India is all set to participate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) programme for international student assessment (PISA) after a gap of over a decade.
The government’s action plan is to send students from Chandigarh and students of Kendriya Vidyalaya for PISA, which is an international assessment of the education system in 73 countries, senior government officials said.
India had participated in PISA in 2009 when it came 72nd among 73 countries.
Learning from the past, India has started working on it more than a year earlier as PISA will take place in 2021.
A senior official said, “Students of Kendriya Vidyalayas across the country and schools in Chandigarh are being trained to answer questions on logical reasoning which is the pattern of the PISA assessment. That is actually the place where we lack as students are not able to answer if a question is twisted.”
PISA measures the scholastic performance of 15-year-old students in mathematics, science and reading.
Getting good scores in PISA could be a challenge for India as the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 reveals that only 40 per cent students of government schools can do simple division. Also, only half the students sampled in class 5 could read textbooks meant for class 2.
Students of private schools also did not fare well as only 54 per cent of them could do division.
In order to improve learning outcomes, the NCERT is working on course material, especially in mathematics. A senior NCERT official said, “We have found that students across the country are struggling with certain aspects of mathematics. That needs special attention. Meanwhile, play-way learning for elementary classes is also being worked on.”
One out of four children in rural India leaves Class 8 without basic reading skills. Over half of them (55.9 per cent) do not have basic numerical literacy or can’t perform basic calculations, according to the ASER report.
Meanwhile, the government is working on a national policy to make the education system more robust.
It has planned to strengthen the pre-school system of education by systematising it, including bringing it under the Right to Education Act, among other proposals.