The State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) have recently released a report that exposed the low academic standards of the students in the government and aided schools stressing on the need to review the system.
The quality assessment study was conducted among the students of class 4 and 7 in districts like Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kasaragod as directed by the Accountant General. The knowledge of the students in language, Math, Environmental Science and basic science were put to test during which pathetically low academic standards were revealed. Kerala which ranks first in literacy and education had implemented several schemes in the last two decades starting from the primary classes to the higher levels of education. The survey was carried out in 7 schools in Thiruvananthapuram, 6 schools in Pathanamthitta and Thrissur, 4 in Ernakulam and 5 in Kasargod. In the study the students in the lower and upper primary classes were found to be below average in comprehension, grammar and subjects like Math. According to the report, 25 per cent of them do not know how to write in English and about 47 per cent of class 4 does not know to write in Malayalam. Only 30.09 per cent students scored an A grade in Malayalam in Kasargod district. Irrespective of government and aided schools about 35 per cent of the class 7 students were found to be poor in Malayalam out of which 5 per cent couldn’t identify the alphabets and therefore were poor in their writing skills. While 25 per cent of the children were poor in English, 63 per cent were weak in Math with 10.88 per cent not even knowing the basics of the subject. About 3 per cent of them do not know the English alphabets. About 55 per cent of the children had low reading skills in English where as 12.32 per cent had poor writing skills in the language. Only 22 per cent scored full in grammar. Around 73 per cent of children failed to get an A grade in Environmental science. The report also says that 85 per cent students were weak in Basic Science. Over 19 per cent of students in class 7 in Thiruvananthapuram district failed to score in geometry.
Unlike other states, Kerala is much advanced in providing basic facilities in schools and also in attracting the children to schools in their early age. Starting from District Primary Educational Program (DPEP), the various schemes and enhancements implemented in the past years have contributed towards the progress of the system. But the standards are seemingly deteriorating according to the studies conducted. The Council recommends the same ‘outdated’ suggestions like ideal and loud reading sessions, pronunciation training, writing competitions, copy writing, puzzles and opportunities for comprehending the word spellings along with hundreds of others to improve the academic quality. The pros and cons of the outdated system and the consequences of the new improved methods were pointed out while implementing the much controversial DPEP system. But the current teaching and learning methods does not aid in developing even the basic reading and writing skills. The educational schemes and policies as well as the medium of instruction should be subjected to time and situations. Immediate steps should therefore be taken by the government to introduce a new system and standard to improve the quality of education.