Focus groups, recovery classes, surveys – how states are aiming to solve children’s learning loss from Covid

New Delhi: From dividing children into groups based on their learning level to organizing recovery classes, various states and union territories have begun to take action to address the learning loss in schools caused by the pandemic, ThePrint has learned.

Last month’s findings The National Achievement Survey – an exercise undertaken by the Department for Education every three years to assess learning outcomes – is indicative of the severe impact of Covid-induced school closures on education levels. children learning.

A senior education official with knowledge of the development told ThePrint on Tuesday that the ministry had started earmarking budgets after the states and union territories shared with him their plans to identify and address learning gaps last month.

States will also conduct surveys to identify “out-of-school” children as well as dropouts before the start of the academic session in July, the official added.

An ‘out-of-school’ child is a child of school age who has never been to school, while dropouts are those who leave mid-school.

The idea, the official said, was to reintegrate dropouts into the school system. However, the official admitted that it could take at least two years to bring students up to pre-pandemic levels of learning.

For “out-of-school students,” the states plan to hold a bridging course, the official said. The course aims to introduce these children to the idea of ​​school and learning before they are introduced to age-appropriate teaching, he added.

These interventions are part of a detailed plan that the Ministry of Education share with states and union territories earlier this year to identify and address learning losses caused by the pandemic.

The plan was to be implemented in phases. States and UTs were originally supposed to complete their surveys by April through May, but that was delayed for reasons that weren’t immediately clear.

Interventions that the central government had planned included an Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) survey of children to determine where they stand in terms of reading skills, the twinning of public and private schools in clusters, and programs to help students resume learning in the classroom.

Read also : Which state tops the Modi government’s education survey? Hint: It was below the national average last time

How States Identify Students Who Need Help

The education official told ThePrint that states are conducting testing to help determine students’ learning levels to determine appropriate intervention.

For example, Karnataka is working to improve students’ numeracy and literacy skills by dividing them into groups appropriate to their learning level. The state will first help students catch up on the last two years before resuming their regular curriculum, the official said.

Gujarat’s recovery plans are similar. A state government education adviser told ThePrint that he had carried out a test in all schools end of April to draw up a list of students who needed interventions.

“[We have made a list of] if they [students] are weak in math, language or reading. This has been passed on to their parents and teachers, who are taking corrective action,” the adviser added.

During this time, a official of J&K’s education department told ThePrint that schools in the union territory have begun identifying students who need help and are also training their teachers. to equip them to deal with these students.

Madhya Pradesh and Haryana also have similar plans, the education ministry official quoted earlier told ThePrint.

According to the Center’s plan, states should begin integrating “out-of-school” children into the formal school system and ensure that all students have books and uniforms, the official added.

Schools should hold parent-teacher meetings throughout the year and map student learning outcomes weekly, he added.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Read also : Less than 20% of students in India could access education in pandemic, learning suffered

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