30 October 2019

Learning Outcome and Quality Education

By Anviti Singh

Learning Outcome helps us a lot in understanding the concept of quality education. There is a direct link between the two. “Learning Outcome at Elementary Level” is a detailed document prepared by N.C.E.R.T. It provides us a guideline pertaining to various competencies and skills a student must possess with regard to Languages, Math and Environmental Studies, before graduating from one class to other. It has enumerated skills and competencies for each grade from first to eight, encompassing the elementary stage outlining the exemplary activities to be practised in classrooms. Throughout the document rote learning has been abhorred and the focus has been shifted to all-round development of the child entailing life skills, knowledge of arts and handicrafts and awareness about his/her social as well as environmental surroundings.

The document is deeply rooted in constructivist approach of learning and advocates the use of ‘Activity Based Learning’(ABL) approach implying that the teaching-learning process should not be based on books only but should incorporate use of available resources and should be experimental and exploratory in nature.

It has underlined the importance of collaboration between parents, community and school in order to provide quality education to all children.

Viewed from this vantage point, the schools specifically the government schools appear ill-equipped to provide quality education to children. It is to be noted that a large section of children, who are enrolled in government schools, belong to the disadvantaged section of the society. And various researches have proved that these children need much more intensive and explicit instructional practices to be imparted in classrooms. It is also a well-known fact that their hopes and aspirations, do not differ from the middle class or from affluent sections of the society. They view education as their saviour, attainment of which will empower them to get rid of the social evils, they are facing for so long, and will increase their chances of social mobility.

There is a much wider gap between hopes, aspirations, desires and ambitions of these children and the quality of education they are receiving at schools. The dilapidated buildings or the lack of school buildings at all, lack of teachers and basic amenities viz. separate toilets for girls and boys, drinking water facility, library and laboratory etc.is barrier in implementing the suggestions as entailed in the Learning Outcome document to provide quality education to students.

Yet there is a silver lining of hope. We have some amazing teachers in our schools who don’t give up hope and are the torch bearers of much-needed change in our schools. Amidst all challenges and resource crunch, they have perfected the art of harnessing best out of waste as well as available technology. The small handset- the ubiquitous mobile phone has proved to be a boon to them. It helps teachers in overcoming many existing shortcomings of school and transform their teaching-learning process into an engaging and interesting activity. In many a school situated in far away corners of India, the technology has taken a new avatar in form of assistant to teachers in guise of Sampark Smart shala App and has created a virtual classroom wherein Sampark Didi teaches various concepts of Math and English and has enhanced their classroom processes in terms of pedagogy as well as classroom management.  which has enhanced their classroom processes in terms of pedagogy as well as classroom management. The teachers have got opportunity to pepper their classrooms with a pinch of song, music and plenty of activities in collaboration with students.

The significant increase in learning outcomes of intervention schools is testimony to the rising effectiveness of such innovations in classrooms. It has not only helped in increasing the enrolment in government schools but also has played a significant role in retaining students till the completion of their primary schooling.

The point of the whole discussion is that the learning outcome of students and quality of education can also be improved without investing heavily in the infrastructural development, which of course is a necessity, but one cannot wait for it when future of millions of children is at stake. Through introducing frugal innovations which are developed keeping in mind the limitations as well as the availability of resources and focusing on the problems faced by those for whom the innovations are being introduced, future of millions of children can be brightened.