Ratna Viswanathan, CEO, Reach to Teach on why education in North Eastern states cannot be evaluated on the same yardstick used for other regions of India.
The Seven Sisters of India, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, and the ‘brother’ state Sikkim-known for its picturesque landscapes, appear to be struggling to keep up its performance in the school education system when compared with the rest of the country. Three of the seven Northeastern states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram, were among the worst-performing states in school education during 2021-22, as per the Performance Grading Index 2.0.
The performance of other Northeastern states, such as Assam and Tripura, which were among the best-performing states in 2020-21, have also dropped in 2021-22, data shows. Most of these states have remained at the bottom of the performance grading index since 2018.
However, experts believe that evaluating the school education system in the Northeast requires a special region-specific set of parameters sensitive to its challenges. “Comparing the performance of the Northeastern states with other regions is probably not the best way to look at it. The grading should be tailored according to the needs and resources available in the region,” Ratna Viswanathan, CEO of Reach to Teach, told FE Education Online.
One of the major reasons behind the low standing of these states in the school education performance report is the changes made in the weightage given to different performance indicators. For example, the score achieved for the lowest performance level in 2020-21 was increased to 601-650 from less than 550 during 2018-2020.
Furthermore, the weightage given to ‘Learning Outcomes’ and ‘Infrastructure, facilities and equity’ was increased significantly in 2021-22 as compared to the previous year. Additionally, a new indicator for evaluation was introduced in 2021-22, ‘Teacher Education and Training,’ with a weightage of 100 marks.
Experts further opined that a shortage of trained teachers, infrastructural facilities and a lack of funding are among other issues that form the challenges in the Northeast region. “A large number of contractual teachers in government schools in these areas have to be trained from scratch. Furthermore, since education is a concurrent subject, the emphasis on which policies are prioritised and fund allocation depends on the state government. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to assess educational progress may not work in this case,” Viswanathan explained.
Reach to Teach claims to work in collaboration with the Arunachal Pradesh government to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning outcomes in the state. The non-profit organisation further said that it has rolled out its Composite Service Offering in Arunachal Pradesh, which also focuses on reversing learning loss incurred during the pandemic and preparing kids for formal schooling.
The article was first published on – https://www.financialexpress.com/jobs-career/education-how-has-north-east-performed-in-school-education-in-the-last-5-years-and-why-does-it-require-different-evaluation-parameters-3225422/August 29, 2023