CHENNAI: School students in Tamil Nadu are one of the most burdened lot due to homework assigned by their teachers, according to a nationwide study by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
While Punjab topped the list with 84.25 (on a scale of 100 on homework burden), Tamil Nadu (70.75) came a close third after Karnataka (72.75).
The study was conducted by survey and testing of 1,88,647 Class VIII students in 6,722 schools across the country.
But significantly, the huge level of homework seems to have not helped the students in the State.
They fared much poorer in skill assessment done as part of the same study, suggesting that too much homework does not correspond to actual skill development of the students.
Rather, other factors like teacher-pupil ratio contributed more to their skill development.
While the homework burden on children in Tamil Nadu in English and Language, Maths, Science and Social Science was higher than the national average, the students’ performance in the skill assessment test was lower than the national average in all four subjects. Some teachers here said it is not the excessive homework that seems to be detrimental, but overzealous parents.
“Most private matriculation and CBSE schools, in an attempt to popularise themselves among parents, overload children with home assignments, which eventually results in burnout among the children,” said Samy Sathiamorthy, president of TN High and Higher Secondary School Headmasters Association. “Many students start hating their teachers for overloading them with homework and lose interest in the subject in the long run,” he added.
“The reason for homework not positively influencing the children’s development is that in most cases we see parents are the ones who do the homework assigned for students. This was in no way going to help the child grow,” said a private school teacher. The teacher believed that leaving the child idle at home may encourage them to get addicted to cellphones and Internet. So, they must be given work that would keep them engaged for at least a hour, the rest of which they can spend in sports or other healthy activities.
While students in Punjab (who face higher levels of homework stress) fared better than TN students in skill assessment, Karnataka students’ performance was almost on par with the national average.