Saturday, January 25, 2014

Students of private aided schools no better than BMC counterparts: Study

Students of private aided schools no better than BMC counterparts: Study

Bhavika Jain & Hemali Chhapia, TNN May 23, 2013, 06.30AM IST

22% of classes I to VII students in Mumbai's civic schools can either not read their language of instruction or at the most recognize alphabets. The same percentage of standard I-VII students in the city's private aided schools have no reading skills or can merely read alphabets.
More than half the children in classes V-VII of BMC schools cannot read a story of the level of Std II. Two out of five students of the same classes in private aided schools too cannot read a story of the same level
Over half the children in municipal schools' classes III-IV cannot subtract and 90% cannot divide. In the same standards of private aided schools, nearly half the students cannot subtract and 86% do not know how to divide
Popular belief suggests that private aided schools fare better than their municipal counterparts; that the students of private institutions learn more and thus perform better than the pupils of civic schools. The conventional wisdom, as a micro-level survey shows, got it wrong.
NGO Pratham surveyed about 26,500 students of municipal schools and around 37,300 students of private aided schools across Mumbai. All the students were in classes I to VII.
For the parameters, the NGO chose the students' ability to read the language of instruction (letter, word, paragraph, story) and mathematical skills (number recognition, subtraction, division). What it found was an insubstantial difference in the reading and math skills of the two sets of students.
"There isn't much difference between aided and civic schools. The belief that private schools do better is simply not true," said Farida Lambay, vice principal of Nirmala Niketan College Of Social Work and co-founder of Pratham. She asserted that both types of educational institutions suffer from "quality control issues" that require immediate attention.
The survey uncovered issues, indeed. Three out of four students of BMC schools could not read a story from a class II textbook; seven of 10 pupils of private aided schools too could not achieve the simply task. Just 17% children studying in civic schools and 23% pupils of private aided schools could divide.
A household study, the survey was conducted among 593 communities over six months and tabled last week before the civic education committee. There are 1,319 municipal schools in the city providing education to 4.39 lakh students, while the tally of private aided schools is 1,200.
The survey discovered that 4% of students of standards V-VII in both civic and private aided schools could either not read the language of instruction or just about read alphabets. One in four children in classes V-VII of BMC schools could recognise numbers 1 to 100 but neither subtract nor divide. The share of students from the same standards in private aided schools who could again not subtract or divide but merely recognise numbers was 16%.
Lambay said the poor reading and math abilities could be explained by most parents' belief that all education takes place in classrooms. The no-fail policy too is hurting students, she maintained. The report recommends better implementation of continuous comprehensive evaluation.
Lambay said most parents prefer private schools and shell out substantial tuition fee, whatever their resources, because their medium of instruction is English. "If the performance levels are slightly better in aided schools, it is mostly because of parents' participation," said Pratham founder Madhav Chavan.

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