Months after NAS, schools in Punjab again faring better than Delhi

Almost four months after schools in Punjab fared better than Delhi in the National Achievement Survey (NAS), a similar finding was seen in the Foundation Learning Study (FLS) 2022 report released on Tuesday.

The study, released by the Union Department of Education and the National Council for Education and Research Training (NCERT), was conducted to investigate the basic digital and language learning skills of students in class 3 with a sample of 86,000 children in 10,000 schools across the country. In Punjab, 3,233 children were tested in math and three languages ​​– English, Hindi and Punjabi in 320 schools.

The results show that in three common subjects – Mathematics, English and Hindi – Delhi has a higher percentage of students who lack basic knowledge and skills compared to Punjab.

The results of the study were based on individual interviews with each participant. Based on their performance, students were classified into four groups: Below Minimum Overall Competence (those who lacked the most basic knowledge and skills); Partially satisfied (those with limited knowledge and skills); Reaches minimum overall competence (those who have developed sufficient knowledge and skills) and exceeds minimum overall competence (those who have developed superior knowledge and skills).

In English, 47% of participants from Punjab were ranked in the highest category; Delhi had 42%. Only 4% of Punjab lacked basic English skills, compared to 17% of Delhi.

In languages, children were tested for oral reading fluency (ORF) and reading comprehension. A similar result was observed in Hindi; It was found that 26% of participants in Delhi lacked basic skills, compared to 16% in Punjab. Almost 47% of children in Punjab had superior language skills, compared to 30% in Delhi. In the basic numeracy (mathematics) test, 12% of children in Delhi lack basic skills, compared to 10% in Punjab. While 45% of children in Punjab had sufficient skills in basic mathematics, this figure rose to 41% for Delhi.

The FLS is an assessment of academic performance. Several foundational literacy skills, including oral language comprehension, phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, and oral reading fluency with comprehension, were assessed. For fundamental numeracy, number identification and comparison, number operations, multiplication and division facts, measurement, fractions, patterns, and data processing are included.

In English, 47% of participants from Punjab were ranked in the highest category; Delhi had 42%. Only 4% of Punjab lacked basic English skills, compared to 17% of Delhi.

The FLS study sample included state public schools, government-subsidized schools, recognized private schools, and central government schools.

The Ministry of Education launched the National Initiative for Reading Proficiency with Comprehension and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat in July 2021 to enable all children at the end of Grade 3 to acquire foundational skills by 2026 -2027. The data derived from the FLS study would help establish a baseline for the NIPUN Bharat mission, the ministry said.

Delhi vs Punjab debate

Although Punjab has performed better than Delhi in national surveys such as NAS and Performance Grading Index (PGI), AAP leaders including CM Bhagwant Mann have claimed that the ‘ground reality’ in public schools in the state contrasted with the survey results.

The Mann-led AAP government in Punjab pushed for the implementation of the “Delhi model of education” in the state, which the opposition Congress and SAD called a “failed model”. As elections approached in Punjab this year, education had become one of the central issues in the debate between the AAP and the Congress.

Opposition leaders, including SAD’s Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema and former CM captain Amarinder Singh, had demanded Mann apologize to students and teachers in the state for “defaming” them and to congratulate them for surpassing the NAS in May of this year.

“How can a failed Delhi model replace what is already successful,” former CM captain Amarinder Singh had said after Punjab overtook NAS. He said the AAP was trying to propagate a “false” model at the cost of hard work and effort by students and teachers in Punjab.

A senior AAP official speaking on condition of anonymity said Wednesday, “We don’t know how these investigations are conducted. Go to any public school in Punjab and even now children cannot read basic English and Punjabi. They lack confidence. AAP will fix it.

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