The Center for Public Policy, IIM-Bangalore organized a day long seminar recently where experts weighing in on the issues affecting education today, especially in rural areas and government institutions. Vijay Kumar, IAS retired Secretary of Tamil Nadu parimary Education asked, “We have children going to schools. But, are our students learning?” He opined that despite state governments having resources that will get young children to enroll in schools with schemes, such as mid-day meals and bus passes, students were still not retaining and understanding knowledge.
“According to NCERT survey that was recently conducted, it was found that students in India have absorbed only 40 percent to 50 percent of what was taught in a classroom. If a corporate were to function this way, it would declare bankruptcy. Learning outcomes in India are just bad,” he further added.
He said that teaching faculty was not to blame for this failure. However, he pointed out that the key was in “empowering teachers”.
“Teachers have to deal with absenteeism in rural India where students won’t simply come to school during harvest season and during festivals. In Tamil Nadu, we introduced an activity-based learning atmosphere. It was a success,” he added.
This eliminated final exams, ranking system and allowed students to pick up where they had left off academically, in case they were absent for a while.
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