A student’s mark sheet has become a “prestige sheet” for the family, and a “pressure sheet” for the child, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Friday as he called on parents and teachers to help wean education away from high-stakes tests.
Speaking on the new National Education Policy (NEP) released in July at a two-day seminar organised by the NCERT, Modi said that education in India is marks-driven and not learning-driven. The policy recognises this as a major drawback and focuses on moving education away from high-stakes tests and towards self-assessment and peer assessment, he said.
“Parents today do not ask their children what they have learned in school. Instead, they enquire about the marks scored in a test. The mark sheet has become the family’s prestige sheet and a pressure sheet for children. The National Education Policy’s main objective is to take children out of this mental pressure. The effort is to wean away from the high-stakes exam and promote self-assessment and peer-assessment instead,” he said.
Citing the example of countries ranking well in the Programme for International Student Assessment or PISA, Modi made a case for teaching students in their mother tongue at least up to Class 5.
“If you look at countries like Japan, Estonia, Finland that do well in PISA, all of them teach children in their mother tongue. Teaching in the mother tongue helps the child learn faster. When they are taught in any other language, they first translate the information into their mother tongue in their heads and then process it. This can be stressful for such young kids,” Modi said.
“Also, keeping the medium of instruction in school in a language other than the mother tongue creates a wall between parents and their children as the former cannot feel involved in their learning. This is why wherever possible the medium of instruction should be the mother tongue or local language at least till Class 5,” he said, adding that the NEP doesn’t prohibit learning of English or any other foreign language in school.
In video | Understanding NEP 2020 in 7 minutes
Speaking on the importance of improving the basic reading skills of students, the PM said that the journey from “learn to read” to “read to learn” can only be completed through the foundational literacy and numeracy plan mentioned in the NEP. “We have to ensure all children, who have passed Class 3, should read 30 to 35 words in a minute. This is called oral reading fluency. If we are able to do this, then the students will be able to understand the content of other subjects easily,” he said.
He also stressed on experiential learning saying that “engage, explore experience, express and excel” should be the mantra of school education. “Students should participate in projects as per their interest and explore topics based on their experience. This can be their personal experience or corroborative experience. This will help them tread the path of excellence.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines