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Edu experts divided over rote learning

PUBLISH DATE 3rd September 2017

Demand Awareness On Proper Schooling

Learning by rote, not just at home but also in schools, is leading to poor quality of education, experts said.

A report, `Learning without burden' documented by a committee appointed by the Union HRD ministry , chaired by former UGC chairman Yash Pal, stated that, “Syllabus is 'covered' in the average classroom by means of reading the prescribed textbook aloud, with occasional noting of salient points on the blackboard. Opportunities for children to carry out experiments, excursions, or any observations are scarce even in the best of schools.“

According to Hemangi Joshi, convenor of the Maharashtra RTE Forum, “Expectations of some parents from children are high. Many parents' perception of education is limited to examinations and competitions. Right to Education Act has prohibited schools from punishment. But parents and other adults must be brought into the preview of a legal instrument which protects children from all sorts of violence, including corporal punishment.“

Joshi said such incidents are common, especially in urban areas. Apart from a legal instrument, it highlights an urgent need for parents' education on schooling and child rearing.

Educationists said both the teacher and the child have lost the sense of joy in being involved in an educational process. Teaching and learning have both become a chore for a great number-of teachers and children. Barring those studying in reputed or exceptional institutions, a majority of our school-going children are made to view learning at school as boring, even unpleasant and bitter experience.

Sanjeev Sonawane of the education and extension department of Savitribai Phule Pune University said, “In school, there is summative and formative evaluation. In summative, a student is assessed with grades and marks but in formative, the evaluation is based more upon the learning of a student.

Until summative learning continues, mugging up will not depart from the formal education system,“ he added.

Education expert Kishore Darak said, “Rote learning is useful to some extent. If we had no rote learning, we would have problems as far as the current curricula and methods of assessment are concerned.I do not support rote learning without it making sense of what is being memorised. But it does have some merits. For example, knowing the tables which is usually done by rote learning increases ease of calculation and hence confidence in maths.“