Representational image. (HT file)
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“Write A to Z in capital letters. Include in your copies an image of objects whose names start with a small letter such as “b for ball”. ”

This is not a homework assignment for children in kindergartens in a city, but for 9th grade students in Madhya Pradesh state schools. This English language exercise is part of their home study as part of a bridging course to be completed throughout the state while their schools are closing on a schedule established by the Directorate of Public Instructions to Students (DPI), a wing of the Schools Education Department in Madhya Pradesh.

According to the timetable that the DPI presented to the students in grades 9 to 12 during the Covid period, there has also been a bridging course on other topics since July 20. For the ninth grade, subjects include Hindi, English, math, and science.

DPI Jaishree Kiyawat introduces the course to the students in the timetable officer and explains: “The schools cannot run due to the situation created by Covid-19, but the students must continue their studies. With this aim, the program “Hamara ghar hamara vidyalaya” is introduced. The role of teachers, guardians, older brothers and sisters of students in addition to the students themselves is very important in the implementation of the program. ”

If, in the English section, the ninth grade students are to write the alphabet and insert copies of pictures based on the alphabets, they should memorize, among other things, multiplication tables in a diagram from 2 to 10 in the math section. In the science department they have to learn the definition of matter and write the names of 10 substances. In the Hindi section they have to recite the poem “Suraj ka byah”, understand its meaning and, among other things, write it.

Educators have expressed disappointment that grade 9 students need to practice such a basic education in order to acquire knowledge that private school students should learn in preschool or, at best, elementary school.

At least three teams from authorities in the School Education Department, including one headed by then Minister of School Education, Dr. Prabhuram Chaudhary, visited South Korea in September 2019 to study the education system there. It was in the state during the then Congressional administration. When he returned, he spoke of recreating the South Korean education system in the state, but according to officials from the Ministry of Education nothing significant could take place.

The educator Prof. (ret.) Zameeruddin said: “I see a deplorable situation in the field of primary education in Madhya Pradesh. For this reason, state school students who go to secondary school from grade 9 after completing primary education do not compete well with students with a private school background. ”

According to the 2018 Annual Education Report (ASER) Status (Rural) by Pratham, an educational organization, in 2018 34.4% of children were in Grade 5 of state schools who could read Level II standard text. Similarly, there was only 16.5% of students in grade 5 who were able to split. Similarly, according to the organization’s annual status education report (rural) 2019, 34.2% of grade 3 students in the state capital Bhopal were able to recognize numbers from 1 to 9, but numbers from 11 to 99 were not.

According to the report on the quality index of school education in 2019 by NITI Ayog Madhya Pradesh, with 47.2 percentage points in 2016-17, it was 15th in the country, while it slipped one position further compared to 2015-16.

Bhopal KK Pandey, Joint Director of the Directorate of Public Instructions Retired, said: “Alphabet knowledge should begin at primary level. If we don’t improve education at primary level, we cannot improve education at secondary or higher levels. The state government must take the situation seriously. ”

The directorate of the Commissioner for Public Orders, Jaishree Kiyawat, could not be reached for their comments. She did not respond to calls and text messages. There was a similar response from the Chief Secretary, School Education Rashmi Arun Shami.

Minister of State for Primary Education (Independent Prosecution) Inder Singh Parmar said: “The state government, led by Prime Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, is taking various measures, including the new education policy, to bring about positive change in education and improve the overall situation in the state. “

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