New Ideas required for improved learning at Schools

While everyone acknowledges the success of enrollment achieved (as high as 96% in some states), however most of us are also aware of the decline in learning standards in India, which ASER survey identified (earlier covered by SRRF visit ). There have been a few experiments undertaken by NGOs in Gujarat, which could provide indicators on how the problem could be tackled. These have been covered in an article published recently in Indian Express.

First the context, ASER survey identified that in rural Ahemdabad 41% in classes I & II are unable to read letters or words, and 35% cannot recognize numbers 1-9. The ASER Report also identifies that children in private school were much better off. For example, it found that while in Govt schools only 13% of Class III could subtract, in private schools it was 34%. Some have argued that comparing govt schools with private is not fair, since private schools being more expensive, normally would attract students from more educated and privileged background.

Hence a comparison for 2009-2010 was made between non-formal free schools run by an NGO called Gyanshala in slums of Ahemdabad and schools run by Ahemdabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). In similar tests for language and mathematics Gyanshala students scored 80 out of 100 while AMC students scored only around 60. However for non-standard questions (for which students were not tutored) difference was huge (70-80% for Gyanshala students and 20-30% for AMC students).

Gyanshala’s instruments for reaching these results include hiring of 12th pass students and train them intensively for 30 days annually. Further they are regularly supervised and supported by a dedicated team and curriculum regularly updated. This keeps teachers motivated and students also eager to learn.

Perhaps there is a lesson in this for education authorities on how to find innovative solutions. Perhaps CSR professionals need to identify how their programmes could help in filling these gaps in government school programmes, rather than running their own schools for a larger impact.

  • Based on an Indian Express article dt. 20 Sep 2014Schooled Against Innovation


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