Over 50% city kids fail grade-level English test in Gurugram
The city was among the three worst-performing blocks out of a total of 26 blocks across Haryana that took part in Saksham Plus—a statewide initiative which tests grade-level competency in government schools. Out of the 26 blocks that took part in the programme, Gurugram ranked 23rd on the performance scale. More than 50% students of classes 3, 5 and 7 in government schools of the city failed the English competency test held last month.
Out of the four blocks that comprise Gurugram district—Gurugram, Sohna, Pataudi, and Farrukhnagar—only Gurugram block took part in the exam, the results of which were declared last week. More than 4,500 children from 44 city schools had participated in the test and only 48%, 26% and 40% students in classes 3, 5 and 7, respectively, achieved grade-level competency, said Gurugram block education officer Sushil Gaur.
Grade-level competencies means that a student in a particular grade knows all the competencies or skills defined for that particular grade. For a block to become ‘Saksham’, at least 80% of its students need to be grade-level competent in the subject.
“For a block to be declared Saksham, 80% of the students in two out of three classes should have achieved grade-level competency. While 70% and above students should have achieved the grade-level competency in the third class,” explained Manoj Kaushik, trainer in-charge, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan.
A senior official from the education department said students faced difficulties with English and would need some more time to improve their performance.
“The subject also involves some level of complexity. Most of the students don’t have an environment around them where English is spoken. Moreover, competency-based teaching has only started recently and one cannot expect immediate results. We have understood the problem areas and are working on them. Initially, we were simply teaching textbook material. However, are focus now is on skill-based learning,” said the senior official, who did not wish to be quoted.
Gaur said students had participated in the English exam for the first time, and would gain from their experience. “This is the first time that Gurugram participated in the Saksham Plus exam. Even other blocks that have now been declared Saksham Plus, took 2-3 attempts to achieve the status. It’s a new experience and we are introspecting on factors that can lead to improvement,” he said.
He added that the department was holding review meetings and would prepare, with renewed zeal and enthusiasm, for the next test, which is scheduled for August. He said that State Council of Educational Research and Training, Haryana, has also started working towards aligning teaching material to the competency-based assessment.
“The test is conducted by a third-party and this time the paper was tougher than usual. It was difficult for the students. We have also started creating question banks and other reading material which is aligned with Saksham Plus so that the performance of students improves,” director Jyoti Chaudhary said.