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‘Students in Kerala schools are happy and confident’

Make classes more participatory and let the teacher be a facilitator, says NCERT education survey division chief

Indrani Bhaduri, Head of the education survey division of the National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT) and National Coordinator of the National Achievement Survey (NAS) was i

n Kochi on February 15 and 16 to conduct a post-NAS workshop to develop and recommend activities to improve learning gaps in elementary school children..

Your teams have conducted post-NAS workshops in 15 States already. What do they focus on primarily?

To me, the post-NAS intervention is the most important part of the achievement survey.

The NAS district report cards will help in differential planning at the district level. And this is what we are doing as part of the post-NAS sessions.

Communicating what is there in these report cards is crucial for each district. It should reach every teacher and she should understand it so that the teachers know what her pupils have trouble learning.

The recommendations and suggestions developed in these workshops will be communicated by block resource persons and trainers in schools. School-based assessment is one of the major post-NAS interventions we are conducting.

Empowering teachers to understand the process of assessment and conduct this differently and encouraging them to turn away from a paper-pen assessment and use peer, portfolio and self assessment so that a child develops a rubric to asses himself or herself. Make classes more participatory and let the teacher be a facilitator.

We should promote experiential learning, not merely theoretical learning, so as to develop curiosity in the child.

How has Kerala as a State fared in the NAS, and what are the learning outcomes that Kerala has to focus on?

The district report cards show that each district shows variations. That is the entire essence of NAS — we are not talking generically at the State-level but going to the more granular level of districts because at that level, there is an administrative power to effect a change and decisions can be taken. But that said, Kerala has done well in NAS.

Kerala has done very well in classes 3 and 5 but there is a slight drop in class 8. So why are we not able to sustain the performance? This is an important question.

One of the weak links in the entire system are the cluster resource centres (CRC), even in Kerala.

CRCs were created to give onsite support to teachers, for self-assessment, discussions and so on.

But instead they are standing in for teachers when they are not around. That is something we really need to work on.

Palakkad may be a district that needs special attention because its students have not fared too well in all classes. NAS has given the picture, now teachers from districts need to tell me why this is happening.

Did your visits to schools in Kerala as part of the workshop reveal any of this?

What I found in Ernakulam and Alappuzha was that the students are happy. They are so confident. And the teacher-student interaction is really wonderful.

But though students can solve problems using an algorithm, we want the child to understand its application, and the nuances of the subject.

How even mathematics is a language. That is a thread that needs focus.

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