NEW DELHI: It is amusing, yet alarming. Seventy per cent of Class VIII students in the country are not aware of the freedom struggle, while 55 per cent believe the Supreme Court is part of the Indian Parliament. Also 69 per cent do not know why the Swadeshi Movement was launched during the freedom struggle.
Just about 45 per cent know about the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre ordered by General Dyer and other atrocities committed by the British. Less than 50 per cent have an idea of the names of the India’s main rivers, while only 50 per cent know why oxygen is essential for sustaining life.
This information was revealed in a survey conducted by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) based on data collected from 6,722 schools, 24,486 teachers and 1,88,647 students through tests and questionnaires from 33 States and Union Territories of the country. The purpose of the study was to provide important insights on whether the elementary education system has a beneficial effect on students or not.
The study, which covers both government and aided schools, discloses that 74 per cent of the students are unaware of the key components of the Constitution. Many of them do not understand that the President’s Rule is imposed when the constitutional machinery of a state breaks down.
“The findings raise a big question mark about the achievements under the Right to Education Act and the fundamentals that need to be addressed before India aspires to reach new heights,” said an official involved in the project work.
Only 48 per cent of the students surveyed could explain the reasons behind the spread of European trading companies in pre-colonial India. Only 44 per cent knew how the British established control over Bengal. On the 1857 uprising, only 41 per cent could identify its geographical spread on a map. Also 68 to 72 per cent could not identify the rulers who participated in the revolt.
The survey is intended to provide policy makers, planners and curriculum developers with a snapshot of what students have learned in core subjects and give a baseline against which changes in educational standards can be monitored.