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Gujarat In Top 5 States, Yet In Chhotaudepur Primary Students Can’t Read A Word Nor Do Basic Sums

Raising questions over Gujarat’s education department’s performance, 2008-batch IAS officer Dhaval Kumar Patel sent a report to ministry The report claimed that students of some primary schools cannot even do simple math sums and can’t read a word He was one of the IAS officers sent by the education ministry to assess overall standard of education in different districts
Indian Masterminds Stories

In Central government’s department of school education Performance Grading Index (PGI) of school education released in November, 2022, Gujarat was among the top five best performing states with a score of 903. It was a marked improvement from 8th rank and score of 884 in previous year’s PGI. But an IAS officer of the state has raised questions over Gujarat’s soaring performance and education system.

The 2008-batch IAS officer and Commissioner of Geology & Mining Gandhinagar, Mr Dhaval Kumar Patel claimed that students of some primary schools in the tribal-dominated Chhotaudepur district cannot read a word and can’t solve simple Math questions.The letter has forced the state education department to seek a report from district authorities.

Mr Patel was one of the IAS officers sent to various districts under the ‘Shaala Praveshotsav’ campaign to assess the overall education scenario in government primary schools of the state government. 20th Shala Praveshotsav was held from 12th to 14th June with a focus on schools in border villages. It is a school enrolment program organized by the Education Department since the last two decades.

THE REPORT

In a letter sent to the Education Secretary Mr Vinod Rao on June 16, Mr Patel called the education being provided to tribal children flawed claiming that such degraded education would lead the next generation of tribals to work only as laborers and they would never progress in life.

Patel said, “I felt guilty after seeing the very low standard of education in five of the six schools I visited. We are doing injustice to these tribal children by imparting such rotten education.” Except for Rangpur primary school, all other schools in Chhotaudepur disappointed Mr Patel.

Recalling his visit to ‘Timla Primary School’, Mr Patel said, “Class-VIII students were reading each letter of a word separately as they could not read the whole word. The children were also having difficulty in doing simple mathematical calculations.”

He further said that at ‘Bodgam Primary School’, students could not tell antonyms for simple Gujarati words, like ‘day’. “Moreover, a girl student of Class-VIII could not show where the Himalayas and Gujarat were on the Indian map,” he added.

In a letter, Mr Patel written his observation that At Wadhwan Primary School, the level of education was extremely pathetic. Class-V students could not subtract 18 from 42.

“They even failed to read questions written in English in their question paper. Since everyone had written the correct answer in English, I suspect the teacher might have helped them,” he said

Dhaval Kumar Patel, 2008 batch IAS

THE RESPONSE

Gujarat’s Education Minister Mr Kuber Dindor said that he had sought a report from the authorities regarding the observations made by Patel. Dindor is also cabinet minister for Tribal Welfare Development.

“I have asked the officers of my department to give a detailed report so that we can make necessary changes. There are some issues in remote tribal areas. I am also from the same area. There is also a lack of awareness among the parents of the students. We will try to sensitize them and plug the gaps wherever required,” he said.

‘SHAALA PRAVESHOTSAV’

This year 46,600 dignitaries visited 27,368 primary schools of 27 districts during Praveshotsav. Gujarat’s Minister of State for Education Praful Pansheriya said the purpose of sending senior officers, other than IAS officers, to the field was to find loopholes so that they could be plugged.

However, on one side state is boasting of more than 9 lakh 77 thousand children getting enrolled in Kindergarten and 2.30 lakh children gets enrolled in Class-1, on the other hand, Mr Dhaval Patel’s report has exposed chinks in education department’s armour.


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