Manthan Topic: STEPPING STONES
IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF PRIMARY
An equal start to every child…
S. Parthasarathy, G. Chidambaram, R. Venugopal, J. Kiran Kumar
& M. Lakshmi Kanthan
Sri Sairam Engineering College, Chennai.
Gross enrollment of children into primary schools is as high as 95%
in some states…
But the dropout rate is around 58% !!!
• Less than 40% of students from 4th grade are able to read 3rd grade text fluently.
• Less than 9% students of grade 4 can answer a synthesized question.
• Considerable fall in Teacher-Student ratio in many states and the quality of
teaching is no good.
• Poor Quality education – an important force driving dropout.
• Inadequate Teacher Training Programs – or are they outdated?
• Though RTE implemented in states, financial reasons restrict a quality
The roadblocks to equity in quality education…
• In most cases, teachers do not
even turn up to classes.
• Negligence in monitoring school
• Poor sanitary conditions in
many remote schools.
• Education restricted to rote
learning – no holistic approach!
SOLUTIONS TO QUALITY EDUCATION
1.STRUCTURAL REFORMATION OF EDUCATION
• Yes to Macaulayism and no to Metaphysics?
• Major Structural reformation is required.
• Primary education (grades 1 – 8) can be divided into three core blocks of learning:
1. Formal Learning
2. Informal Learning
• Revision of subject syllabus for every 2 years (as against the current practice of once
in every 4 years) – A Dynamic Syllabus.
• A friendly book – a book that interacts with the students would do.
• Real-time national projects by the Government to kindle Science & Tech study in
• A wholesome evaluation system – Examinations evaluating students’ creativity
apart from their memory.
GRADES FORMAL LEARNING INFORMAL
building basics –
numerals & words.
7-8 Interactive learning,
Art & Literature
BLOCKS OF PRIMARY EDUCATION
2. QUALITY TEACHING
• A good apprentice is the best teacher!
• Problems faced –
1. Poor knowledge
2. Poor Deliverance
3. Poor EQ (Emotional Quotient)
4. Absenteeism & Lethargy
Poor Deliverance Teacher-Teacher interactions,
Poor EQ Student-Teacher interactions,
Monotony Difference in coaching, Activity
Lack of motivation Decent remuneration and
Absenteeism Daily attendance for teachers,
cut in pay, severe measures
Overworking Teachers are only for teaching…
2. QUALITY TEACHING
3. HOLISTIC EDUCATION – beyond the horizon…
The E4 LAB (GRADE 4 – 8)
• ENVIRONMENT – ENTREPRENEURSHIP – ELOQUENCE – EMOTION LAB
• Environment Lab – Study on Agriculture & crop patterns in India, plant
labs, Sapling planting, Awareness programs, Seminars, collaboration with
NGO’s like EXNORA in activities, etc.
• Entrepreneurship Lab – Simulation of management environment,
Leadership tasks, Management games, Group tasks, Team spirit,
Supportive videotapes, movies, articles – explained in students’ words.
• Eloquence Lab – language training (Mother tongue, Lingua franca –
English and another language of the Student’s choice), storytelling, mock
plays, drama & skits, Interpersonal & soft skill honing.
• Emotion Lab – Social relation building, related visual materials, enacting
of emotions, plays, simulation of situations – like fight between friends &
how to resolve them, etc.
• Continuous monitoring of teacher quality in primary schools by
• Setting up a body under the District Collector to monitor quality in
primary education – probably, the Indian Teaching Services (ITS)? –
A structure as below -
Zone 1 officer
Zone n OfficerZone 2 Officer
School 1 –
School 2 –
School 2 –
School 1 –
ITS – INDIAN TEACHING SERVICES
• A monthly reporting body under the District Collector.
• Testing eligible candidates for ITS under UPSC? (probably)
• ITS officers – ultimate enforcers of quality education in districts
and answerable to Collectors.
What is the process flow? – Speeding up Educational Justice!
• Monitoring of Educational activities in schools by Teachers’
committee & Interactive committee.
• Monthly Reporting to a Teacher Representative & Government
• Inspection of the assigned school by Govt. rep. for verification of
• Submitting monthly reports to the Zonal officers for Primary
• Verifying, authenticating & passing on, the report to
• Consolidating officers prioritize grievances, queries, utility
requirements in the order of urgency. Submitted to ITS officer.
• ITS officer reporting to District collector, getting approval & taking
action at the earliest…!
• Current testing is static – a more dynamic testing is required.
• The eligibility tests conducted by DoPT should give equal importance to
• A weekly Teacher moot should be convened every weekend in primary
• Periodic feedback from students reg. coaching in class as one input for
• Points of discussion in weekly meet:
1. New topics, new ideas
2. Interesting student response & behavior
3. Grievances & Solutions
4. Discussion on students’ ideas
5. Implementation of Student Ideas
6. Encouragement of Fellow teachers’ positive ideals
7. Debate on teaching methods
8. Updates on new teaching trends.
• Teachers moot instrumental in updating school
libraries with latest books relating to primary
STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS & MEETING FINANCIAL CRISIS
• Like TJ’s (Products manufactured by inmates of Tihar Jail),
• Student products can be marketed - One idea to meet the financial
constraints in offering quality education.
• Crafted items, paintings, voice recordings of rhymes, songs, seminar
videos of basic subjects by students can be marketed – the profit can be
• Improves entrepreneurship skills of students and raises funds.
• India has spent around 3.1% of its GDP in primary education in 2006
(a very small figure).
• Central govt.’s contribution in RTE – 68%, State Govt.’s contribution –
32%; still some states feel difficult to meet the financial expenses.
• Funds from more organizations like ITC
• Organizations adopting primary schools
• Cooperative groups in villages
• Public fundraisers, etc.
1. INSIDE PRIMARY SCHOOLS: A STUDY OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN
RURAL INDIA - Suman Bhattacharjea, Wilima Wadhwa & Rukmini Banerji .
2. Decolonizing the Indian Mind- Keynote address delivered on February 18,
2001 at the National Seminar on Decolonizing English Education,
Department of English, North Gujarat University, Patan (Gujarat, India).
3. Bloomberg BusinessWeek Magazine – India – may 30, 2004.
4. Poor sanitary conditions in Kanpur schools -
5. District Information System for Education (DISE).
7. Thirukkural – Porutpaal – Kalvi
8. Making Learning Fun – paper plate models -
9. International Human Development Indicators – UNDP – India -
10. Quality in Primary & Secondary Education – Quality Tools for teachers –
11. Ministry of HRD – India - http://mhrd.gov.in/
12. National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) -
13. SCHOOL The World - http://schooltheworld.org/
Transcending Times & Traveling Beyond the Horizons…
Tested by the tides of time… Tasted by the wraths of evil…
Wasted are the times… Wasted is the wisdom…
Muster your courage; Foster child education…
Primary Education – Towards a sagacious Civility…