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No child left behind: Come 2023, schools will no longer rank students merely on marks scored in exams

The Education Ministry wants schools to promote multi-disciplinary education by having a 50-50 balance of academics with other activities such as sports, literature, martial arts, music and dance. Students will be assessed on aspects such as their participation in extra-curricular activities, inter-school competitions, sporting prowess and basic etiquette. Classroom interactions will also be closely monitored.

April 29, 2021 / 01:56 PM IST
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Schools open

In a significant shift, from 2023 onwards classroom ranking across India’s 1.6 million schools will no longer be based only on the marks scored in exams.

Sources told Moneycontrol that the Education Ministry is drawing up a new structure of assessment, wherein the report card format will undergo a change over the next 24 months.

Here, students will be given a score on the report card based on the new skills they have acquired, extra-curricular activities and their inter-personal skills.

“The new system will include three components: self-assessment, peer assessment and teacher assessment. We don’t want students to continue with rote learning and get ranked first, second or third purely based on the marks scored in the final examination,” said an official.

The official added that the ministry is also likely to set up a committee with participation from school education department officials, principals and examination board executives.

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For students, this means there will be a clear departure from the rote learning system. Behavioural aspects, including communication skills and non-academic interests, will be taken into account.

This move is part of the process to implement the National Education Policy of 2020 across schools in India. Moneycontrol had reported earlier on how the government is planning to make changes in the structure of board examinations conducted for Class X and Class XII.

According to a UNICEF report, the Indian education system is one of the largest in the world, with more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children from varying socio-economic backgrounds.

What is a holistic report card?

Sources said that the Education Ministry wants schools to promote multi-disciplinary education by having a 50-50 balance of academics with other activities such as sports, literature, martial arts, music and dance.

Under the holistic report card plan, students will be assessed on aspects such as participation in extra-curricular activities, inter-school competitions and basic etiquette. Classroom interactions will also be closely monitored.

Further, a student who is good in a particular sport, say, football, swimming or kabaddi, would be sent to nearby sports facilities.

Industry experts are of the view that this would help students excel across fields. Prateek Oberoi, an education consultant based in Delhi, told Moneycontrol that students who have learning difficulties or have interests in sports and performing arts would be spotted at schools itself.

“Unlike in the West, where academics and extra-curricular activities are given equal importance, India still has a higher reliance on marks scored in exams. This shift in policy would help the education system become more competitive," he added.

Peer review and teacher review

For the first time in the Indian education system, there will be a peer review and teacher review system. This assessment will decide the final score that a student gets on the report card at the end of the year.

“School dropout rates are high, especially in smaller towns, because not much importance is given to the inter-personal skills of a student nor are there efforts to help those with learning difficulties. The holistic report card will factor in these aspects and include assessments done by peers in the classroom,” said another official.

What this means is that any problematic behaviour, such as bullying, violent behaviour or frequent mood swings, can be spotted early based on the testimonials of other students.

As per Education Ministry data, the average dropout rate at the primary school level is 4.13 percent, while it is 17.06 percent at the secondary level.
M Saraswathy is a business journalist with 10 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers consumer durables, insurance, education and human resources beat for Moneycontrol.
first published: Apr 29, 2021 01:56 pm

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