It is a well-known fact that education to children occupies top priority in the governance of any country or state. As far as possible, it should be ensured that there are no loopholes in this sector. Conducive atmosphere is to be created by the government so that teachers work up to their full potential and students learn things easily.
But entirely the other way round is happening in Andhra Pradesh. A lot of confusion is prevailing among teachers and the taught. The government introduced CCE ( Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) pattern of evaluation in the high schools just when the CBSE shunned it because of its complexity and difficulty in implementing it effectively.
It is pretty clear that the government has not done any ground work before introducing this system. Most of the government schools are not at all equipped to implement this system properly. Further, teachers were not given sufficient training before they were asked to follow the new system.
There are two major hurdles in implementing the CCE pattern in our schools: One is high teacher-student ratio. In most of the ZP schools and even in private schools, this ratio crosses 1:50 instead of optimal 1:30. The second hurdle is lack of sufficient infrastructure facilities in the schools. One more disadvantage of this system is rigidity in implementation.
When the CBSE implemented it till the last academic year, there was freedom for teachers as to how to evaluate children’s performance. Project work was not mandatory for every formative assessment (FA). Students could be evaluated even orally and given grades based on that evaluation.
But the AP education department fixed the tasks for the four FAs and left teachers with no option to exercise their discretion. Project work is made mandatory for each FA. There is no scope for oral evaluation. Different tasks are prescribed for languages and other subjects are beyond the reach of the students in our state.
For example, consider the task of ‘book review’ prescribed for language subjects. To complete this task, students have to read a book and write their review on the book. In this context, it is relevant to refer to the recent survey report given by an NGO after testing the high school students in different areas.
The report concluded that most of the eighth class students are not in a position to read the text books prescribed for the second class. When the ground reality is such, how the students can read, comprehend and write a review of a book. Another ironic thing is that even the sixth class students are to write a review of a book in Hindi subject.
Actually, Hindi alphabet is introduced to the students in Andhra Pradesh only in the sixth class. Then, how are those students expected to write a book review? In the same way, in social studies subject, students have to comment on a contemporary issue published in news papers. Unfortunately, our students, studying both in government schools and private schools don’t have the habit of reading news papers daily.
Most of the children studying in ZP High Schools live in the government social welfare hostels which are not provided with news paper facility. Some of the hostels are subscribing to Telugu dailies only. Then commenting on a contemporary issue is practically impossible for those who are studying in English Medium.
So, to enable the students to complete these tasks, teachers themselves are doing these tasks and asking the children to simply copy and write in their books. This is not at all a healthy practice to be followed by teachers. But, we cannot blame teachers for helping children in this manner. Without their help, students can never complete those tasks.
Another very dangerous angle in this system is the manipulations done by corporate schools. To make their children score 10 GPA in the 10th class, they convert the examinations into simple handwriting practice tasks. Some schools are giving the question papers (both FAs and SAs) and asking children to write all the answers at home with the help of guides or study material supplied by the schools.
When we consider all these ground realities, we can easily conclude that the CCE pattern failed in our educations system. Cancellation of recent SA-1 exams is a classic and live example to support this argument. Corporate schools leaked even the SA-1 papers in advance, thanks to the deep-rooted corruption in the education department. It is high time the government reconsidered the continuation of this system.
It should take feedback from all the stakeholders and make necessary changes in the modus operandi of the system. Otherwise, standards in school education will touch nadir and irrevocable damage will be caused to children studying in the state. (Writer is Principal of a school in Narasaraopet)