Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Decline in education

Programme for International Standard Assessment (PISA) ratings and Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011 have shown fall in educational standards in many Indian schools. Standard V students are unable to read Standard II books. Similar is the fall in standard in arithmetics. Mostly it is the case of government schools in rural areas. Much has been made of mid-day meal scheme in schools and it is said that the scheme has ensured almost 100% attendance. It is no use if students have mid-day meals but do not gain knowledge.

Foolish policies followed by people in power are responsible for this situation. After the government banned detaining students who fail after the annual exam and made promotion to next standard upto Standard VIII obligatory there was decline in educational standards. Teachers lost interest in teaching. Students lost interest in studying. It is just a matter of three years before Standard VIII students are unable to read Standard II books. Some may not be able to read anything at all.

At one time there were public exams for Std IV or Std VII. Generations of students had gone through them. They were helpful in knowing standards of various schools and teachers taught and students studied. With abolition of exams came laxity in teaching. However there were annual exams conducted by schools. They maintained some standard. With their abolition it was downhill. In many schools there is absenteeism of teachers. In such schools if some students are able to read, write and do well in maths according to the class in which they study it may be due to their parents teaching at home.

Annual exams for all Standards and public exams for Std IV or Std VII should be brought back. There is need to detain students who do not qualify to go to next Standard. Without annual exams it becomes progressively more difficult for students. After spending years in schools they may be good for nothing. Admission for colleges in many cities is tough. For some colleges the cut-off percentage is 100%. Without annual exams students will not able to do well in Std X and consequently in higher education.

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