Assessing the Learning of the School Children
GS Paper- II
Context- The Covid epidemic forced schools to close in March 2020, and India saw one of the world’s longest school closures, with elementary schools closing for over two years. The pandemic’s impact on education was believed to be twofold: learning loss related with protracted school closures and increasing dropout rates, particularly among older students, due to strained family resources.
During the epidemic, ASER conducted a survey.
- Estimates from these three state-level surveys might help researchers determine the degree of children’s learning deficits. These state-level estimates are highly helpful because they are the only ASER learning estimates available between 2018 and 2022.
- Learning levels in the country as a whole increased modestly between 2014 and 2018, after remaining static for several years. At the national level, for example, the proportion of pupils in Class III who could read a Class II level text (a proxy for grade-level reading) increased from 23.6 percent in 2014 to 27.2% in 2018.
- ASER 2022 shows a significant decrease in this share to 20.5 percent. This 7% drop is significant, given how slowly all-India numbers fluctuate, and validates worries of severe learning losses caused by the virus.
- Learning levels in math have also gradually increased between 2014 and 2018. Estimates for 2022 suggest a reduction here as well, but considerably lower than in the case of reading.
Three states were studied: Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal.
- In 2021, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal had schools that were still closed or had just reopened. While these are not national estimates, they do give an intermediate metric that is more indicative of pandemic-induced learning deficits than the 2022 predictions.
- Except for Std V in West Bengal, all three states had major learning losses in both reading and math in 2021, totaling more than 7 percentage points. The reading loss is slightly higher, but not by much.
- The 2021 learning levels in these three states went below their 2014 levels in both reading and math. A year later, ASER 2022 results reveal that there has been a recovery in both reading and math across all three states (except Karnataka in reading and West Bengal in reading in Std V) after schools reopened in 2021-22.
- In other words, while 2022 learning levels remained below or, in some cases, near to 2018 levels, comparing 2018 to 2022 obscures the severe drop in learning levels observed between these two periods and the subsequent rebound that has occurred in the previous year.
Impact of New Education Policy
- Another significant event in 2020-21 was the implementation of the new National Education Policy (NEP) in 2020. For the first time, there was a strong emphasis on early childhood development and the relevance of core competences.
- States reacted rapidly once schools reopened, and practically all states have made a big push in the domain of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) under the NIPUN Bharat programme (National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy). The ASER 2022 data reflects this push.
- ASER field investigators visited one government school in each sampled village as part of the study to document enrolment, attendance, and school amenities. This year, we also inquired if schools had received any government directives to undertake FLN activities in the school, as well as whether instructors had received FLN training. At the national level, 81% of schools reported receiving such a mandate, and 83% said that at least one teacher in the school had undergone FLN training.
Recovery of learning losses
- We may extrapolate from the experience of the three states for which we have 2021 data that additional states incurred significant learning losses during the epidemic. However, after schools reopened, states made a deliberate effort to create or rebuild core competences, resulting in a partial, and in some cases, complete, recovery.
- The level of recovery varies by state, based on how long schools were closed and when learning recovery strategies were implemented. Chhattisgarh, for example, was one of the first states to reopen their primary schools in July 2021, allowing them a longer opportunity to engage with students than, say, Himachal Pradesh or Maharashtra, where schools reopened considerably later.
- Taking the 2021 data into account, the 2022 predictions for Chhattisgarh indicate a great rebound in both reading and math, which is masked if we only compare 2022 to 2018.
- It is impossible to establish what the original pandemic-induced learning loss was from which states are attempting to recover in the absence of a 2021 measurement for other states.
- According to the ASER study, student learning deficits were restored more rapidly than projected. The NEP appears to be quite promising for improving learning outcomes for youngsters and college students. Every state and union territory should fully adopt the NEP.
Source – The Hindu
Much Needed Amendments in WHO
GS Paper- II
Context– India has suggested various revisions to the International Health Regulations (IHR) that, among other things, take into consideration state socioeconomic progress and promote One Health.
What are India’s suggested amendments?
