Will anyone waste 50% of Rs. 4,65,142 Crore every year? Find out who it is?

According to 2015 NCERT survey, nationally, even after 5 Years of schooling only 45% of our students can read and write in their mother tongue and only 46 % can do basic operations in maths . In Tamilnadu it is 54% and 56% respectively. It means that after five years of schooling, more than 50 % student neither can read or write in mother tongue or do any addition or subtraction even in single digits leave alone multiplication or division. What is surprising is that these results have become worse than the results of earlier cycle held in 2010/11 in most of the states.

National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) periodically conducts achievement test in Government and aided schools to assess how much our students learn in schools. They have been doing it for more than 15 years. This type of assessment is made in different grades like 5th, 7th etc. The above results are from their 4th cycle of National Achievement Test 2015.

We have, nationally, more than 140 million children in school (equal to population of UK and Germany put together) up to grade V and we spend annually at the national level about Rs 4,65,142 Crores (2011–12 MHRD figure). It will be more now. By spending more than Rs.4.5 lakh crore every year, we can’t give even basic reading writing skills in mother tongue and basic skills of addition subtraction etc to 50% of our 140 million children.

If few Engineers and Doctors go away from our country seeking employment elsewhere we make a huge noise as ‘brain drain’

What about our national indifference to wasting 50% of our 140 million children’s brain every day

Will any private organisation tolerate this colossal waste of spending 4.5 lakh Crores every year, producing less than 50 % results? Is this not precarious?

Private schools are no better. May be some of them are good at making children memorising facts (rote learning)

Who is at fault? Are our children responsible? Who is to be blamed?

Can you recall at what age our children start learning to speak? It is around 2 years and at 5 they learn to speak the mother tongue fluently well without any grammar mistakes. Can you guess who is teaching them to speak? No One!! They learn to speak by just observing the parents and community. All children have potential to learn naturally. It is inherent. Haven’t we seen skilled electricians, plumbers without any formal education doing wonderful job in our villages?

When children can learn so many things on their own, without anyone teaching, why should they refuse to learn in the classroom when we try to teach? This is despite a fully trained teacher, free text books, free noon meal, free uniform and plethora of incentives etc.

Is it child’s fault? Is it fair to detain them and brand them as dull and slow learners? Children come to school with so much of potential to learn and this capacity to learn is not only natural but universal also, not as if only elite children learn to speak, every child irrespective of economic or social status learn to speak.

Somebody has to assume responsibility for this colossal waste? Why is it not happening?

Given an opportunity Children will certainly learn. There is no qualms in accepting it. Then what has gone wrong? Do we have a clue?

When Children refuse to learn in the class room, it means we don’t know to teach them in the manner they learn. Then how do they learn? They dont learn by listening alone. Let us think how do we learn swimming? Suppose we are taught in the classroom how to swim and if we are put in the pool can we survive. May be, if exams are conducted on how to swim, we may get through but we can’t learn swimming by listening to lectures. Therefore the problem lies in our approach to providing right ‘eco-system’ which will give students opportunity to experience and learn. This is what every text book on Methodology of Teaching and books on Educational Psychology speak about.

Then why is not happening in the class room handled by trained teachers?. There are excellent time tested and proven models available. But seldom we care. This reminds us about the poem of Bharathy.

“நல்லதோர் வீணை செய்தே நலங்கெட புழுதியில் எறிவதுண்டோ”

These facts are not obscure or hidden somewhere. It is there in public domain for everyone to see and only thing is we are completely oblivious to this crime committed on our children. These helpless children are refused opportunity to learn. Will those manage Educational systems realise and act?