The Education system has been plagued by learning gap for a while and COVID-19 widened this gap further. According to the 2019 ASER Report, only 50% of the students from class 5 can read class 2 textbooks and 30% of the students of class 5 can solve class 3 division.
However, this percentage has increased in COVID-19 times as schools were closed for the past 18 months and classroom education became impossible. To ensure the continuity of learning many innovative ideas were implemented by schools such as YouTube classes, WhatsApp class groups, live classes, online courses and exams.
But this innovation has not yielded better results because of a lack of access to digital devices and the online learning platform not being inclusive. According to Azim Premji University’s research, around 90% of students have lost at least one linguistic ability and 80% have lost at least one mathematical ability during school closure.
As these learning gaps affect the future learning and earning ability of the children, it is important to address them immediately. Let’s look at 5 strategies schools can take to mitigate the learning gaps.
1. Bringing kids back to school
A house is synonymous with its residents and the same goes for school and its students. All over India, lakhs of students have moved out of the education system. The first and foremost step should be to plan out strategies to bring kids back to school. Schools can take initiatives like admission campaigns, promotions, fee discounts, bridge courses etc. to attract children back to the school.
2. Diagnostic assessments
It is crucial to know the learning level of students before looking at bridging the learning gap. Teachers can organise a basic diagnostic assessment before they start a new session. This will help the teachers know the current level of the students. They can then work on focus areas as per the students’ requirements along with the regular curriculum.
3. Bridge course
A bridge course is used to reduce the learning gap among the students by working on students’ foundational skills. According to the diagnostic assessments, schools can take the initiative in identifying students who need extra attention and arrange for remedial classes. It is advisable to modify the existing curriculum in a way that aligns with the bridge course.
4. Teacher training
It is recommended to train the teachers before implementation of the bridge courses. Bridge course is a well-established concept in the education system after the implementation of RTE and other campaigns such as “Sarv Sikhsa Abhiyan” it was imperative to have the proper training for teachers to implement it.
Training the teachers can help them in managing their classrooms better. They can learn techniques and methods to teach slow learners along with other students. They can also share their classroom experiences with other teachers and learn from them.
5. Community hubs
Tackling the learning gap only through school education will take a long time to overcome. Schools can support teachers by creating community hubs with the help of parents and community members. It is necessary to revise whatever students have studied in the school and community hubs can help the teachers to do so.
Every community can appoint somebody from the young or older generation who has some kind of literacy to supervise the kids with their homework and questions. Teachers can also visit these hubs and offer their support. Certainly, members of the community and schools have to work together to make community hubs successful.
These steps will help the schools to bridge the learning gap among the students. However, efficient implementation and consistent evaluation is required for any strategy to be successful. Schools have to ensure the implementation of these strategies is effective among all stakeholders and create a way to monitor its efficiency.