Quality education package produces better results in Maharashtra schools
By Vidya Kulkarni
Nikita is fast to grasp languages and she can read and write better than most other children her age. Akshay is good in arithmetic, but slower in languages. Ankit needs more time than others to grasp a subject. Though their capabilities differ, all three have one thing in common. Nikita, Akshay and Ankit love their school and enjoy learning. Each one of them gets individual attention in school based on their learning pace.
The school in Doma village, Chimur block, district Chandrapur in the state of Maharashtra, is one of the model schools where UNICEF has introduced an innovative method of quality education. The pilot was launched in July 2005 for Classes I and II in a total of 12 schools in Chandrapur and Yavatmal districts of Maharashtra and will eventually be introduced in all the schools in the two districts.
The "Quality Package" adopts what is known as the Multi-Grade Multi Level teaching method, which allows the class teacher to detect the different propensities and levels of understanding of students and divide activities accordingly.
In Masal (Tukum) village - another model school - the head teacher Rajendra Sangamvar, who has been using these teaching techniques, is noticing a positive change among the students. "Growth in learning abilities boosts the confidence of the children. Now they have become more curious and are not afraid to ask questions" says the teacher.
An assessment of the model schools in January 2006, seven months after the Quality Package was introduced, has shown marked improvement on several counts. Children now ask more questions in the classroom; teachers are better prepared, and there are other significant changes that add value to the teaching-learning process.
The mid-term assessment of all schools in the districts, carried out by the Department of Education of the state government has also noted the effectiveness of this method. The model schools have fared 20% - 25% better than other schools. Most importantly, the sustained interest of children in schools and their beaming, happy faces testify to the fact they are having fun learning.