Double Check Barrier To Ensure Quality Education
The state education board will conduct examinations for Class V and VIII from next academic session
The writer is a Hamirpur based Himachali settled in Chandigarh
Sorry, no more automatic promotion till Class VIII. With academic session 2018 examinations for Class V and Class VII will be conducted by the state education board, Dharmshala. After witnessing a sharp dip in quality of education in elementary school level (both in primary as well as in upper primary classes), Himachal Pradesh is one of the major states which is likely to scrap the no-detention policy in schools with the Union Cabinet and Parliament approving the amendment of the relevant provision of the RTE Act that allows the states to bring back evaluation-based promotion. R.K. Sehgal, Joint Director, Elementary Education, Shimla while talking to Himachal This Week admitted that directorate would scrap the ‘no-fail policy’ and necessary approval from the state government was awaited. “The state education board will hold examinations for Class V and VIII,” he said.
In 2015, as per ministry’s plan wide range discussions on draft of new education policy were held by the state government and suggestions were given on it. The HRD ministry has reached out not just to all states across the country but also right down to village level to hold 2.5 lakh meetings at village level, 626 meetings at district levels and 3500 meetings in urban local bodies before drafting the new education policy. From the crux of the said meetings it was found that ‘no fail’ policy introduced by the UPA government in 2009 had failed in giving desired results. As per survey of NCERT reveals that the fall in learning standard that translates into an over 20% dropout in Class IX made it necessary for the government to bring change in the Right to Education Act (RTE).
Only 15% students can read numbers from 1 to 100 and read sentences of English poetry. Because of these shocking outcomes the government has decided to scrap no-detention policy. Under the new education policy announced on August 2 last, students will be tested in Class V and VIII and those who fail won’t be promoted. It means government has done away with the earlier education policy ‘no-fail policy’ since it has created havoc as the students took it easy that they won’t fail if they ‘failed’ in the final examinations. Twenty-four states across the country including Himachal Pradesh have decided to do away with no-fail policy in schools from 2018 academic session (Section 16) of RTE Act.
Under the clause, the primary and middle class students cannot be failed irrespective of how they perform in their final examinations. The dilution of the Clause will allow states the right to hold back students in Classes V-VIII if they fail in their year-end examinations.
Declining Standard Of Education
Himachal Pradesh government has taken steps to improve quality of education through school consolidation scheme. The official of the education department stated that state has 17,956 schools for just 10,121 villages. The state has literacy rate of 83% with gross enrolment ratio (GER) above 100% in rural as well urban areas. But quality of school education has been on the decline for the past four years. Only 16% students in Grade I could read the text while more than 26% in Grade I to VIII cannot read even the text of Grade I. Library usage has fallen among the students. Most of the schools suffer from lack of staff. Around 22% of primary schools with enrolment above 150 do not have a head teacher. This number is 61% for upper primary schools with enrolment above 100.
According to Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) reading level results for enrolled children in Himachal Pradesh in 2016 found that 1.30% children can read nothing, 7.80% can read number from 1 to 9 and 23.30% can read 11-99; 24.40% can do subtraction while 43.30% can do division of numbers. Dilution in RTE Act clause may check-mate the literacy inflation and provide a more practical thought to ensure that a standard level of teaching is met, said Ashok Kumar, a retired principal of government high school, Chandigarh.
* Under the current RTE, students are promoted automatically till Class VIII.
* Now students at elementary level will be tested twice. In Class V and Class VIII and those who fail in March examination will be given another chance in May.
* If the students fail in second attempt as well, then they will be detained in the same class.
The state’s ups and downs this week
Rs 124 Crore Budget For Shimla Airport Expansion
Shimla: Plans are underway once again for Jubbarhatti airport in Shimla and Ministry of Civil Aviation has made a budgetary provision of Rs. 124.22 crores for expansion plan. The renovation work of airport and measures to stop land erosion and steadying of slopes will begin from fresh start again here. Notably, Shimla is the only capital of any state of the country where regular flights are not operating at present. A team comprising of Director General of Civil Aviation, Airport Authority of India and top officials of Meteorological Department of India and chief pilots of Air India has visited the Shimla airport in March month this year. The team found Jubbarhatti airport fit for regular flights during that time. But the problem at that time was that Alliance airways did not had ATR-42 airplanes at that time. The flights however still could not be regularised even after availability of these planes now. However the new proposal has once again rekindled a ray of hope.
HP Public Works Department Suffers Rs. 342 Crore Losses In Rains
Shimla: Heavy rains this monsoon has hit normal life hard with road blockages becoming a common affair daily due to landslides. Besides common man, State Public Works Department is another entity that has faced maximum loss. And the continuous rains have made their work to restore normalcy in daily commute more difficult. According to an estimate, losses to state public works department due to heavy and continuous rains has been pegged at Rs. 342 crore until now. The PWD department is struggling hard to provide relief to common people as about 127 roads were blocked due to landslides in different parts of the state till August 10. The department has pressed 248 machines and huge number of human workforce to clear roads. Kangra was the worst affected zone where 61 roads were blocked followed by Mandi zone with 33 roads and Shimla zone witnessed 28 roads blocked. With meteorological department expecting heavy rains to continue in this hill state in coming days, the losses and difficulties of people and PWD are expected to increase.