Pratham, an NGO has carried out a survey in 5 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand and Rajasthan with support from UNICEF and UNESCO. The study has noted that in the last two decades, impressive strides have been made in India in terms of providing school buildings, classrooms, teachers, textbooks and other facilities. These have been matched by very significant improvements in enrollment. The Annual Study Status of Education Report (ASER) study ‘Inside Primary Schools” tracked 30,000 rural children in Std 2 and Std 4 in 900 schools spread over five States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. The key recommendations emerging from this study are as below:- (i) Textbooks need urgent revisions. They need to start from what children can do and be more realistic and developmentally appropriate in what children are expected to learn, with clear learning goals and sequence. (ii) Systems must be put into place to track attendance, not just enrollment, and ensure regular reporting and monitoring of this attendance. (iii) Mother tongue instruction and programmes for language transition need to be introduced and expanded. (iv) Teacher recruitment policies need to assess teachers’ knowledge, but more importantly their ability to explain content to children, make information relevant to their lives and use teaching learning materials and activities other than the textbook. (v) State teacher education plans should invest in human resource capacity academic structure, like Block Resource Centres (BRCs) and Cluster Resource Centres structure, like Block Resource Centres (BRCs) and Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) and District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET) to enable them to help improve teaching and learning quality via in-service training and classroom visits. (vi) As per the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, child-friendly education needs to be defined and measured regularly as apart of the indicators of quality education. (vii) Libraries with take home books for reading practice at the household level, should be monitored as part of RTE indicators. Family reading programmes could also be part of innovations to help support first generation schools goers.
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