NAS 2021: Improving learning outcomes in schools

J&K students have fared above national average in several performance benchmarks, indicating their passion to study and excel. They only need better facilities and exposure
NAS 2021: Improving learning outcomes in schools
"The competency-based test questions reflect the learning outcomes developed by NCERT which were recently incorporated in the RTE Act by the Government of India." Special arrangement

The National Achievement (NAS)-2021 conducted by NCERT in November 2021 has come up with encouraging results wherein the J&K students have excelled and scored above the national average score on several parameters.

The performance of students has remained above national average in terms of answering the questions asked during the survey conducted by National Council of Education Research and Trainings (NCERT) under the aegis of the Ministry of Education (MoE), throughout the country for classes 3, 5, 8 and 10 in government, government-aided schools, private recognised and central government schools.

NAS-2021 focused on competency-based assessment and the survey tools used multiple test booklets with 50 questions in Classes 3 and 5, 60 questions in Class 8, 70 questions in Class 10 in Mathematics, Language, Sciences, Environmental Studies and Social Sciences.

The competency-based test questions reflect the learning outcomes developed by NCERT which were recently incorporated in the RTE Act by the Government of India.

Along with the test items, questionnaires about students, teachers and schools were also used. The National survey has revealed that the J&K students have achieved learning outcomes above the national average.

The latest revelations of the NAS-2021 has proved that the J&K students have performed fairly well in achieving learning outcomes despite their education being hit with Covid-19 pandemic for the last two years.

The results are indeed encouraging and we must give all the credit to the dedicated staff in government as well as private educational institutions who gave all their efforts to prepare the students in all the subjects despite facing all odds due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in the last two years.

NAS is a national level large-scale assessment conducted to obtain Information about the learning achievement of students of Classes 3, 5, 8 and 10 studying in government schools, government aided schools, private unaided and Central government schools. NAS does not provide scores for individual students and schools.

As per the national level survey, around 79256 students and 16260 teachers of class 3rd from 3650 schools participated in the survey. The students have scored above 300 points out of 500 in languages, mathematics and Environmental Science subjects.

In languages the male students have scored 65 points out of 100 and female students have scored 68 points out of 100 against the national average of performance for boys and girls at 61 and 68 points to answer the questions correctly.

Similarly in Mathematics, boys and girls have scored 59 points against the 57 points of national level average performance. The students have also performed fairly in environmental science subjects and scored 58 (Boys) and 61 (Girls) points against the national average of 57 (Boys) and 58 (girls) points.

This year J&K students have performed well in all aspects at all levels including primary, middle and high school level which has raised expectations of all the stakeholders. While appreciating the students for their excellent performance during NAS-2021, we should not forget to give credit to the teachers who prepared the students for their NAS exams and put in their efforts to improve the learning level of students.

Going by the parameter of the location, the national average of the rural students has remained 62 percent while the J&K rural students have scored 64 points. The national average score of urban students has remained 61 and the J&K students have scored 70 points.

The overall achievement score of students has remained 61 percent against 59 percent at national level.

A per the survey, the questionnaires framed for the students have revealed that 97 percent students understand what teachers teach in the classroom while 82 percent students get parental support for their educational achievements as well.

Similarly, the students in class 5th, 8¬th and 10th have showcased their talent and performed above national level average score.

The NAS-2021 has showcased the improved competence level of students and the enhancement in learning levels despite remaining confined to four walls of their homes during Covid-19 pandemic.

The results are praiseworthy for the students as well as teachers because the kids have performed fairly despite being deprived of the digital platforms and were also facing anxiety due to closure of the schools.

The survey has revealed that in class 3rd, around 43 percent students had no digital device at home and 42 percent students experienced anxiety.

While taking survey samples of class 5th, the survey has revealed that around 43 percent students faced anxiety due to Covid-19.

Besides the good encouraging performance of the students and the difficulties they faced due to Covid-19, the survey has also highlighted the infrastructural gaps and the problems faced by the teachers in schools.

The survey has revealed that on an average, over 20 percent teachers have complained of being overburdened in schools. The teachers are overburdened because of two reasons. Either the schools are understaffed which results in overburdening of the available staff or the teachers are engaged in work other than teaching which obviously is an extra burden on their shoulders.

In the majority of schools, the teachers are assigned non teaching work which includes maintenance of admission records, examination records, MDM and other files due to which the teachers remain overburdened. The practice is in vogue because the department has not provided adequate non teaching staff in schools to handle these assignments.

The survey has also revealed that more than 40 percent of teachers responded by saying that the school buildings need major repairs while 29 percent teachers said there was lack of drinking water facilities and 31 percent teachers said there are inadequate toilet facilities for students in schools.

Such revelation should act as an eye opener for the government and immediate measures should be taken to equip schools with all basic facilities besides giving a facelift and execute repair works of the school buildings.

Over the years, the government claimed that there was no ownership of society towards government schools. But the NAS-2021 has proved the government claim contradictory as around 74 percent teachers have said that parents also take interest in school activities.

This revelation should be taken as a positive move by the government for making government schools better and should become a first preference of the student.

The survey has also highlighted that only 24 percent of the schools have audio visual resources which indicates that the government is yet to take the schools on modern lines by equipping these institutions with audio-visual resources and make e learning easy for students.

The survey has also revealed that only 35 schools have library resources which has deflated the government claims to make library culture vibrant in J&K schools.

The school education department recently issued guidelines to officers for promoting reading habits among the school children following the revised guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) for utilization of Library grants by the institutions.

The initiative was taken in line with National Education Policy (NEP0) 2020 which has emphasised on the importance of libraries and books by highlighting on various aspects including development of enjoyable and inspirational books in different languages.

Now coming to the point, if we study all the aspects and its findings, it has given an indication that the J& students have a great potential to excel in language, mathematics and EVS subjects. It has also stated that teachers are regularly participating in professional development programmes which ultimately proves fruitful for students. The only point where the government is lagging behind is the gaps in the school infrastructure which need to be addressed on priority.

J&K students deserve applause for their passion to study and excel. This is what the NAS reveals. All that the students studying in government-run schools in UT need is better facilities and infrastructure to be able to compete with their counterparts in other parts of the country.

The UT administration has rightly put its focus on reforming the education sector and the School Education Department is working towards this goal.

If the right atmosphere is provided to the students in government schools, they can even surpass performance by privately-run institutions gradually.

NAS must serve as a guiding force for the UT administration to make more policy interventions to achieve better outcomes in school education by putting in place all requisite facilities and infrastructure.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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