- The country called for IHR implementation to be in conformity with the States Parties’ common but varied duties, taking into account their social and economic progress.
- It also suggested that human health be evaluated in conjunction with animal and environmental health in order to establish One Health.
- India also requested a mechanism for an intermediate public health warning in the case of an epidemic that does not yet satisfy the requirements for a public health emergency of worldwide significance but necessitates immediate mitigation steps.
Impact of COVID 19 on proposed amendments
- India advocates for “equitable access to medicinal countermeasures” based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 epidemic.
- India has asked the World Health Organization (WHO) for more accountability in how the IHR is implemented and if Member States are complying.
- It suggested that the Director-General report to the World Health Assembly (WHA) on all IHR operations, highlighting instances where Member States failed to contribute information.
Support from other countries
- Armenia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Russia, and Switzerland were among the other nations that submitted proposals.
- Eswatini also proposed revisions to the IHR on behalf of the WHO Africa Region.
- It addressed topics such as intellectual property, licencing, and the transfer of technology and know-how in order to diversify production.
What is the common demand from developing countries?
- Equity has arisen as a common focus point in emerging nations’ requests. Some of the important elements are equitable access to health goods, international finance methods, building health systems, access and benefit sharing mechanisms, and adapting duties depending on a country’s capabilities.
- In its sixth meeting last January, the WHO executive board stated that IHR amendments “should be restricted in scope and address particular and clearly identified difficulties, challenges, including equity.”
- Other demands include technological or other developments, or gaps that could not be effectively addressed otherwise but are critical to supporting effective implementation and compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005), and their universal application for the equitable protection of all people around the world from the international spread of disease”.
What are the wealthy countries’ objections?
- The amendments proposed by industrialised countries appear to circumvent the equity need. For example, the European Union’s policy stated that fairness principles should only be applied in pandemic-scale health catastrophes.
- In practise, this phrase excludes health situations that have not been formally labelled a pandemic. The premise is that outbreaks on the size of COVID-19 happen on occasion.
- Capabilities created specifically for pandemic response cannot thus be used on a regular basis, resulting in further erosion of the competencies.
- According to current recommendations, the new standards should hold rich nations and WHO more accountable to poor countries by instituting tighter requirements, prompt action, and frequent implementation reviews by WHO.
Source – The Hindu
Highlights of ASER 2022
GS Paper- II
Context– Pratham’s Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2022, the first comprehensive report after the epidemic, has finally been released.
- This is an annual study (issued by the education non-profit Pratham) aimed at providing trustworthy estimates of children’s enrolment and basic learning levels in each district and state in India.
- Since 2005, ASER has been held in all rural districts of India. It is India’s largest citizen-led survey.
- It is also India’s only annual source of information on children’s learning results.
- The survey is normally conducted every two years.
How is the survey conducted?
- The ASER Centre, Pratham’s research and assessment arm, creates ASER tools and processes.
- The survey is coordinated by ASER Centre and assisted through the Pratham network. It is carried out by around 30,000 volunteers from partner groups in each area.
- ASER works with a wide range of institutions, including colleges, universities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), youth groups, women’s organisations, self-help groups, and others.
- The ASER model has been adopted for usage in a number of nations throughout the world, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Pakistan, Mali, and Senegal.
- ASER, in contrast to most previous large-scale learning evaluations, is a household-based survey rather than a school-based survey.
- This approach allows all children to be included, including those who have never attended school or have dropped out, as well as those who attend government, private, religious, or other institutions.
- Each rural district has 30 villages sampled. Twenty randomly selected homes are surveyed in each community.
- Information on schooling status is gathered for all children aged 3 to 16 residing in sampling families.
- Children aged 5 to 16 are tested in basic reading and math. All youngsters are given the same exam.
- The greatest level of reading examined matches to what is required in std 2; this test was given in 16 regional languages in 2012.
- In recent years, this has included statistics on family size, parental education, and certain household assets.
The Best of ASER 2022
- However, there is some positive news in the ASER 2022 study, which surveyed 6.99 lakh children aged 3 to 16 across 616 rural districts. Enrollment in schools continues to rise, and fewer females are dropping out.
