In race for enrolment, NCERT looks to improve image of govt schools
NCERT is trying do to something to dispel negative public perception, which has forced parents to turn increasingly to private schools.Updated: Apr 23, 2018 08:01 IST
Government schools in India have for long been weighed down by a perception problem: the education they impart is suspected to be low on quality, making for poor learning outcomes, their physical infrastructure too deficient to allow them to focus beyond textbooks, and they are thought to have too few, well-trained teachers .
The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is trying do to something to dispel the negative public perception, which has forced parents to turn increasingly to private schools hurting enrolment in government schools.
A parliamentary panel asked the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry why new admissions to government primary schools had come down by 15% while they had risen by 33% in private schools between 2010-11, 2014-15. The ministry replied that a sprout of private institutes had hit enrolment and some states wanted to set up new English-medium primary schools to reverse the trend.
Introduction of innovative teaching and learning techniques in classrooms, holding regular parent-teacher interactions and starting pre-school classes are some of the steps NCERT is considering as part of a branding exercise aimed at improving the image of government schools.
“Brand building should be accompanied by implementation of good pedagogy and critical theories of development. If brand building is accompanied by improvement in the quality of educational transaction then it is a great step but if it is devoid of critical pedagogy then it just becomes a cover-up for other things,” said Annie Koshi, principal at St Mary’s School in New Delhi’s Safdargunj Enclave.
NCERT conducted a national conference on March 27-28 on the theme ‘Branding of Government Schools’ to collect feedback on how to both dispel the negative perception of state-run schools.
“A number of papers were presented in the conference with many experts giving various suggestions, including starting pre-schools,” said NCERT director Hrushikesh Senapaty.
A detailed action plan is now being prepared, based on the suggestions made at the conference, which will be shared with the states.
According to a senior official, government schools have better qualified teachers and infrastructure than private ones, but their image , especially among parents whose focus is on sending their children to English-medium schools, is negative.
Delhi emerged among the five worst-performing states and UTs on learning outcomes and the worst in English for Class 8 students, according to the National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted by NCERT last year,which emphasised teacher training.
“Government schools today are better than many private schools but the image in the public is the exact opposite. They don’t want to send their kids to a Hindi medium school. We need to highlight the fact that English as a subject is taught in government schools though the medium of teaching is in the mother tongue.,” said a senior NCERT official.
One serious deterrent to parents sending their children to government schools is teacher absenteeism, said another NCERT official. “We will also focus now on teacher pedagogy and innovative methods that can be used to further strengthen government schools,” this NCERT official said.
First Published: Apr 23, 2018 08:00 IST