The good news in the education sector for Goa is that the State was ranked at number 2 in infrastructure, but the bad news, and one piece of information difficult to comprehend, is that in quality of education the State stood at 21 at the all India level in the Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2017-18, released by Union Ministry for Human Resources Development (MHRD).
On a report card, 21 in a field of 28 does indeed look pretty bad, but that’s the rank the State has received and has to be accepted. The task now is to improve, and there is lots of scope for it, but it can happen only if the Education Department takes positive steps towards this.
The facilities on which Goa was ranked at number 2 include providing science labs, computer labs, mid-day meal facility, drinking water, uniforms, textbooks and other basic facilities. Of course the State has it all, even buses to ferry children to school and back, but then is all this giving the Goan child the education he or she deserves? Given the number 21 ranking in quality of education, obviously it does not.
A look at the performance grading index report shows that Goa obtained Grade III with a total of 738 points, out of 1000. The individual ranks were quality of education (21), access to school (7), infrastructure and facilities (2), governance processes (26) and equity (13). The areas where the State has to work hard in are quality of education, governance process and equity.
Compared to its neighbours, Goa didn’t fare too badly as Karnataka was also ranked in Grade III, while Maharashtra was ranked in Grade IV. This is hardly any consolation, as the two neighbouring States have much larger areas and populations. But then, Goa has a much higher literacy rate than the other States. According to the 2011 census the literacy rate in Goa stood at 88.70 per cent, so its ranking was expected to have got better.
Interesting to note that, though Goa was ranked at 21 in quality of education it scored almost 73 per cent in this. A score that means the other States are doing not just much better, but very well. The quality of education was calculated based on the performance of students in subjects like mathematics, social science, languages. The State garnered 132 points out of 180 here. The focus areas in improving teaching therefore must in these subjects, especially mathematics where Goa has in the past too fared badly. Announcing the SSC results last year, the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education had admitted that maths and science and brought down the pass percentage. As per available data, 7.7 per cent of the students had failed in science and 5.7 per cent had failed in maths.
When Goa laments that its youth don’t fare well at national competitive examinations, what is to blame is the education system prevalent in the State. It is not that our youth are not dynamic, it is just that those from other States are better prepared for the competition than the Goans with a better quality of education. The State has to step in and make the change for the better on an immediate basis. It has to start now, so that there is a change when the new academic year begins in June. Any delay now will see Goa retain the same rank or even drop further. That cannot be allowed to happen.
Goa needs to look at change with an open mind. The education system has been calling for reforms for quite a long time. Educationists had sought a revision of the syllabus, but that has not been forthcoming. The ranking that Goa has received in the national index makes it imperative that the syllabus must change.