Under the Delhi government’s Mission Buniyaad scheme to improve learning levels, the Nishta group — which has students that cannot read or write class-appropriate text — will have different exams and syllabus. The Directorate of Education notified the same for students of classes VI-VIII, in a circular dated August 2.
However, teachers are sceptical if such selective teaching and assessment will help the children. “We have already divided them into different groups… giving them different sets of papers could psychologically affect the child,” said an English teacher, who did not wish to be named.
In 2016, the government had launched ‘Chunauti 2018’, after a baseline assessment found that 74% of students in class VI couldn’t read a Class II textbook. Under this scheme, children were divided into groups — Pratibha, for those who could read and write as per their grade, and Nistha, for those who could not.
In April this year, Chunauti was extended as Mission Buniyaad and included children from classes III-VIII and also covered MCD schools. Schools were asked to divide children into four groups: New Nishta (those unable to recognise Hindi letters, and numbers); Nishta (those who cannot read words, don’t know counting, addition, subtraction); New Pratibha (those unable to comprehend Hindi matras, multiplication, division); and Pratibha (those who can read and write). The scheme was extended till July 30.
After it ended, an analysis showed that in Class VI, 48.7% of the total 1,67,248 students could read age-appropriate text. In Class VII, the number stood at 61% of 1,84,325 students; and in Class VIII, 67.9% of 1,89,409 students could read grade-appropriate text.
As per the circular, heads of schools have been told that children under the Nishta group will be not be taught the entire syllabus. “For the first term — till the mid-term exam in September 2018 — the number of topics to be covered have been significantly reduced,” it said.
Principals have also been told that no student from any group should be moved to Pratibha, as “students in Pratibha have already covered significant portion of the syllabus”.
On assessment, the circular states, “The assessment paper for students, particularly the Nishta group, during mid-term, will have questions from limited topics. Emphasis will be on assessing reading, understanding and ability to write a response.”