In India, while the number of children enrolled in primary schools (up to fifth standard) shows an encouraging trend at 98.6 per cent in the age group of 6-10 years, the learning outcomes of children at the primary level leave much to be desired.
The findings of the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2022 indicate the worst fears coming true about ‘learning loss’ caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on learning outcomes of children in the age group of 4-9 years.
Vyjayanthi Sankar, founder at Centre for Science of Student Learning, weighed in on the effective ways to conduct competency-based assessments.
“For us, to build an effective strategy for conducting these assessments, one must have clarity on what is the outcome being assessed as well as which body is collecting the data,” said Sankar.
Delving deeper into learning outcome-based reforms, experts from the education sector brainstormed on identifying key reforms to accomplish the end objectives of the National Education Policy 2020 at a forum hosted by the Central Square Foundation (CSF).
The forum’s key objective was to adopt a framework and common understanding for the timely adoption of reforms suggested by NEP 2020 to improve learning outcomes in school education.
“While India has made substantial improvements in ensuring access to education to each child by providing new infrastructure and massive recruitment of teachers etc., the need of the hour is to progress from access to education to ensuring delivery of quality education to all children,” said Harish Doraiswamy, project director at CSF.
Effective and transparent approaches to deliver on school, system, and student-level outcomes have been correctly identified as key systemic drivers of improvement by NEP 2020. While steps are being taken to implement NEP 2020 in letter and spirit, these systemic drivers should also be prioritised, he added.
Echoing the opinion, Geeta G. Kingdon, Chair of Education and International Development at University College London, spoke about the need for setting up an autonomous regulator, as also suggested in NEP 2020.
Citing global and local examples, she said, “The road is certainly challenging but we must try to uphold the spirit in which the recommendation of setting up the State School Standards Authority (SSSA) has been documented in the policy.”
The experts at the forum also realised the critical need for states to prioritise setting up the SSSA as envisaged by NEP 2020 and conduct competency-based census assessments in a phase-wise manner to improve learning outcomes.