The state education department has launched a ‘school readiness programme’ for Class I students across all government schools in order to achieve good results in upper primary classes.
While the admission drive is under process which will continue till August 31, on an average, there are nearly 6.5 lakh students in Class I in nearly 33,000 government primary schools across the state.
Through a special curriculum framed for a three-week bridge course, which lays emphasis on what anganwadi centres misses out as the focus is more on health than education, the school readiness programme has been launched from this academic session that started in June.
The government has already conducted a test run in 100 government primary schools in districts of Naramada and Surat (city) with a mix of rural and urban students during academic session 2018-19.
Based on the test results and National Achievement Survey (NAS) framework, the curriculum for the programme has been framed by the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Quality Enhancement Cell of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and a non-government organisation Central Square Foundation (CSF).
“The concept of stressing on teaching and learning right from the first day a child comes to school in Class I should be done away with. Most of the times, a child in a government school comes without going to a pre-school or an anganwadi centre. We will be able to achieve desirable results in Class VIII only when the foundation is strong. So, first we need to develop their motor skills and introduce them to language and mathematics in a fun way,” said principal secretary, education, Vinod Rao.
In addition to the existing curriculum, government school teachers will include this programme at the first one hour for 21 days. Activity books have been prepared for both students and teachers.
Adding to the objective behind launching this programme, GCERT director T S Joshi said since the National Education Policy (NEP) also lays focus on the foundation learning, it has been on a mission mode in the state. “A similar framework is there since 1997, but its proper implementation was not done by the teachers. But the outcome of this 21-day programme will be evaluated at the end of the programme and academic session.”
The outcome of the pilot study revealed that students were regular to school unlike previously where the rate of absenteeism among Class I students was high. Also, the feeling among students and their parents that they have to study and teachers will help them in that was strengthened.
“A strong sense of discipline and etiquette was observed among these students which otherwise was difficult to develop. Significant changes were noticed among them when teaching was made fun through games, rhymes, stories, theme-based conversation, drawings and activities,” said Dharmesh Ramanuj, one of the curriculum committee members.
The state government has also approved the introduction of international assessment tools, Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Mathem-atics Assessment (EGMA) for Class I students. This is expected to help teachers in understanding students’ capabilities and thus acco-rdingly frame remedial teaching.