- For the previous 15 years, India has had a 95% enrollment rate in the 6-14 age range.
- Despite the forced school closures caused by the epidemic, the number increased from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022.
- Only 1.6% of youngsters are now not enrolled.
- Enrollment in government schools (6-14) is rising throughout states, rising from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022.
- This is in contrast to the 2006-14 pattern, which saw a continuous reduction in government school enrollment for children aged 6 to 14.
- From 10.3% of 11-14 year old females not enrolled in school in 2006 to 4.1% in 2018 and 2% in 2022, the proportion has decreased. Except for Uttar Pradesh, where it is 4%, the figure is lower across the board.
- The ASER 2022 study indicates that children’s fundamental reading ability has reverted to ‘pre2012 levels, undoing the gradual gain recorded in the preceding years’.
- The reduction is found across genders and in both public and private institutions, and it is more pronounced in lower grades.
- The percentage of pupils in Class III in public or private schools who can read at the Class II level has fallen from 27.3% in 2018 to 20.5% in 2022.
- The proportion of Class V pupils who can read at least a Class II level material has decreased from 50.5% in 2018 to 42.8% in 2022.
- In 2022, 69.6% of Class VIII pupils nationwide can read at least basic text, down from 73% in 2018.
- Students in Class III who can do at least one subtraction operation fell from 28.2% in 2018 to 25.9% in 2022.
- Students who can do division in Class V have likewise decreased from 27.9% in 2018 to 25.6% in 2022.
- Class VIII performed better, with a rise in the proportion of pupils who can do division from 44.1% in 2018 to 44.7% in 2022.
- According to ASER, this gain is driven by increased outcomes among females and children enrolled in government schools, whereas boys and children enrolled in private schools show a decrease above 2018 levels.
- Rural India has seen an increase in Class I-VIII paid tuition classes, rising from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022.
- The proportion of pupils receiving paid private tuition climbed by 8 percentage points in UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
- ASER last recorded English abilities in 2016, and the pattern has remained consistent to this day.
- The capacity of children to read basic English phrases was 24.7% in 2016 and is expected to be 24.5% in 2022.
- Class VIII has improved somewhat, rising from 45.3% in 2016 to 46.7% in 2022.
- Children’s fundamental reading ability has reverted to pre-2012 levels, reversing the steady growth seen in the preceding years, while basic mathematical skills have fallen to 2018 levels nationally.
- Average teacher attendance rose from 85.4% in 2018 to 87.1% in 2022, while average student attendance remained same at 72%.
- In 90.1% of elementary schools and 84.4% of upper primary schools, textbooks had been supplied to all grades.
- The percentage of schools with usable girls’ restrooms climbed from 66.4% in 2018 to 68.4% in 2022.
- There were 76% of schools having drinking water facilities, up from 74.85% in 2018, however there are interstate differences.
- In 2022, 68.9% of schools would have a playground, up from 66.5% in 2018.
- We’ve seen progress in the last ten years, but it’s been incremental. As a result, we really need to change things up.
- It is crucial for increasing the country’s output. Business as usual will not suffice.
- Again, this is not a new message, but it is one that must be repeated.
- Anganwadi centres may be found everywhere, and enrolment has increased. Integration of the Anganwadi and school systems is critical since the work begins there.
Source – The Hindu
TRAI’s Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) Proposal
GS Paper- III
Context– On the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) plan, telecom companies have highlighted concerns about consumer privacy.
Calling Name Presentation (CNAP) phones must display the name of a caller by collecting the telecom subscriber’s name from their SIM registration data.
The function would offer information about the calling party to the person being phoned (similar to ‘Truecaller’ and ‘Bharat Caller ID & Anti-Spam’).
The goal is to guarantee that telephone users can make informed decisions regarding incoming calls and to reduce harassment from unknown or spam callers.
Why need CNAP?
- Genuine phone calls should never go ignored. As a result, a suitable system is sought.
- Because customers are not provided the caller’s name or identity, they may opt not to answer if they suspect it is a commercial communication from an unregistered telemarketer.
