Published: 27th May 2022
National Achievement Survey 2021: Tamil Nadu's report card does not read well
The state's children stood below the national average when it comes to learning outcomes and the teachers complained that they felt overburdened by work
Students between Classes VIII and X in Tamil Nadu lacked adequate problem-solving skills using rational numbers, locating important historical sites and places on maps, identifying construction models using materials from their surroundings and explaining the process of making a law. This was revealed in the National Achievement Survey 2021. In fact, students in Tamil Nadu were found lagging behind the national average when it comes to overall learning outcomes.
In English, apart from Class X students, all others were found lacking in all other subjects. Only 2 per cent of students of Class X were proficient in Science and only 8 per cent had acquired intended learning outcomes in Maths and Science, the survey revealed. The rest of the students stood at basic and below basic levels. In fact, about 26-77 per cent of the students studying in Classes III, V, VIII and X said that they did not have proper devices to study. One in three students complained that they faced obstacles in learning during the pandemic.
While speaking to IANS, Dr R Padmanabhan, Director, Socio-Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based in Madurai, said, "The results of the survey are worrisome and a comparison between 2017 and 2021 shows that children have fared poorly now than in 2017. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is showing on the performance of the students, it seems."
What is also a cause of concern is the fact that more than 50 per cent of the teachers said that they felt overburdened with work. An academic told IANS, "The NAS survey results show that the Tamil Nadu government has not focused on outcome-based learning and the pandemic has affected the whole education system in the state. There was no proper monitoring and children were mostly learning painting, drawing and singing rather than Science and Maths. There has to be learning with systematic inputs covering all subjects and the lack of such learning is being seen in the survey."
In a bid to address this issue, experts suggest that monitoring teachers and realigning them towards learning outcomes in children was necessary. Padmanabhan told IANS, "The teachers must be monitored properly and there should be fixed responsibilities on the learning outcome of children. The higher officials of the education department must pay regular visits to schools and conduct surprise inspections on the skills of the students, otherwise, the state will go from bad to worse."