The recently released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022 reveals a disturbing trend in the Indian education system. Despite an increase in student enrollment, there has been a significant drop in learning levels among students in government schools. This is particularly evident in the basic reading and arithmetic abilities of students.
The report shows that the proportion of class three students who can read at the class two level dropped from 27.3 percent in 2018 to 20.5 percent in 2022. Similarly, the percentage of class five students who could read at least at the class two level dropped from 50.5 percent to 42.8 percent in 2022.
One of the main factors contributing to this decline in education quality is the lack of proper teacher training and professional development. Teachers are the backbone of the education system, and they play a crucial role in shaping the future of students. They need to be equipped with the latest teaching methodologies, tools, and techniques to effectively deliver the curriculum and ensure that students are learning.
In many government schools, teachers are not provided with adequate training and support to keep pace with the changing education landscape. They often lack the skills and knowledge required to teach the latest curriculum and engage students in engaging, interactive and inclusive learning experiences. The schools also lack proper and sometimes, even the basic, teaching infrastructure, teaching tools and teaching aids. Moreover, teachers are not motivated or rewarded for their professional development, which further hinders their self-motivation, interest and ability to improve the quality of education.
To address this issue, there needs to be a concerted effort taken in partnership by the government and private stakeholders to invest in teacher training and professional development. This should include regular in-service training, workshops, and mentorship programs to keep teachers updated on the latest teaching methods and technologies. Teachers should be made “digital literate” so that they can do the same for their students. Furthermore, teachers should be provided with adequate resources, including access to technology and learning materials, to support their teaching. The critical feature of effective and successful teacher training, which is most often neglected, is that it is not enough to train teachers once or even a few times. In order for training to be meaningful, it must be consistent, regular, and long-term. Teachers should also be regularly assessed and evaluated to determine if the trainings are, in fact, effective.
Read the ASER report published by TheIndianExpress.
In addition, the government should also consider implementing policies that encourage and reward key stakeholders in the school management for promoting the professional development of teachers. This can also include performance-based incentives, such as promotions, for teachers who demonstrate a commitment to improving their skills and knowledge.
In conclusion, it is vital that the government takes urgent steps to address the issues highlighted in the Annual Status of Education Report. Improving teacher training and professional development is crucial to improving the quality of education in government schools and ensuring that students are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the future. While this is no doubt a Herculean feat, it can be made achievable with the right partnerships with private organisations already working towards similar missions.