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Poor student learning outcomes a major concern: PM

September 11, 2012

Voicing concern over poor student learning outcomes, prime minister Manmohan Singh pitched for continuous assessment of benefits derived by children through education besides tracking attendance. Addressing ‘teacher awardees’ on the eve of Teacher’s Day (September 4), Singh said the last eight years had seen a significant increase in enrolment of children in primary schools and a decline in the gender gap in elementary education.
“However, the poor levels of student learning remain a major concern. Therefore, as we move ahead we need a clear shift in our strategy from a focus on inputs, access and enrolment to what goes on in the classroom and the school,” he said, adding that there was a need to set up transparent and reliable systems for tracking attendance of children in a truly meaningful way.

“At the same time, we need to put in place a system of continuous assessment of the benefit our children are getting from their education. Participation of the community and parents would be essential in this process, so that they can be satisfied with the quality of teaching,” he said. According to Singh there has been a significant reduction in socio-economic inequalities in access to education and a narrowing of the gap between SCs/STs, minorities and other social groups.

He said the government has substantially increased public spending on education since 2004-05. The education expenditure as a percentage of the gross domestic product has increased from 3.3 percent in 2004-05 to four percent in 2011-12. Per capita public expenditure on education has increased from Rs.888 in 2004-05 to Rs.2,985 in 2011-12, he said, adding that the enhanced outlays have helped in a massive expansion of the educational infrastructure and sanction of additional posts of teachers on a large scale.

Singh emphasized the need for teachers to be an integral part of policy-making, governance and management, as also of day-to-day instructional strategies and decision making. “The empowerment of teachers that includes real opportunity for them to share policy perspectives and decision-making will have to be the key component of the educational reform process,” he said.

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