5 crore elementary grade students in India lack foundational literacy and numeracy
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According to the “Annual Status of Education Report” (ASER) published by “Pratham”( a non-profit organization), there is a large-scale prevalence of learning deficit and severe handicap in essential reading and arithmetic skills among elementary school students (Classes I-VIII). In a day and age when we are clamoring for implementing online education across all schools, this stark jolt of reality forces us to rethink our outlook towards education, both at the policy level and at the implementation level. We, as a country, still have a long way to go in ensuring improved quality of education in India.
This blog addresses steps that schools can take to alleviate this situation:
1. Competency-based learning rather than rote Learning
The majority of schools in India focus primarily on completing the syllabus for the periodic examinations scheduled for the academic year. This is commonly accomplished by rote-based learning without any care for outcome-based learning. This is a critical factor for younger children in grades 1-3. In grades 1-3, the learning is very foundational. The skills that children learn in these grades are critical in higher grades.
Rote learning does get the job done in these grades, but a better approach is using outcome-based learning. Outcome-based learning is an educational theory that links each part of the educational system to clear outcomes (goals). This approach requires that after teaching, each student should have achieved the goal. Even the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recognizes and stresses the need for a shift from rote learning to outcome-based learning. NEP 2020 also recommends this shift be not just in the curriculum and pedagogy but also in the assessment design.
2. Remedial programs based on student needs
An average classroom consists of a mix of students of various learning backgrounds and abilities. When such classrooms are taught without any heed to the students’ varied abilities, some students inevitably face a learning gap. In addition, this gap keeps increasing with each successive year.
To correct this, schools need to identify students whose learning is below satisfactory levels. Secondly, they must undertake rigorous remedial programs that are designed specially to cater to the requirements of identified students.
National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also recommends conducting focused Foundational Literacy & Numeracy (FLN), which ensures all students complete grade-level competencies at the foundational level (grades 1-3).
3. Teacher training
Sadly, many teachers in our country are not sufficiently competent in the subject they teach. Many teachers are found to score less than 60-70% in critical question papers of their subjects. In a country as huge as ours, this happens due to many reasons like the varied educational background of teachers, varied exposure levels that they get, etc.
An easy way to deal with such discrepancies is conducting teacher training at regular time intervals in the school itself. Such training sessions should be conducted for every subject. There are many free online resources for such training, like the CSE teacher training website. A focus on teacher training in India is essential if we are to improve the learning experience of students.
In conclusion, implementing the suggestions of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 to move towards outcome-based learning will take long sustained effort, not only by the schools but by the teachers as well. With collaborative efforts, schools and teachers will be able to reduce the figure of “5 crores” elementary grade students that lack foundational literacy and numeracy.
We, at LEAD, empower teachers to drive visible learning outcomes in students. The LEAD TMA (Teacher Mobile App) is an LMS as well as a dedicated teacher training app. It is a one-stop solution for all our hardworking educators. The teachers of LEAD Powered Schools can easily conduct and evaluate assessments, get detailed student attendance reports, resolve student doubts and do much more using the app. LEAD Academy integrated with the Teacher App helps transform every teacher into a ‘Super Teacher’ with various certification courses. These certification courses give them a chance to train and upskill themselves in various aspects of their career.
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