Falling standard of elementary education in Kashmir

In the recently held exams for class 8th at least 49 schools got less than 50 % results; not a single student qualified in 12 schools

Syed Rizwan Geelani
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 9 2018 10:29PM | Updated Date: Dec 9 2018 10:29PM
Falling standard of elementary education in KashmirRepresentational pic

While poor performance of government schools at secondary and senior secondary level has been cause of concern for many years standard of elementary education is also falling in government schools. The recent results for class 8th and 9th exams, which were declared by State Institute of Education (SIE) Kashmir, present a grim picture. As per the results, 49 schools have got below 50 percent results while as 12 schools have zero percent results, posing a major challenge for school education department to fix loopholes in prevailing elementary education system. As many as 87253 students- 44792 from government and 42461 from private schools had appeared in class 8th exams. A total of 81243 students - 39895 from government schools and 41348 from private schools qualified the exam. While performance of private school has increased, more than 5609 students have been shown as “potential learners”. Potential learners are the students who fail to qualify exams and are supposed to take remedial classes during winter months to be conducted by respective schools. Later, a separate exam is conducted for these students after reopening of schools post winter vacations. As per the policy, the students get elevated to next grade if they qualify the second exam otherwise they remain in the same grade for one more year. The process is part of the continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) introduced by the department from 2015 after the department decided to do away with the No Detention Policy wherein no student was failed up to class 10th. “But the issue is that the teachers don’t take remedial classes seriously and promote the students in the second exam irrespective of their performance. This is being done to avoid any departmental action against the teacher. But these students again perform poorly in class 9th exams,” an official in school education department said. There is an urgent need to improve and overhaul the teaching systems at the elementary level. The quality of elementary education in J&K state been a cause of concern for quite some time as the surveys conducted at national level have depicted grim picture of learning outcomes of students in government schools. In wake of poor learning level of students in government run schools as depicted by various national level surveys like Annual State Education Report (ASER), National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) and National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted by NCERT, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had asked state government to engage some NGOs to improve learning outcome levels among students in government schools. “But the situation at primary and middle level is still grim with no improvement in learning outcomes of the students,” an official said. The poor performance of students in lower classes is being attributed to dearth of trained teachers working in schools at elementary level. There is a lack of enough skilled trainers and preparation to develop skills, abilities and attitudes to teach students. Even as the MHRD is allocating crores of rupees to schools for academic excellence, the department has failed to utilize these funds and improve education indicators at elementary level. In September, state project director, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, Tufail Ahmad Matto flayed the education department authorities for ‘failing’ to utilise the funds under various schemes aimed at achieving “positive student learning outcomes”. He said the MHRD allocates funds for uplifting education in the state after strenuous efforts put by Samagra directorate but it “pains to see the funds lying unspent”. “There are funds available to fix our education system but these funds are not being spent by CEOs, principals of higher secondary schools, DIETs, ZEOs and other heads of institutions,” he had said. Director school education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo said they have asked the chief education officers (CEOs) to put the teachers under suspension who have produced poor results. “Those having zero and below percent result will be placed under suspension and department will withhold increment of the teachers who have below 50 percent results in class 8th,” he said, adding the teachers won’t be reinstated or given increment unless they improve the results. “We have fixed an academic planner for potential learners through SIE. Their classes will be conducted during winter months separately in the schools where we have set up winter tutorials,” he said. He said the re-examination of these students will be held in last week of February. Itoo however said performance of schools has improved over the years as number of schools with below 50 percent result has reduced to 49 from 110 compared to last year.

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