From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Primary education - quality : A case study
The quality of education in India has been a persistent concern.
- ASER report has been that a large number of children in the country cannot read fluently or do basic arithmetic even after attending secondary school.
- Other studies have raised questions about teaching methods in Indian schools.
Case study: Odisha
- Odisha government tried to address this problem by doubling the teaching time of three subjects — English, Mathematics, and Science — in all government schools in the state.
- These subjects get 90 minutes of teaching time every day while other subjects will continue to get 45 minutes.
- First-generation learners – The ASER surveys have shown that a large percentage of children in the country’s primary schools are first-generation learners.
- Illiterate background of children – School environment and the role of the teacher is crucial in providing support to children from non-literate homes and communities.
- Diverts focus from completing the syllabus – If pedagogy is aimed at completing the syllabus, there is scarcely any scope for addressing the needs of students who are falling behind.
- This shortcoming can be overcome if students spend more time with English, Mathematics and Science teachers and get time to clear their fundamentals.
- Issue of mother tongue – For a child, acquiring foundational skills in a language that is not her mother tongue is a complex matter.
- Overburdened – Doubling the teaching time could tax the attention span of students, and may end up doing more harm than good.
- Science and Mathematics education has been dogged by rote learning.
- Teachers could utilize the extra teaching time to stimulate students to discover the laws of nature and Mathematics.
- Teachers will have to be provided the autonomy to venture beyond bookish explanations.