(Written by Alifiya Nalwala)
As one national survey after another finds the quality of primary education and understanding of basic concepts dropping among students in the state, mapping the same at the state level is now at the top of the agenda for the newly sworn-in state government.
Officials at the Education department confirm that a state-level meeting had taken place a few weeks ago where it was decided to conduct a State Achievement Survey, on the lines of the National Achievement Survey.
This is probably the first time that such a survey will be carried out, said Vishal Solanki, commissioner (education), Maharashtra. “We had a state-level consultation with ministers and Education Department officials, where this was decided. We plan to conduct the survey by the end of this year and work has already begun at the State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) in this direction,” he said.
Asked for more details, he said the plan was still being worked on. However, the evaluation and assessment parameters are expected to be the same as those in NAS, with language and mathematics, critical thinking and so on to be assessed.
In the recent past, Maharashtra, whose NAS score was once higher than the national average in learning outcomes, has received one setback after another. In the latest School Education Quality Index (SEQI) ratings released in September 2019, the state has dropped three ranks in 2016-2017 compared to 2015-2016, with Gujarat and even Himachal Pradesh marching ahead.
The NAS was last conducted in 2017 and it revealed a decreasing rate of understanding of basic concepts among students in the state from Class III to Class VIII.
“At the state level, we have conducted baseline tests for the last few years, which gives us a basic understanding of how we are faring and also where we are lacking. While tests are conducted diligently and many districts are carrying out the evaluation at their level, and so are some NGOs, not every district is working on the post analysis. I agree we need to do it more diligently. The SAS should help bridge the gap,” said Solanki.
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