CHENNAI: The recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report shows India’s stagnation on the Human Development Index (HDI) at 0.586 since last year — the lowest among all performing nations in BRICS. Education, one of the HDI contributors, is in a bad shape, according to Vimala Ramachandran, national fellow and Professor at National University for Educational Planning and Administration.
At the fifth Kuruvila Jacob oration on Sunday, Ramachandran spoke on issues related to children’s education and stated that several educated graduates are not considered employable because of problems in the school education. “Many students are not able to read paragraphs and stories with comprehension. They fail to internalise and apply even basic maths and science concepts. Their language skills are poor,” she said. The main defect according to her is the education system’s focus on memorising and reproduction rather than understanding. She cited a high teacher-student ratio of 1:60 leading to lack of individual attention, less active teaching time and focus on syllabus completion rather than teaching as the main problem.
Complaining that the no-detention policy adopted by the government is misinterpreted as a no-assessment policy, she felt that, as a consequence, the standards drop further with the teachers not knowing the pupil’s capability “With no assessments till the eighth standard, we get a set of incompetent students in the ninth who cannot withstand the load and hence, drop out of school,” she added.
Ramachandran said giving a free reign to teachers who can have their own syllabus and methodology would improve the students’ understanding and quality of education.