Sunday, October 25, 2015

Accelerated learning mooted for academically weak students

MUMBAI: From the next academic year, students who are academically weak may be able to opt for an accelerated learning programme, which will teach them three to four years’ curriculum within one year, and help them catch up with their peers.
The principal secretary of the state school education de partment, Nand Kumar, has put forth this proposal to reduce the number of students failing in Class 9 and to arrest the dropout rate in secondary sections.
Cur rently, t he state has the highest dropout rate in Class 9- it stands at 8.9% as per the latest U-DISE (Unified District Information System for Education) report. This is much higher than dropout rates for other classes, which range between 1% and 3%.
According to officials, schools fail a large number of students in class 9, and as a result the students drop out. This trend has been aggravated with the introduction of the no- f ail policy in 2010, which provides for automatic promotion from class 1 to class 8.
“We are studying accelerated learning programmes that have managed to teach four-and-ahalf year’s curriculum to students in just one year,” said Kumar. “It was implemented for primary students by a private non-profit organisation.”
The department will rope in officials, educationists and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) working for education to provide their suggestions to the proposal. “The idea is at a nascent stage right now, we will finalise the details after consulting with experts,” said Kumar.
But educationists raise concerns over the benefits of an accelerated learning programme for secondary students. “Such programmes can be done easily for students in primary sections, as students are able to grasp concepts better at a young age, but it will be a little difficult for 14-15-year-olds to study at that pace,” said Farida Lambay, cofounder, Pratham, NGO.
City school principals welcomed the proposal. “Owing to the no-fail policy, children have lost the practice of writing and are hence unable to score in exams in higher classes,” said Father Francis Swamy, principal, St Mary’s School (ICSE), Mazgaon, and the joint secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Education that runs 150-odd schools in the city.


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