India, Oct. 10 -- When the draft National Education Policy (NEP) was released earlier this year, there was a lot of discussion on its different aspects: It's ideological agenda, the proposed National Education Commission (which may be dropped now), and its excessive focus on education bureaucracy. Unfortunately, one of draft NEP's key recommendations ---- foundational learning (FLN) ---- was not discussed in the media at length, even though several reports show that close to 50% children lack in basic literacy and numeracy skills, despite spending five years in school.

The draft NEP calls for achieving foundational skills ---- reading, writing and arithmetic --- for all children in primary school, and beyond by 2025, to become a national...