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THE HRD Ministry has amended the rules under the Right to Education (RTE) Act to make it compulsory for all state governments to codify expected levels of learning which students in Classes I to VIII should achieve in different subjects.
A common practice globally, this is the first time that learning indicators will be used in India to assess children. Learning outcomes are assessment standards which help teachers to understand the learning levels of students in their respective classes, individually as well as collectively.
The amendment of Rule 23 (2) was announced through a gazette notification on February 20. According to this notification, all states, except Jammu and Kashmir, will have to prepare “class-wise, subject-wise learning outcomes for all elementary classes” and also devise “guidelines for putting into practice continuous and comprehensive evaluation, to achieve the defined learning outcomes.”
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Ministry sources said the state governments will be expected to draft their learning outcomes within a month, based on the document prepared by the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT), which was released on January 17 for public feedback. The NCERT learning indicators have been finalised for seven subjects — English, Hindi, Urdu, Mathematics, EVS (Environmental Science), Science and Social Sciences.
In the NCERT document, learning indicators in writing for a Class I student assess not just the student’s ability to recognise letters A to Z, but also his/ her ability to carry out simple instructions such as ‘shut the door’, ‘bring me the book’.
In Class II, a student should be able to compose and write simple, short sentences with space between words. The levels have been gradually increased so that by Class VIII, a student can not only read and write, but also use his/ her faculties to read between the lines, understand new concepts, and explore and read other areas of knowledge.
“The states are free to tweak the NCERT document and draft tougher learning outcomes. However, the NCERT learning indicators cannot be diluted. They have to be adopted as the basic minimum learning outcome to be achieved by all students,” said a ministry official, who did not want to be named.
The HRD Ministry also plans to rope in a third-party organisation to measure learning outcomes of students in private and public schools starting this year.
The gazette notification has come within a month of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget announcement in February. The decision to codify learning outcomes was first made at the meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education, the highest advisory body on education, last year.