Thursday, June 9, 2016

RTE, great fall of drop out but with a fall of quality in education

RTE, great fall of drop out with a fall of quality in Education.

I was on a visit of a Village High School. There are two teachers, teaching to two classes 9th (36) and 10th (30). After the random testing of the 8th pass out results of the students of 9th Std, I was involved in a chat with the teachers and the students. Quality of education of primary education is always under criticism. My experience with the visit of Primary school was not encouraging. The B grade school was falling into D. Primary children were regular in Madrasa and irregular in Primary Schools. Their minds get confused between the Urdu and Gujarati letters.

How do you start with the students of 9th, as they come with a weak base from the primary? I asked a question to the teacher.

We start with Ka, kha... barakshari, 1-100, tables, plus-minus-multiplication, etc, because many students can't move forward without these basic elementary education. After merger of 8th std with the primary education, we find it difficult to prepare their base in 9th and are unable to get them ready to face the 10th board. Therefore, the results of Std 10th are not encouraging. RTE pass them all to the higher standards and the drop out actually starts from Std 9, followed by a major fall after 10th exam, as many fail and many stop studying further. He was explaining.

My father used to teach us, "dashe dahapan and vishe bhalpan" (intelligence at 10th year and benevolence at 20th year). If you don't acquire these two qualities at these junctions, you will not grow in life. He used to alert us. I tried to judge the students at the first junction.

Due to Ramadan, the attendance of the students was poor but those present have explained their condition. What is the difference the quality of your learning between the primary education and the high school education? I have asked the students.

High school education is more serious and we understand and study the subjects. In primary, it is mostly fun, whoop up and teasing some of the teachers. In the loud noise of students, we pass days and months without understanding the subjects. Our frequent absence from the school breaks our link of study and the classes we missed never return. They were explaining.

When did you first understand the subjects and study? At what age? I asked another question.

Majority answered from std 7-8, few said Std-6, one boy said Std-5. One guy replied boldly, "from Std 9th, the day when I have entered into the high school."

All said, "if we had the same kind of discipline and seriousness of study in primary education, our study in high school could have been easier. Some of our sahpathi didn't come to the high school after 8th because their primary base is very weak. Whether we go to the school or not, whether we study or not, whether we write the examinations or not; all of us are passed and promoted to the higher standards up to 9th. During the exams, our papers are set with 30 or more marks of questions of fill in the blanks, objective type with multiple choice and pairing. These questions are mostly been solved/answered by the subject teachers during the examinations. The descriptive answers, we try some and copy some from our friends. In English, we can neither read nor write, but the subject teacher circulate the answer sheet during the exam, that we copy one after another making a group of 3-4. The boys were opening the secrets of their studies and promotions. 

During the random checking, when I asked the same question to the girls, they either kept mum or gave false answer. They didn't reply, how could they wrote answers when they can't read the questions as well as the answers written by them. 

The girls behaviour reminded me the famous dialogue of Old Rose in the popular movie, Titanic: "A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets". Girls didn't open the secrets of their teachers. In life, many males are saved by women's hearts!

In past, 70% attendance and passing marks in all the subjects (only one with gracing marks) were compulsory. The failed students used to continue with the same standard till his/her base is improved. After one or two trials the parents used to withdraw them from the school if they can't make it and put them on job to learn the traditional skill to earn. The literacy percentage were not rising up rapidly, the drop out was very high and the passed out were the best of the lot, carrying respects of the society. 

Where are the answers?

If we follow the norms of quality examinations, many will fail. The drop out ratio will go up. Many high schools and colleges will die without students. The problem of surplus teacher will disturb public order. And making the uneducated youth employable will become a big problem.

If we follow the current system, it has reduced the drop out ratio below 5% but many children are passing their important years of life in classrooms without adding a line of intelligence. They neither learn trade to work nor study properly to get job. Their pass time in schools become a liability on their parents and the governments. Expenditure on health, education and shelters is going up on one side and thousands are added in the list of unemployable youth on other side in the country.

Do you have answers?

Please share.

8 June 2016


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