July 20, 2011

Role reversal in Andhra Pradesh: Students to evaluate teachers

HYDERABAD: State schools will see a role reversal in their classrooms soon. Starting this academic year, students will be asked to evaluate the performance of teachers.

As per a decision taken by the department of school education, students of both private and government schools will be allowed to evaluate the performance of teachers in the classroom from this December.

The evaluation sheet will have questions on teachers ranging from their teaching skills to their attendance and also whether they are approachable. It will also evaluate the approach adopted by the teachers in class, especially towards students who are poor performers. The exercise is meant to be an extension of the project started by child protection committee about four years ago, whereby a complaint cell against teachers was set up. The process will become integral to the promotion of teachers as their marks will be taken into consideration during the annual appraisals in private schools. In government schools, the promotion of teachers will also depend on the marks given by students. A report on the performance of teachers will also be sent to the DEOs concerned. School education department officials said the DEO would ensure private schools enforce the programme.

Officials said that the teachers will be evaluated on a ten point scale. "We thought of a new evaluation process as the department felt that teachers should be accountable to students. The process will be introduced in classes V to X and we are even thinking of extending it to junior colleges that fall under the school education department," said a senior official.
Teacher associations have, however, opposed the move stating that the government should not link the performance with promotions. "The government is already conducting tests to evaluate the teachers as per the instructions of the Right to Education Act. With this new evaluation, the pressure on teachers will mount. This is not a good trend," said N Narayana from United Teachers Federation (UTF).


July 2, 2011

NEW DELHI: The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council has asked HRD ministry to examine bringing pre-school learning under the purview of Right to Education Act to "ensure continuity in the child's education".

In real terms, bringing pre-school learning into RTE would mean decreasing the age limit from six years to four years. Government would have to amend the RTE Act and change the norms of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the flagship programme, that is the main vehicle to implement RTE. Sources said it can be done without amending the Constitution. "Article 21A provides for free and compulsory education to children in the age group of six to 14. But it does not prohibit government from changing the school entry age to four," a source said.

HRD is already looking into the proposal to extend the RTE Act till class 10 from the current provision of class 8. However, in case of decreasing the school entry age to four the opinion varies. Many experts point out that right to education relates to formal schooling alone and not pre-school learning. It could also lead to a turf war between the ministry of women and child development and HRD.

NAC said ministries of women and child development and HRD should evolve a comprehensive national policy for early childhood and pre-school education. It said the policy must identify and propose appropriate curricular modules, promote age-appropriate learning and develop pre-school teacher-training modules and mechanisms.

The advisory body's recommendation has come as part of its report on the reform of Integrated Child Development Scheme. It has argued that children denied any pre-school education are severely disadvantaged when they enter class one at the age of six. "In the absence of a comprehensive national policy and regulatory framework on pre-school education, children between three and six years remain neglected," NAC said.

It said absence of accurate data on the provision of pre-school services, a proper assessment of needs, lack of clarity on the appropriate number of years of pre-schooling as well as the absence of a regulatory framework, policy guidelines, and designated pre-school services have led to confusion about the appropriate age of entry into class one, which in some states has dropped to five instead of six as envisaged by the RTE. The NAC said pre-primary schooling is already being contemplated by many states like Puducherry, Punjab and Kerala.