Students fare poorly as they can’t comprehend Maths and Nepali curricula, study shows


The Kathmandu Post

Hardly 28 percent of fifth graders grasp the mathematical concepts as intended in the curriculum while 32 percent of the students don't even learn five percent of their course by the time they complete their grades, a study shows.

A government report unveiled on Monday points out that the performance of the students is gradually decreasing despite the government’s aim to better the results. The average performance of grade five students in the subject which was 500 in 2015 went down to 477 last year. The study was done using a multi-stage sampling technique and Item Response Theory where 500 has been taken as the mean value of performance.

The Education Review Office under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology carried out the performance study among 28,381 fifth-graders from 1,400 public and private schools in 24 districts, selected randomly. The study was for Mathematics and Nepali.

The students’ performance in Nepali was comparatively better than in mathematics. In Nepali, 45 percent of students had the learning achievement as demanded by the curriculum while one-fifth of the students failed to learn even five percent of their course. The review office starting in 2010 has been measuring the learning achievements of the students from grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 every two years.

The study shows that the students from the Dalit community and Karnali Province have the worst learning achievement. The average performance of students from the Dalit community stood at 494 in Nepali and 491 in mathematics while it was 501 and 504 respectively for the students belonging to the Brahmin and Chhetri communities.

The achievement for the students for Nepali in Karnali was 488 while it was 496 for mathematics. The other provinces, however, have varied results.

Gandaki Province is ahead of others when it comes to performance in Nepali but Province 2 beats others in Math. However, the students from Province 2 are the second poorest performers in Nepali after those in Karnali. “This is because a large number of students from the province don’t have Nepali as their mother tongue,” Shyam Acharya, a member of the research team, said while unveiling the report.

The study has a serious finding that around half of the students—47 percent of the respondents—said they have faced some sort of bullying in school from their peers or seniors. And their performance was found significantly lower than that of others who didn’t have adverse experience at school. The performance of the students who had faced extreme bullying had learning achievement of 472 in Nepali and 479 in mathematics.

The students from private schools outperformed their colleagues from the public schools in both subjects. While the students from private schools got 523 in mathematics and 525 in Nepali, those from public schools achieved just 493 and 491 respectively.

The study also showed a huge difference in the performance of the children of educated parents from the illiterates. Similarly, the children whose mother is educated have better performance than of those whose father is educated.

“The study has diagnosed problems, now we need to make the needed intervention,” said Tek Narayan Pandey, director general at the review office. The education experts say though the reports are being published regularly showing that all is not well with the education system, no proper steps have been taken by the government for the improvements.

“These studies have not made any impact on policy makers. Such findings are useless unless they are internalized while formulating the policies,” Educationist Bidhya Nath Koirala, professor at Tribhuvan University who has conducted several studies on the school study, said at the program.