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Centre to map learning loss due to covid in 733 districts

The National Achievement Survey (NAS) will be one of India’s largest official school education assessment exercises, and include both state-run and private schools.htPremium
The National Achievement Survey (NAS) will be one of India’s largest official school education assessment exercises, and include both state-run and private schools.ht

  • The National Achievement Survey (NAS) will be one of India’s largest official school education assessment exercises, and include both state-run and private schools for the first time, two education ministry officials said.

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The Union government is planning a nationwide survey to assess the learning loss from extended school closures, ahead of preparing solutions for the same.

The National Achievement Survey (NAS) will be one of India’s largest official school education assessment exercises, and include both state-run and private schools for the first time, two education ministry officials said.

The survey report will have separate data for national and district levels, giving a clear view on accumulation of unlearning, damage done and expected time for recovery.

“The NAS will give us a concrete picture about the learning loss during covid and help us in framing the way forward better. We have seen a few small surveys by private entities that claim a learning loss of around 60%, but we need to have a fair idea via our own survey. Our exercise will be massive, comprising around 4 million students and have samples from every single district of the country," said one of the two officials cited above, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.

Students in Classes III, V, VIII and X will be surveyed simultaneously.

“The exercise is being conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). The assessment is happening in the second week of November, and we hope to have the outcome in four to six months," the official said, adding that once the outcomes are ready, it will help in national, state and district-specific policy formulation to correct it.

Schools were closed in mid-March 2020 just ahead of the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Though schools went online soon, lack of access to electronic gadgets and good internet connectivity impacted the quality of education, especially in rural India.

“The instrument development, testing, finalization of the test items, sampling of the schools, etc., will be done by NCERT. However, the actual administration of the test in the sampled schools will be done by CBSE. NAS 2021 will cover the entire spectrum of schools, i.e. government schools (central and state government), government-aided schools and private schools across the country. It is expected that nearly 123,000 schools and 38 lakh students in 733 districts across 36 states and Union territories will be covered in the NAS 2021 test," according to an official document reviewed by Mint.

An education ministry spokesperson declined to comment.

Language, mathematics and environmental studies will be surveyed for Classes III and V. Students of Class VIII will be assessed in language, mathematics, science and social science and Class X students will be assessed in language, mathematics, science, social science and English.

The NAS exercise would be conducted in 22 languages, including Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Nepali.

To be sure, the exercise was last held as a competence-based test in 2017.

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