Q.Despite achieving a near universal enrolment in primary school education, India has not been able to ensure concurrent learning, as demonstrated by latest ASER report. Examine. (250 words).23 Jan, 2019 GS Paper 2 Social Justice
- Discuss the gaps in learning in India in primary education
- Discuss the reasons for this gap
- Examine the challenges and solutions that can be taken up to close this gap
- Overall, enrollment of children in the age group 6-14 is over 96%. It is attributed to various government schemes and programme like MID-DAY meal scheme.
- However, only 44.2% class 5 students studying in government schools can read class 2 level texts, according to the latest Annual Status of Education (ASER) report 2018.
In 2012, the then Planning Commission acknowledged for the first time that there was a problem with learning outcomes
Reasons for low learning
- No Detention Policy: Every child up to the age of fourteen is guaranteed free and compulsory education, and no child can be held back, expelled, or required to pass a board examination until grade 10. This has in part contributed to primary school enrollment rates of over 95 percent, but few students actually master basic reading and math.
- Unsatisfactory Teaching Standard: Lack of teachers and incompetency of teacher leads to Lack of Personalization.
- Stagnation and Wastage: Figures indicate that only 43 per cent of the students who join primary school complete the full course. Inadequacy and Unsuitability of reading materials, unattractive school buildings and difficult curriculum are some of the reasons responsible for not attracting sufficient number of children to schools.
- Lack of awareness and education on the part of students and the parents. They enroll in schools but attendance ratio is low. E.g. in UP, Bihar it is less than 60%.
- Increasing enrollment needs more quality educator.
- Poverty which forces students to work rather than attend classes.
- Teacher education: The lack of learning in India’s schools call for changes to teacher education. A collaboration between global best universities’ schools of education with Indian teacher training institutes could help build capacity and upgrade teacher education both in terms of curriculum and pedagogy.
- Model education: We need to define what good quality education is and what it means for every child in the classroom and raise the bar for what our education system should deliver.
- Need to focus on classroom practice: Teachers need to be equipped with the right training on effective techniques and they should be introduced to concepts such as differentiation, where each child learns according to his or her level.
- Building good assessment systems: Good assessments are useful at the classroom level for teachers to gauge their students’ understanding and also to inform policy.
- Resources: Currently spending on education is low in India, and stands at 3.4 percent of the GDP. There is a need for the government to increase spending on education
- All India figures suggest that from 2014 to 2018, there is a gradual improvement in both basic reading and math in many states. Need to build on this momentum and sustain improvements
- Helping children acquire skills of reading and basic math by the end of Std II or beginning of Std III will significantly reduce learning gaps in later stages.