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Pratham CEO Rukmini Banerji Calls for Improvement in Current Assessment Methods

There is a need to work on and improve our current methods of assessment in school education, Rukmini Banerji, chief executive officer at Pratham Education Foundation told Business Standard in an interaction on Tuesday.

While discussing the Central Board of Secondary Education’s proposed open book examinations (OBE), Banerji said that it is a “good idea”.

“We need to try new things. The open book exam idea should be tried in low-stakes settings. We should try it and then discuss it and debate it. All in the spirit of trying to figure out better ways of understanding what our children can do. We need to improve our methods of assessment,” she said.

Pratham Education Foundation currently works directly with over 10,000 communities across India and in partnership with several state governments to identify gaps in school education and come up with programs to address them.

The foundation also releases the Annual Status of Education Report, more commonly known as the ASER report, to shed light on the learning levels of various age groups and genders.

The ASER report released in 2022 pointed out that after the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a sharp fall in the learning levels in most states in India. It was across both government and private schools and for both girls and boys.

On Tuesday, Banerji said that there has been a recovery in the learning levels after the initial dip.

“According to me, India should be in a better position now,” she said.

She said the “clear definitions” of objectives laid down in the New Education Policy (NEP) have helped guide the efforts that are being made to improve learning by schools and teachers.

Banerji said there has been a lot of work going on in various states after its introduction.

“There is a push,” she said, adding that she was “impressed” at the effort that some states are putting in.

“In the states in which we work, it is the most in Uttar Pradesh.”

The field surveys for the next ASER report, which will measure the learning levels as of 2024, are expected to start in September. The report is likely to be released in January next year.

Banerji sounded optimistic about the results she expects from it.

“I am anxiously awaiting the 2024 report,” she said. “I have faith in our parents, our teachers, and our ability to push to move forward.” 

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(Source: Business Standard)

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