Findings on the Educational System

The Survey questioned the students on various aspects of their experiences at school.

   
 

Overall student satisfaction: Half of the students found the educational system deficient in some respect. Among their chief criticisms, the lack of Indian culture came first (17% of those who expressed a criticism), followed by the excessively bookish method of teaching and the lack of practical applicability (14%), and the lack of values (11%).

 

 

Mother tongue vs. English: 47% of the students felt that the mother-tongue medium is the best to facilitate understanding (against 24% who favoured English). This feeling was especially strong in government schools (63%), and among students studying in Bengali, Kannada, Tamil and Gujarati. Even among English-medium students, 40% favoured the mother-tongue medium, pointing to a high level of dissatisfaction for that medium among its users.

 

 

Another question brought out that 13% of students cannot read their mother tongue, and 18% cannot write in it.

 

 

Competition: Even though 64% of the students found competition beneficial, 43% felt that the examination system is stressful (the last figure is likely to be much larger in reality).

 

 

Textbooks: 62% found the load of textbooks to be carried to school unnecessary and excessive.

 

 

Role of parents: While the majority seemed satisfied with the role of their parents in their education, 35% reported being under pressure to get marks.

 

 

Physical training: 70% of the students found physical training a pleasant change, but 31% of them found it insufficient. Most schools had some physical activity once a week, but many had it just once a month, or even less.

 

 

Eco-awareness: About half of the students reported participating in the planting of saplings or cleanup programmes, but only 26% were taken on visits to Nature spots. 67% desired a green area in or around their school.

 

Influence of variables on the educational system

 

Studies of the influence of variables enabled us to reach some important conclusions:

   
 

An elaborate study of a “satisfaction” pattern, correlating 15 different questions and drawing a five-grade scale, concluded that only 42% of all students could be said to be satisfied with the quality of school education (out of which 8% were “very satisfied”). Another 28% were average, 23% were dissatisfied and 8% were very dissatisfied.

 

 

 

Gender: Girls were generally happier with all aspects of school education than were boys, except as far as book load is concerned.

 

 

 

School type: Fewer students of private urban schools found that their education promotes all-round growth. Their schools were also far behind others as far as eco-awareness programmes were concerned.

 

 

 

However, students of government schools felt much less happy than private-school students about the level of teachers’ interaction with them, the amount of physical training, and the space given to art in education.

 

 

 

Students of government rural schools found the examination system least stressful (perhaps because they are under less pressure to perform); they also found competition more harmful than did other students.

 

 

 

Overall, our study of “satisfaction” established that students of government schools, especially in urban areas, are more dissatisfied than those of private schools.

 

 

 

Class: Figures showed that the higher the class, the higher the dissatisfaction with the content of education, the teaching methods, the examination system, the book load, or the amount of time devoted to sports. Also, the higher the class, the fewer students who found that their education promotes all-round growth. Our pattern study confirmed a steady decrease in satisfaction from class to class: class 9 scored 54 on a scale of 100, while class 12 scored 49.

 

 

 

Medium: English-medium students found the examination system much more stressful than did Indian-language-medium students; we showed that one factor contributing to stress was the difficulty of following studies in English. They were also the students who complained the most about book load. In addition, English-medium schools gave much less room to Nature-related activities than did Indian-language medium ones.

 

 

 

Our study of “satisfaction” showed that overall, Kannada-medium students were the most satisfied with their education, followed closely by Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi. At the other end, Bengali-medium students ranked as the least satisfied, followed by English-medium and Tamil-medium students.

 

Remarks on Expression

Noticing a substantial proportion of blank replies, especially against questions that asked the student to formulate a thought or suggestion, we decided to analyze patterns in those blanks. Results were unexpected:

   
 

The proportion of blank answers was 21% over all questions, rising to 36% for the more challenging questions, attesting a lack of habit of original thinking or expression. We felt the cause to be a widespread reliance on mechanical methods of teaching and learning, which rarely encourages students to articulate their own thoughts.

 

 

 

Girls expressed themselves slightly better than boys.

 

 

 

Students of government rural schools were the most capable of expressing their thoughts, not only overall, but also with respect to the more challenging questions. Private urban school students come a distant second.

 

 

 

In terms of medium, the same study showed students in Tamil and Gujarati well ahead of others, including English-medium students, in the ability to articulate their thoughts.

 

 

 

We demonstrated through a multivariate statistical study that students were prone to give excessively positive responses to individual questions. For instance, as regards satisfaction with the educational system, we showed that over a third of all students contradicted themselves at least once (we suggested a number of possible reasons for this). This confirmed the well-known pitfall of looking at a single question in search of a conclusion.

Next: Students’ comments

 
       
 
 
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