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Bengal government to assess learning loss due to school closure

September 16, 2021
Mita Mukherjee

The West Bengal government will assess the impact of learning loss among students studying in nearly 80,000 state-aided schools in Bengal due to continuous closure of institutions and find out measures to bridge the gap, a senior government official said.

This is the first time since the pandemic hit, the Bengal government took the initiative to assess learning loss in the absence of in-person teaching.  

A team of academics, school teachers and education experts have been engaged to prepare different “catch-up” study materials and questions for Classes I to XII which will be based not just on the syllabus of the class in which the students are studying now but also of their previous class. A component in the material will also be included to examine the extent the students are ready for the next class.

“The idea is to find out the present learning levels of students, identify the areas in which they are lacking  basic knowledge and prepare a comprehensive plan to bridge the gap,” said Aveek Majumdar, chairman of the West Bengal Syllabus Committee.  

Face-face to instructions were suspended in March 2020 and most students studying in the government schools, particularly in the small towns and remote rural belts could hardly access the online mode of teaching.

Students from marginalized families have forgotten what they had learnt one and half years ago when they had last attended in-person classes.

Citing an example, the official said, students who are now in Class II were in Class I when face-to-face instructions were suspended in all schools in March 2020 and they will be in Class III within a few months. Every student was granted automatic promotion last year and the no-retention system will take place even this year.  

“In such a situation the government needs to know the learning abilities of every student. Students will be asked to do certain academic activities which they will be able to do only if they know the topics that they had been taught in the previous class and developed the required learning level of the class in which they are studying now,”Majumdar told EducationWorld.

Several agencies have held different surveys in Bengal after the lockdown to assess the learning loss among students of government schools. Performance of students of government primary schools was found to be poor or not satisfactory in some of the surveys.

According to Majumdar, the government will not rely on these surveys, the reason being only a small number of students have been involved in the studies and the results do not give a clear picture. .

Through the proposed exercise, the state government aims to get a better idea about the exact situation by covering all the schools in the assessment.

“Around, 1.30 crore students study in the 80,000 government schools in the state. Each and every student will be evaluated through this process,” said Majumdar.

Also read: 

The economic impact of learning losses during pandemic

Study released by Azim Premji University on ‘Loss of Learning during the Pandemic’

Future of learning in post-pandemic era

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