BENGALURU: Despite several efforts by the government and schools to lessen the burden of homework, over 74.3% of Indian teachers still use “home assignments” as a top tool to assess students in every lesson, says the latest National Achievement Survey report for Classes 3, 5, and 8.
Only 24.3% of teachers depend on project-based or experiential learning to assess students, the survey, which covered government and private schools across the country, found.
Rajasthan (93%), Himachal Pradesh (92%), Haryana (92%) and Uttarakhand (91%) led the list of states where teachers almost entirely assess students on the basis of homework.
In Karnataka, 83% of teachers used home assignment as a tool to assess students’ abilities while 39% gave importance to project work. States like Tamil Nadu (67%), Puducherry (53), Andhra Pradesh (45), Odisha (40) and Tripura (42) attached more importance to project work, says the survey.
The survey findings are worrying, said Nirajan Aaradhya VP, fellow at Centre for Child and Law at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU). “This is because there is no proper plan to implement the National Curriculum Framework which talks about the conception of knowledge in different ways. We need more experiential learning, with the already available knowledge with children and methodology of teaching.”
He said in case of project work or experiential learning in classrooms, a 30-minute period is too short. “It gets over in a jiffy. We can’t blame it on teachers completely. A period of about 45 minutes is enough to make learning fun and interactive,” he added.
According to teachers who responded to the queries in the survey, their classroom assessment depended on regular oral and written tests to a large extent.
Smita Shankar, an English teacher from a private school on Sarjapur Road, said, “We are left with no option but to give homework to students due to lack of time. I am not in support of stopping homework completely, but will appreciate if there is a limit to it.”
Nagasimha G Rao, RTE and child rights activist, said, “Schools are dependent on parents for homework and parents depend on teachers. Students face the brunt of it all. Reducing the weight of school bags and focusing on classroom learning can help us get rid of the rampant homework system. Students will have enough time to enjoy their right to leisure and rest, and engage in playtime.”
MHRD order on school bags
According to recent orders by the ministry of human resource and development on weight of school bags, schools should not prescribe any subjects other than language and mathematics for Classes 1, and 2 and language, EVS and mathematics for Classes 4 to 5 students, according to the National Council Of Educational Research And Training (NCERT).
The ministry has further said students should not be made to bring excess books to school and the weight of bags should be checked. It also prescribed that the weight of school bag for students of Classes 1 and 2 should not exceed 1.5kg, while for Classes 3 to 5 it should weigh between 2kg and 3kg. Further, for students of Classes 6 and 7, the weight of the bag should not exceed 4kg, and for Classes 8 and 9 it should not be above 4.5kg. Lastly, for students of Class 10, the school bag should not weigh more than 5kg.
95% children in class 3, class 5 and 96% children in class 8 like to come to school
24% students in class 3, 23% in class 5 and 17% students in class 8 find difficult to travel to school
86% children in class 3 and 88% in class 5 and class 8 could understand what teachers say in class
For 73% students in class 3, 74% in class 5 and 70% students in class 8, the language used at home and by teachers is same
54% teachers in class 3, 57% in class 5 and 90% in class 8 are teaching the same subject they have pursued during higher study
22% teachers said school buildings need significant repair (Source: National Achievement Survey)