The study assessed the ability of students to recognize characters in the local languages, and while students could recognize the root alphabet, they struggled to identify the compound character formed by joining “a” to the root character. While 32% students in Palghar could recognize the compound character, only 22% in Yadgir could recognize the same.
Often, poor learning outcomes are attributed to lack of diversity in curricula, this research shows that even an activity-based curriculum couldn’t help the students as the teachers were ill-prepared and lacked the pedagogical tools required to teach Indian languages
- Is it the issue with pedagogy — teachers lacking pedagogical tools?
- Is it the issue of systemic capacity/constraints (Gulzar calls them ecosystem-constraints) that constrain teachers’ efforts or overlook their lack of efforts?
Identifying the right question is important because the solutions lead to different policies. If it’s the issue of pedagogy and lack of teachers’ lack of tools, the solution is fill the knowledge gaps of teachers. If it’s the issue of systemic issues constraining teachers’ efforts, it means that teachers aren’t putting enough efforts. No amount of pedagogy drilling will help. The issue then is of addressing the ecosystem constraints.
One of the main concerns flagged by the report is that early literacy is a rather new area for research with very little or negligible focus on early literacy in Indian languages. Further, curriculum materials cannot exist in isolation from effective pedagogical tools, the report adds. The complexity of decoding and comprehending Indian scripts has not been fully captured by the current curriculum and that remains a major challenge.