- Concerns have grown regarding robocalls (automated calls made utilising IT-enabled devices with a pre-recorded voice), spam calls, and fraudulent calls.
What are the proposed models?
The regulator has recommended four models to help the CNAP mechanism-
- In the first approach, each telecom service provider (TSP) creates and maintains a CNAP database of its users. The caller’s TSP would have to pull the required data from its own database in this case.
- In the second approach, the calling entity’s operator shares its CNAP database with the receiver’s operator. The distinction here is that the calling operator would grant the receiver’s operator access to its database in order to get the caller’s CNAP data.
- The receiver’s operator is responsible for searching the centralised database for and presenting the caller’s data. This strategy is comparable to a proposal envisioned by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in 2018, which included the establishment of a central Digital Intelligence Unit.
- TSP keeps a backup of a synchronised central database run by a third party. It works like this: the call is routed as usual, and because the receiver’s operator has access to both the centralised and their own databases, the lookup is internal.
- According to the FCC, delay in setting up the call must be avoided, and CNAP must be interoperable. When switching from a faster wireless network (4G or 5G) to a slower one (2G or 3G), responsiveness may decrease as well.
- It is unclear how the CNAP method would strike a compromise between the caller’s right to remain anonymous, which is a crucial component of the right to privacy. To put it into context, an individual may choose to remain anonymous for a variety of reasons, such as whistleblowers or mistreated workers.
- Women may be particularly harmed by the idea. Whether or whether a woman subscriber consents, the service will display her identity and data to every calling party.
- We must consider it in conjunction with The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (2022), which includes a language on presumed consent in the absence of suitable protections, including data sharing with third parties.
- Marketers have discovered new methods to operate around the established structure. Telemarketers were once needed to be registered as promotional numbers. They have now begun to deploy “at-home workers,” who are not necessarily part of the entity’s setup.
- TRAI must provide a user-friendly interface and, as a result, an effective mechanism.
- Subscribers’ active engagement would guarantee that spammers are correctly detected and prevented from making subsequent calls.
- The government should also invest in digital literacy, teaching citizens how to navigate and utilise technology more effectively, ensuring they do not disclose their data indiscriminately, and informing them about risks such as financial fraud and spoofing.
Source – Indian Express
EAM Visits to Maldives
GS Paper – II
Context-The relationship has been strained in recent years, with the Maldives pursuing stronger connections with China and India concerned about Chinese dominance in the area.
In this regard, India and the Maldives have signed many agreements, including development projects, during S Jaishankar’s visit to the Maldives to meet with the country’s top leadership.
Both nations have agreed to contribute 100 million Rufiyaa [Maldives’ currency] to the High Impact Community Development Project (HICDP) initiative.
Several socioeconomic development initiatives will be undertaken around the country as part of this investment to address basic requirements.
Construction of a sports complex in Gahdhoo, as well as academic cooperation between Maldives National University and Cochin University of Science and Technology.
India will provide two maritime ambulances to the Maldives’ Ministry of Defense for emergency and humanitarian requirements.
India will donate 10,000 schoolbooks to the Maldives, where they will be dispersed in 260 schools.
India & Maldives
- India and the Maldives have a long history, with historical and cultural links stretching back millennia.
- India was among the first countries to recognise and establish diplomatic ties with the Maldives following its independence in 1965.
- India has always been one of the Maldives’ most important allies and partners.
- India has supplied the Maldives with economic, technological, and military aid.
- India has offered the Maldives a $1.4 billion financial assistance package for socioeconomic development.
- India and the Maldives have been collaborating in defence and security issues, with regular exchanges of high-level visits and joint exercises such as Exercise EKUVERIN
- The Maldives is located at the intersection of key international maritime channels, providing India with a strategic edge in the Indian Ocean area.
- With regular high-level visits and joint exercises, India and the Maldives maintain a close defence and security cooperation.
The Maldives is a popular tourist destination, and India is one of its most important tourism source markets.
India and the Maldives have deep cultural and historical links that date back millennia. This common history has aided in the strengthening of the two countries’ ties.
