Primary education: Schemes do little, state has miles to go

GCERT research for 2013-’14: Average score of Class III-VIII students was 45.18%

Written by RITU SHARMA | Ahmedabad | Updated: March 13, 2016 3:15 am

Former chief minister Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government had launched several schemes — Shala Praveshotsav, Gunotsav and Kanya Kelavani — to better the standard of education in government schools. Despite these initiatives, an assessment has found that the average score of students from Class III to VIII in the academic session that ended in 2014, was only 45.18%. The research project, sponsored by Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) in Gandhinagar, called “Gujarat State Level Learning Achievement Survey (GSLAS)” notes in its 552-page report, a copy of which is with The Sunday Express, “Gujarat has miles to go for achieving expected level in primary education particularly from Class III to VIII”.

In all 2.44 lakh students of government schools were put through a written test in all subjects of both semesters to assess their achievement levels under this project. The results were shocking. No class scored above 50 per cent, Classes III, IV and VIII were marginally above the state average of 45.18 per cent. Class III scored 47.11 per cent, Class IV, 49.14 per cent and Class VIII, 47.54 per cent.

The research conducted for the academic session 2013-14, the report for which, after detailed data collection and analysis, was submitted at the end of 2015, further states that students failed to achieve mastery level — which is 80 per cent students scoring 75 per cent — in any of the subject, across classes and semesters. The project had three parameters to assess “achievement” where 75 per cent was designated as the highest as it was at the Minimum Level of Learning (MLL). The second was 50 per cent and finally, 35 per cent which was selected given that it is the traditional pass class across schools.

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Taking teachers’ experience into consideration an achievement of 50 per cent was taken as “practical level” for primary school children in the present situation. Replicating the Gujarat Achievement at Primary (GAP) surveys of the 1998-99 in order to analyse the expectation of academic achievement in the context of the minimum level of learning on the national level, the G-SLAS was conducted on the lines of the National Achievement Survey.

The report recommended: “The average achievement level of Gujarat is not up to the satisfactory level. It can be strengthened by the capacity building programme at grass-root level through in-service training programme for all stakeholders of the primary education in Gujarat, particularly, pedagogy part and delivery of content in the classroom. A separate study related to quality of in-service training and its impact should be carried out to make IST more effective. The monitoring part must be strengthened.”

The report further states that a scientific and prejudice free academic audit scheme must be evolved to be implemented for teachers. “If possible, it may be connected with some incentives so that teachers may start to work hard,” it says in the concluding remarks. The report has observed that the achievement levels of primary school students was not fair and the state has to put more and more efforts for achieving high levels.

The principal investigator of this report R D Mulia, former head of the Department of Education, Gujarat University was appointed by the GCERT. When contacted, Mulia declined to give any information about the report. “The G-SLAS provides important inputs and feedback to the state and it is going to be replicated at the national level with the National Achievement Survey through (NCERT). It was Gujarat that started with the achievement surveys in 1990s. Now, to bring a standardisation into the technique and test papers, NCERT is developing a framework,” said GCERT director T S Joshi. The sample size spanned across both semesters over 2.44 lakh students from Classes III-VIII in government schools across all districts.

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