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Tribune Special
Education in North in a shambles
Schools in all states perform below national average
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
In a reminder of the abysmal education system in government schools across North India, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has found that school students in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are performing below the national mean achievement. Even Uttaranchal and Rajasthan figure among the bad performers, completing the rather dismal picture.

The revelation comes close on heels of a forewarning by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his recent visit to Chandigarh when he said North India was lagging behind the rest of country in economic growth. The double blow of poor performance in economic growth and education, places the North Indian states, long known for their progressive attitude, with the traditionally bad performing states. This also reflects poorly on the existing system.

The ministry has sent a report of its nationwide findings to the Punjab Government after finalising it in July this year. Sources within the government said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the top brass in the government had been apprised of the “rot that has set in the education system”. Long-term steps have been suggested. This includes holding special classes for children who are lagging behind and ensuring regular attendance of teachers in schools.

The ministry carried out two surveys, one each for Class III and Class VIII students. Students from Haryana and Chandigarh have done well in Class VIII, however, Class III students in these states also fall below the national mean achievement. In the survey for Class VIII students, education level in mathematics, language, science and social studies was examined. The national mean achievement is 38.47 marks for mathematics. Students of the North-Indian states, except Haryana and Chandigarh, have been found to be below even this low average.

Similarly, the mean achievement of students from the rest of the country in science is just 40.54 marks and for social studies it is 45 marks. Again, except Haryana and Chandigarh, students from all northern states performed below this average. In languages, the national mean achievement is 52.45 marks and only students of Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Haryana have done better than that. Punjab once again lags behind.

Regarding survey for Class III, the mean achievement for mathematics was 58.25 marks. The states performing below the national average has been all from North Indian. Surprisingly, students from the Union Territory of Chandigarh, that takes pride in having a “good education system” are also among the bad performers.

In languages, the national mean achievement is 63.12 marks. Again students from all North Indian states fall in the category of students getting marks below this mean achievement.

The survey for Class III was carried out only in mathematics and languages. Thousands of students and teachers were assessed and the ministry has termed it as the baseline assessment for Class III and VIII.

Educationists in Punjab opine that shortage of teachers during the past five or six years is now having its toll on the education system.

Last month, the Punjab Government charge sheeted around 750 teachers for bad results in the board examinations. Shockingly, 137 of these teachers worked in 26 schools where the result was nil. Another 627 teachers produced results with less than 10 per cent of the students having passed.



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