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Dismal learning outcome

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Jun 2017 12:00 AM GMT

The HSLC results this year have already shown how government schools in the State are struggling, and now the bleak scerio in primary education levels stands revealed in the Gunotsav report card. This survey in April covered 12,000 plus lower and upper primary government schools in 8 districts; over 7 lakh students were assessed as to what they have been learning. Overall, 43 percent of the students lack basic knowledge of their syllabus, says Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. At lower primary level, around half (48 percent) the students cannot write the alphabets; nearly 37 percent students of upper primary level got lowest D grade with scores between 0 to 48. These figures translate to large numbers of students simply not benefiting from instruction in State-run, vercular medium schools. On school basis, 25 percent or one-fourth of schools assessed received A+ and A grades, while 50 percent or half the schools have been found under-performing with C and D grades. The Education minister has attributed poor performance by schools to lack of teachers, with 267 single teacher schools in worst performing West Karbi Anglong district alone and Hailakandi district not faring much better with 241 such schools. Hundreds of crores have been spent on Education, but school infrastructure remain woeful in this State — 5,568 schools need new classrooms while 3,670 require classroom repair in just the eight districts covered. The picture is not likely to be much different once the second phase of Gunotsav gets going in September this year to cover 19,000 plus schools in 12 districts. But it will be instructive to learn about the district-wise imbalance in the second phase, with the first phase showing up West Karbi Anglong, Hailakandi, Chirang, Barpeta and Lakhimpur districts in poor light. As for remedial measures, it is right and proper that school report cards will be shared with teachers and school magements as well as parents and community members. The government, after all, will be hard put to put up funds in the coming years for failing schools shunned by students and guardians. All stakeholders will need to take a hard look at how the neighbourhood government school is performing and think of corrective action. The Education minister has spoken about remedial coaching for under-performing students as well as remedial courses for teachers, ‘ratiolization’ of teachers (meaning their reshuffle in terms of school requirement) and Rs 1,000 crore to upgrade school infrastructure and appoint new teachers. Now that Assam government has begun Gunotsav exercise on the lines of Gujarat (where the 7th edition was conducted this year) by involving senior bureaucrats for exterl evaluation, it has a working idea why things are not working out for State-run schools. There will be little excuse in future for waffling or sitting over much needed reforms in school education in the State. The present dispensation at the Centre has made it clear that educatiol schemes will be judged only on the basis of concrete learning outcomes, be it Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA) or other schemes.

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