WHEN EVALUATED on their overall academic performance, 20.31 lakh students of Class VI to VIII in Gujarat could only answer a little above half of the questions. As per the state-wide government’s recent evaluation exercise aimed at improving results of over 34,000 government primary schools, the state average result of upper-primary classes came out to be only 53.4 per cent.
Surprisingly, despite six attempts of improving the results through Gunotsav I till VI, this state average performance indicator revealed in the latest version of Gunotsav could only reach of 53.4 per cent and was exactly the same as previous Gunotsav (V). There was no change in the learning levels of upper-primary classes between Gunotsav V and VI. The average of lower classes was around 70 per cent. The evaluation is divided into three categories: academic, performance of co-curricular activities and performance at optimum utilisation of resources and public participation.
Gunotsav VI conducted from January 7 to 9 across the state of 52.04 lakh students enrolled in 34,239 government-run primary schools where for the first-time Class VI till VIII students were evaluated on their reading, writing and mathematical or numerical skills as well.
When compared with the previous Gunotsav, an increase of only 2.35 per cent was witnessed in the overall education evaluation that constitutes 60 per cent of the evaluation exercise. Raising questions on the methodology used by school teachers and the external evaluators who are education department officials, bureaucrats, MLAs and even ministers, there were variation in the results between both of these.
For the first-time this year, despite both self and external evaluation were conducted simultaneously, there was variation between self and external evaluation of both upper- and lower-primary classes, across all parameters. Across results, external evaluation declined from self evaluation, the maximum variation in marks in Class VI to VIII subjects.
High-rate of absenteeism
Another revelation that came out in this report was the high number of students who remained absent during the this three-day evaluation exercise. While on an average, 8 to 9 per cent of the total strength of a particular Class in the state was absent, the maximum number of students did not take this evaluation in the highest class – Class VIII. Out of a total strength of 52,04,026 students in 34,239 government schools, a total number of 4,72,683 students remained absent in the state. Among these, 11.02 per cent or 78,293 students remained absent across Class VIII in the state. Thus, the state average of rate of absent students was 9.08%
Maximum schools scored 4-6 grades
As many as 11,446 or 46.79 per cent schools out of total 24,436 upper-primary schools were graded in 4-6 bracket. While under the highest grade of 8-10 grade, there were only 1,335 schools that constitute only 5.46 per cent.
While, on the state average, including both lower- and upper-primary schools (34,239), maximum number of schools were in B and C category-15,726 schools. B grade (6.1-7.4) schools and 8,709 schools in the C grade (4.8-6.1).
As many as 1,800 D grade schools which is below 4.8 grade. In lower-primary classes (from Class II till V) an increase of only 2.8 per cent in mathematical skills as compared to Gunotsav V, while reading and writing skills increased by only 6.5 and 6.2 per cent, respectively.
Tribal districts trail
Tribal districts in both lower- and upper-primary classes declined from the previous rankings. In Class II to V, out of 33 total districts, 18 districts below state average of 7.24. Among these tribal districts of Dahod declined from previous Gunotsav rankings. Similarly, in overall evaluation, Class VI to VIII, 19 districts were below the state average of 5.34.
In this too tribal district of Dang declined from previous Gunotsav rankings. When taken category wise, 18 districts below state average of 7.43 in Class VI till VIII in reading writing and maths evaluation. While the state capital Gandhinagar is not only below state evaluation average in overall district rankings, it is also below when it comes to reading, writing and mathematical skills of Class VI to VIII students.