New Delhi: Identify students in each grade who have dropped out of school and locate them by April, states and union territories have told the central government, ThePrint has learned.
The Union Department of Education, in the first week of February, also shared a detailed roadmap with states, aimed at mitigating Covid pandemic-induced learning loss among students – an in-depth investigation of children’s reading skills, linking public and private schools into clusters, and programs to help students resume learning in the classroom are also on the cards.
With schools closed for nearly two years, students have suffered significant learning losses. A study conducted by Azim Premji University in 2021 revealed that on a Medium“two percent of children lost at least one specific language skill and 82% lost at least one specific math skill from the previous year in grades 2-6.”
According to the Department of Education document, a copy of which is with ThePrint, states and UTs have been given time-limited tasks to complete throughout the 2022-23 academic year. Tasks begin with identifying dropouts and reintegrating them into the school system.
From March to April, states were asked to first conduct an Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) survey of children to determine where they stand in terms of reading skills. States will also receive financial support from Rs 20 million by State to perform the exercise.
“It is proposed to have oral reading fluency assessment to establish minimum reading benchmarks in different Indian languages for grade 3 children and assess performance against these, in order to take remedial action “, says the document addressed to all states and UT sent by the assistant secretary, Ministry of Education, Maneesh Garg.
During the same period – March to April – states must identify out-of-school children (who have never been in the school system) as well as students who have dropped out due to the Covid-induced lockdown and others reasons.
The government has so far not shared any data on the number of children who have dropped out of school during the past two years of school closures. This exercise should provide concrete data to central and state governments.
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Private school groups, KV, JNV
After identifying dropouts, states are supposed to form groups or private school pairs with Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV) or Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), both run by the central government, so that schools can learn from each other. others and provide better education. This should be done between April and May.
Apart from this, the ministry has also assigned some tasks which are supposed to be done throughout the year – all schools are supposed to hold a parent-teacher meeting every month throughout the school year. Schools should also prepare a weekly plan of learning outcomes to be achieved by students.
In the meantime, schools are expected to close the learning gap using various intervention tools devised by the government and the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
NCERT has designed a bridging course for out-of-school children who are in the preschool to grade 8 category, to help them enter the formal school system.
Package to help students get back on track
Apart from this, the central government has come up with the Learning Enhancement Program (LEP), a program to help students resume normal learning in the classroom.
Under this program, students will receive remedial teaching resources such as worksheets/workbooks, age-appropriate storybooks, supplemental learning materials, and individualized learning interventions . Students will also receive a fixed amount of money under the aid program.
“States and UTs can prepare materials by level and ensure delivery to students. All children must receive this package at the start of the 2022-23 academic session. Financial support of Rs 500 per student for all primary and upper secondary students will be provided,” the document reads.
The central government has also carried out a National Achievement Survey (NAS) in November last year to identify student learning gaps. The survey results will also be used by states to take corrective action for students.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)
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