MP prescribes ways to perk up education sector

MP prescribes ways to perk up education sector

ITANAGAR, Oct 4: The Member of Parliament from Arunachal East Constituency, Ninong Ering has written to Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on the issue of detailed assessment of National Achievement Survey-2017 against his home constituency before suggesting several measures to improve the education scenario.

To assess the learning levels of the students in classes 3, 5 and 8  National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) had conducted the National Achievement Survey (NAS) in February 2017 in which  approximately 22 lakh children across the country participated. NAS at the elementary level was based on the Learning Outcomes developed by the NCERT. The design and implementation of the survey included in its ambit the school leaders, teachers and the whole network of officials at the Cluster, Block, District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and the Directorates of Education in different States/ UTs.

On assessment of the data provided by the MHRD on NAS-2017, the MP said, it has been observed that performance of students of Arunachal Pradesh is significantly below than the national average – in both language and mathematics. Gender wise, performance of both boys and girls in the state is less than the national average in both language and mathematics. 30% students across the grades find it difficult to travel to school. Also, 22% of teachers opined that they are overloaded with work while 27% are highly satisfied with their jobs.

Clearly, Arunachal Pradesh hasn’t kept up with the national aggregates across different parameters such as gender and area and needs attention in education sector to reach a minimum average level of learning. Thus, further investigation reveals the following key issues:

In districts like Tirap, Changlang, Siang, Lohit and Lower Dibang Valley girls have either performed equal to or better than boys. But in districts like East Siang, Longding, Anjaw, Namsai and Upper Siang girls have scored lesser than boys – an issue which is to be addressed. This might be happening due to a variety of reasons such as inability to attend classes regularly because of disinterest of parents or inability to travel to school due to lack of proper transportation and safety.

Except in Siang, in all other districts Govt aided schools have shown better performance than Govt-run schools. Permanence of adequate number of teachers in Govt aided schools and regular classes are the reason why there are a number of issues with the working mechanisms of govt schools. Legislators often interfere in transfer of teachers and sometimes, many teachers are transferred without sending relievers causing shortage of teachers.

As many as 254 schools in the state are non-functional as of now. Also, in a situation of shortage of teachers, 1 teacher must teach more subjects leading to decreased efficiency due to fatigue and lack of expertise in other subjects. Schemes such as Mid-Day Meal are not implemented properly. Food gets delivered very irregularly. Stagnation of funds from State Govt for school maintenance and teachers is another issue.

In districts such as Longding, Lohit, Anjaw, Tirap and Namsai, rural areas are at par or better than urban areas’ performance but in most of the areas like Changlang, Siang, East Siang, Upper Siang, Lower Dibang Valley and Dibang Valley, rural areas’ performance is lower than urban ones. This can be attributed to shortage of teachers in rural areas which makes teaching improper and irregular and/or lack of proper infrastructure of school buildings or road connectivity due to which students attend school irregularly. During NAS, 52% teachers responded that school buildings need significant repair. Many others revealed there’s a lack of drinking water facilities, adequate toilet facilities and electricity.

Across the districts, a general pattern is traced that STs have performed fair and well. General category students’ performance varies from district to district while OBCs and SCs are usually not well performing.

To address the prevailing issues, the MP suggested: A better rewarding and reinforcing scheme for girls should be put into place to encourage them to attend school. For example, each girl with attendance above 90% in a year will be awarded with a certain optimum amount of cash prize. More awareness for girl child education should be taken up by Govt through advertisements.

Teachers should be strictly scrutinized and ordered by education officers to use gender neutral pedagogy and pay equal, unbiased attention towards all students.

Rationalisation of transfers should be done wherein the discretion of legislators in the transfer of teachers be minimised by ensuring transferring teachers according to a prescribed set of rules which takes in account experience, seniority and performance of a teacher.

Posting of teachers should be done in a manner that each school gets the minimum required number of teachers to manage and run the school. Transfers should be done from areas of surplus to that of deficit of teachers. In schools with more students, if possible, more teachers should be placed to ensure an optimum level of student teacher ratio. This will help in providing adequate attention to students.

Revision of funds to be allocated should be done in frequent intervals such as that of a year for the schools to get adequate money for maintenance.

Creative methods of teaching like story-telling, dramatics, project and model-based learning can be used. Science labs, computer labs and libraries should be made and properly maintained. Digitising classrooms is also an important move in developing interest and quick learning.

The MP said these suggestions will help shaping the reforms and further endeavours of the state in ensuring better level of learning in students and a healthy education system, overall.

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