India is concerned about China’s growing influence in the Maldives and the Indian Ocean area. To offset Chinese influence and demonstrate its own regional leadership, India has been attempting to build ties with the Maldives and other Indian Ocean countries.
- Political instability in the Maldives, as well as tensions between the two nations, have resulted from a change in administration and a constitutional crisis.
- India is concerned about China’s growing influence in the Maldives, which includes huge infrastructure projects and financing.
- The Maldives has been experiencing an economic crisis, which has resulted in delays in development project completion and debt concerns.
- India is worried about the emergence of Islamic extremism in the Maldives and has urged the Maldives government to take robust steps to combat it. However, the Maldives has its own strategy and issues in this area.
- Although India has been a significant market for Maldives tourism, the Maldives has been working to diversify its tourism sector and minimise its reliance on India.
- Although India should endeavour to exert its regional leadership in the Indian Ocean area, it should not do so at the expense of Maldives aligning itself with China’s interests.
- Given India’s growing economic and diplomatic clout, it is time to reconsider India’s position in regional affairs.
Source – Indian Express
Fourth Industrial Revolution
Context– The World Economic Forum (WEF) has selected Hyderabad as the location for its Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will focus on healthcare and life sciences.
C4IR Telangana will be the 18th centre to join the World Economic Forum’s (4IR) network, which spans four continents.
Water and steam power were employed to mechanise industry during the first industrial revolution (the 1800s).
The second employed electricity to mass produce goods (the early 1900s).
The third automated production using electronics and information technologies (the late 1900s).
About the Fourth industrial revolution
- The Fourth Revolution is based on the Third Revolution and is data-driven.
- Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), invented the term 4IR in 2016.
- The term “fourth industrial revolution” alludes to advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G technology, the internet of things, robots, biotechnology, quantum computing, and other fields.
- These technologies have provided organisations with new opportunities, allowing them to dream big and grow into previously inconceivable areas.
- It has the ability to boost global revenue and enhance the quality of life for people all around the planet.
- It will also result in a supply-side miracle, resulting in long-term benefits in efficiency and production.
- Transportation and communication costs will fall, logistics and global supply chains will become more efficient, and trade costs will fall, opening up new markets and driving economic development.
- Governments will obtain new technology capabilities to improve their control over populations, including the capacity to manage digital infrastructure and widespread surveillance systems.
- Technological advancements have the ability to minimise the extent or impact of violence, for example, through the creation of new mechanisms of protection or increased accuracy in targeting.
- The immediate concern is job loss, especially in the informal economy.
- It has the potential to increase inequality, notably by disrupting labour markets.
- Aside from joblessness, there are numerous other significant problems that remain unresolved, including safety, ethics, and the short- and long-term socioeconomic consequences.
- Adoption of 4IR technologies will also be skewed since emerging and least developed nations lack the necessary data foundation and infrastructure.
- There is growing fear that current human fallacies will be exacerbated as a result of 4IR.
- Several research suggest that facial recognition technology are more likely to misidentify African and Asian persons than their Western counterparts.
- It will also have a significant influence on the character of national and international security, influencing both the likelihood and type of war.
- This will raise fresh concerns.
- Privacy is one of the most significant individual issues offered by modern information technology.
- In 2022, US researchers will present a pacemaker that will disintegrate in the human body once its function has been completed.
- The pacemaker is a near-perfect illustration of the continuing fourth industrial revolution (4IR), which is defined as the use of various technologies to blur the distinctions between the digital, physical, and biological worlds.
- Germany is rewarding enterprises that use 4IR technology in their manufacturing.
- Kenya is utilising blockchain technology to validate property records and transactions.
- The United Nations has adopted a similar programme through its Industrial Development Organization.
- There is strong evidence from recent Australian studies that automation typically takes away the work you do not want to do, and Australian workers have gained more than two hours per week, a significant amount of time in interpersonal work, creative work, and information synthesis work, all of which are highly correlated with increased job satisfaction.
Status in India
- India and the majority of other nations are investing in 4IR technology.
