To enhance learning level of students, the HRD ministry has adopted a new mantra – improve teacher knowledge.
For this, introduction of teaching tools, mandatory yearly training, interactive sessions through satellite and better student-teacher ratio by hiring more teachers, are the measures the government has decided to take.
Hit by NCERT reports of low learning level in government schools around the country, the ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to build up additional teaching resources and monitor teacher attendance in schools.
A study in 21 states to analyse impact of teacher absenteeism will be completed by March 2007.
The states have been asked to hire additional 4.92 lakh teachers, apart from filling the vacancies, to improve pupil-teacher ratio.
HRD officials say states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have already started process to hire over one lakh teachers under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.
In a major change in strategy, teachers will no longer be spectators in curriculum review. A group of NGOs, teachers and education officers are part of a committee to formulate syllabus for primary level textbooks with more focus on issues related to students. Field trials will also be conducted. So, many states now have better textbooks which are simpler in language and carry more local content.
This is being augmented by HRD ministry's initiative to use education satellite EDUSAT for improving teacher training and building classroom resources.
EDUSAT-supported intervention centres have been stated in seven states - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradsh, Tamil Nadu and Haryana - on pilot basis, at a cost of Rs 14 crore, for improving classroom interaction between students in one state with another.
Teachers will be trained at a nodal office and experiences in different states will be shared, while students will learn what is being taught in other states.
"We have identified neighbouring districts of adjoining states because of cultural and linguistic affinity," a ministry official said, adding that computer-aided learning tools were being provided to schools.
Apart from the national level, many states have initiated measures to improve students learning levels.
Andhra Pradesh, which conducted special classes for weaker students, had instant results with students clearing tests with high grades improved from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.
In Maharashtra, education guarantee scheme for eight lakh students, perceived to be weak in reading, writing and arithmetic, was launched with student getting incentives to attend extra classes.
States like Gujarat and Uttranchal have launched special grading schemes to analyse students learning levels at regular intervals.
But, whether the programmes have worked or not for primary level will be measured by new baseline surveys starting next year as per the new national competency norms developed by NCERT.