Centre, 2014). These schools, catering to the most disadvantaged amongst the urban and rural poor, are bogged down with systemic issues of poor infrastructure, inadequate teaching–learning resources and prevalence of multi-grade classrooms run by teachers only trained for mono-grade services. 1 It is therefore noteworthy that by focusing on the pedagogy of reading and writing in the akshara languages in the Indian government schools, our discussion inevitably becomes linked to issues of socioeconomic ‘disadvantage’.

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