- India is on its way to become a global manufacturing powerhouse… 3D printing, machine learning, data analytics, and the Internet of Things are critical to supporting industrial progress.
- In November 2020, the Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, will roll out smart railway coaches outfitted with a battery of sensors to give passengers with a comfortable ride.
- The Union Ministry of Heavy Industries announced the Smart Advanced Manufacturing and Rapid Transformation Hub (SAMARTH) plan in May 2020 to educate manufacturers, vendors, and customers about 4IR technologies.
- The Union finance minister unveiled a spate of new 4IR-driven initiatives, including Drone Shakti, in the 2022 budget address to support start-ups that would ease the usage of drone services.
- India even has a 4IR centre in Mumbai managed by the World Economic Forum, which collaborates closely with various state governments.
- The Centre recently developed the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Cancer Treatment model, which would leverage 4IR technology to give better cancer care to patients.
- In February 2022, the government began Genesys International’s pan-India 3D maps initiative for the 100 smart cities.
- The business intends to map a whole city in minute detail in order to make numerous 4IR revolution technology-based initiatives, such as autonomous cars, easier to implement.
Conclusion and Way Forward
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about more than simply technological change; it is a chance for everyone, including leaders, policymakers, and people of all economic levels and nations, to harness converging technologies in order to create an inclusive, human-centered future.
- The true potential is to go beyond technology and develop methods to empower as many people as possible to positively affect their families, organisations, and communities.
- We must use the chance and leverage we have to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution and steer it toward a future that represents our shared goals and values.
- To do this, we must build a comprehensive and internationally shared understanding of how technology affects our lives and reshapes our economic, social, cultural, and personal contexts.
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to usher mankind into a new communal and moral awareness founded on a shared sense of destiny.
- Technologies must be more inclusive and acceptable to everybody, as well as make political, social, and economic sense.
- The constantly changing technological landscape provides India with an excellent potential to industrialise.
- To ensure India’s active participation in the fourth industrial revolution, several critical domestic sectors must be restructured and institutional capacity must be strengthened.
Source – Indian Express
Fact For Prelims
Spot Bellied Eagle Owl
Context – A ‘Spot Bellied Eagle Owl’ (Bubo Nipalensis) was discovered for the first time in the Seshachalam forest and the third time in Andhra Pradesh.
The following is information on the Spotted Bellied Eagle Owl:
- The carnivorous bird, which is 20-25 inches in length and weighs 1.5 kg to 2 kg, feeds on small rodents and lizards.
- The bird emits a weird cry akin to humans, earning it the nicknames “Ghost of the Forest” in India and “Devil Bird” in Sri Lanka.
- It is a species that lives in forests and may be found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
- IUCN Status: Least Concern
Rare species of duck sighted in Manipur’s Loktak lake after over 90 years
Context:A rare species of duck, Greater Scaup, locally known as Sadangman, was recently sighted in Loktak lake in Manipur’s Bishnupur district after a gap of over 90 years.
Greater Scaup Facts:
- IUCN Status: Least Concern
- The greater scaup (Aythya marila) is a medium-sized diving duck of the Aythya marila family.
- The larger scaup is found in Asia, Europe, the United States, and Canada.
- It is a somewhat uncommon visitor to the Indian Subcontinent.
- Greater Scaup, also known as Scaup in Europe and Bluebill in North America, breeds in Alaska, Siberia, northern Canada, and the eastern side of Europe, and migrates to warmer areas during the winter.
Context: The Bhopal Declaration was issued during a two-day Think-20 summit hosted by the G20 in Bhopal.
Concerning the Declaration:
- It was issued following the Think20 (T20) summit of G20 think tanks and research centres.
The following are the declaration’s highlights:
- To place a greater emphasis on inclusive development
- In compared to GDP, consider the welfare of all segments of society.
- Give extra consideration to youngsters.
- Encourage the development model headed by women.
- bridging the North-South divide
- Collaborate to secure everyone’s health The importance of localization in fulfilling the G-20’s sustainable development goals
- Government, community, and private groups working together in a triangular fashion.