Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh released Annual Status of Education Report-2012 (ASER) for Himachal Pradesh here today, which revealed eye-opening standard of present students. A report prepared by NGO ‘Pratham’ has compiled its survey on the basis of 272 schools and 5500 houses in Himachal Pradesh. B. Vergis Paul from NGO said that this year’s report highlights that students in Government and private schools in the State were not doing well in reading, writing and numeracy.
The reports shows that the students studying in class V who can read level class II test had gone down from 82.3 percent in 2007 to 72.8 percent in 2012. In the same period the percentage of students in class V who can solve three digit problems had declined from 66.9 percent to 48.7 percent.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh directed the Education Department to prepare a detailed action plan by March 2013 outlining immediate measures for 2013-14 and a long term perspective plan to arrest the decline and to improve the situation. He said that each child studying in Class I to VIII would be assessed against benchmarked attainment levels after every four months by the Education Department which would help in tracking the progress of each child and remedial action would also be taken accordingly.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh expressed concern over the decline in the learning levels of students at Elementary stage. The State would put in place a comprehensive plan to address the situation which would include systematic and regular assessment of learning level of all the students and school would be graded on the basis of performance. The grading would gradually be linked to monetary and non-monetary incentives to the schools, he added.
Chief Minister expressed the hope that the education department would rise to the occasion. He said that teachers in Government school were well qualified and had taken the State to a great height in the field of education in the past and were capable to meet the challenges of future. It was time for all educationists to analyze the declining trend highlighted in the ASER report and take steps both at the classroom and institutional level to reverse it. However, non-performance would not be tolerated and action would be taken against the defaulters, he added.
Virbhadra Singh said that to improve academic support to school, the staff posted in all support institutions in the State up to the Block level that was State Project Offices of SSA and RMSA, SCERT, DIETs, BRCs shall be appointed on selection basis and their performance would be evaluated on measurable outcomes.
He said that State would also undertaken a comprehensive programme of School Leadership and all the Head Teachers and Principals would be trained to enhance their capacity to face these challenges. Other steps to improve the situation include textbook and curriculum review, making the system more accountable and responsive and better utilization of resources would be planned, he added.
K. Sanjay Murthi, Principal Secretary, Education assured the Chief Minister that all possible steps would be taken to improve the quality of education in the State. Rakesh Kanwar, State Project Director, SSA, apprised the methodology of survey done by ‘Pratham’, a leading NGO working in the country. V.C. Pharka, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and J.C. Chauhan, Principal Private Secretary to Chief Minister were present on the occasion among others.