- Undeniably, the children are the future of any nation irrespective of its global standing or any such measuring parameters usually associated with the issue. None would refute this fact. To realize the true potential of the children to make them stand up to the rigors of the contemporary world challenges, the government authorities are expected to leave no stone unturned in ensuring every aspect of provisioning adequate steppingstones are diligently pursued. One such irrefutable factor is the education system which should be holistic, pragmatic, modern-oriented, contemporary, and flexible enough to adapt to dynamically evolving subjects without any prejudice.
PC: Prof Naidu Ashok
- Likewise, lacking substance vis-à-vis an adequate education system would be a sure sign of going nowhere. Needless to mention, the Indian education system is still a work in progress struggling to stay relevant in comparison to other countries as well as notching up impressive recognition amongst its peers on this front. Worryingly, two years of the pandemic-induced school closure has rendered the education sector struggling to cope with the learning challenges in the absence of regular offline pedagogy. This came out in the open recently as news reports mention a graver concern in the way students receive school education as they progress to higher grades.
- It appears the longer students get a school education the worse they can do, seems to be a brutal fact, going by the National Achievement Survey 2021. Delving further into the large-scale assessment of classes 3,5,8, and 10 conducted last November shows that average performance keeps declining up the class ladder. For instance, the average math score declines from 57% to 44%, 36%, and 32%, respectively. Scores not only trend down as children go to higher classes, but they have also come down in general since the last survey in 2017. Disconcertingly, the Class 3 national average of math scores which is 57% now, was 64% then.
PC: digitalLEARNING Network
- Indeed, the trend suggests something is clearly not right. One commonsensical explanation is that the higher the class the more complex the subject matter, and therefore the need for advanced pedagogic skills to deliver lessons effectively. Mind you, without appropriate support and training, teachers will fall even more out of step with senior students’ learning levels and needs. The moot point to ponder over here is how much of all this is the pandemic effect? While 25% of sampled schools do suffer from a lack of parental support in student learning, and 28% of sampled students lack access to digital devices at home, the key metric is that a thumping 80% say that they learn better in school where peers are there to help.
- Almost perversely, an impressive 97% of teachers report job satisfaction, quite out of step with teaching outcomes. Nonetheless, the NAS survey is pointing to a systemic problem that is above and beyond specific pandemic challenges, particularly as it is designed to assess competency-based skills rather than rote learning. Since young Indians’ future readiness is at stake here, the education authorities and policymakers should rework their strategies to propel our pedagogic system broadly based on a modern-day technology-driven outlook. Maintaining the status quo would spell greater trouble for young minds. It’s time to act, and now.