Jharkhand is lagging in performances in all subjects at both primary and senior level since 2017, the findings of the National Achievement Survey 2021 show.
The survey was conducted for students of Class III, V, VIII and X across the state. A total of 3,453 schools and 1,13,509 students participated in the statewide survey. The last NAS survey was done in 2017 after which it was held in 2021, the final report of which was released by the education department recently.
The Union conducted the survey in schools across the state to collect data on the academic achievement and performance of students. The NAS is a system-level assessment that summarises student performance at the national, state and district levels. According to the report, there has been a decline in children’s learning ability.
Class III, Class V, Class VIII and Class X Students were divided into four sections for the survey. The survey for Classes III and V students focussed on language, mathematics and environmental science. That of Class VIII focused on math, science, english and social science, while the class X curriculum included math, science, English, social science and Modern India Language.
Education experts said Covid-19 affected the learning ability in students a lot. UNICEF Jharkhand’s head of Education, Parul Sharma, who was associated with the survey, said, “There is no doubt that students’ ability to learn diminished due to the pandemic. The learning gap between junior and senior students is smaller. Our fundamentals are off to a good start. If the shortage of teachers for senior-level subjects is eliminated, there may be a difference. There is also a need for monitoring educational programmes and the education department is working on various programmes to reduce the gap.”
In 2017 survey, 314 out of 500 students of Class III lacked fundamental language skills. This number increased to 344 in 2021. In mathematics, the learning ability of 298 students in 2017 was below basic, while it increased to 327 in 2021. The learning gap was 225 for EVS subject which has increased to 325 in 2021. The number has increased from 303 to 326 among Class VIII students whose language skill is not up to the mark.
According to teachers, the learning gap is caused by a lack of subject-specific teachers in schools. State general secretary of Akhil Jharkhand Prathmik Sikshak Sangh, Rammurti Thakur, said, “Majority of subject-specific teaching positions in government schools are vacant. And there are subject-specific teacher categories, including science and mathematics in the first, social science in the second, and languages (Sanskrit, Hindi and English) in the third. A single teacher cannot be an expert in every language, but English teachers are also required to teach students in Hindi and Sanskrit. This is the primary factor reducing students’ ability to learn.”
Out of around 3,501 teaching positions each for mathematics, science and language in around 1,500 middle schools across the state, approximately 1,800 position each are vacant in mathematics and science. While approximately 2,000 positions are vacant in language.