GUWAHATI, Jan 3 � The Assam Government has decided to bring in a structural change in the elementary level of education by including Class�VIII in the upper primary level and Class�V in the lower primary level. So far, the upper limit of the upper primary level was confined to Class � VII.
The new arrangement has been made as per the mandate of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which has provided for inclusion of the classes between I and VIII in the elementary stage.
The State Government has stated in a notification (No. AEE 499/2010/1, Dated December 31, 2010) that it is going to introduce an eight-year education cycle in the elementary stage. Consequently, the notification said, Class-VIII in the secondary stage and Class-V in the upper primary stage of elementary education shall be integrated with the upper primary and lower primary stages of elementary education respectively from the 2011 academic session.
Official sources here said that the 1986 National Policy on Education had asked for considering the classes between I and VIII as the elementary stage. Many states of the country and the CBSE have already followed this structure.
The new move of the State Government to include Class-VIII in the upper primary level is viewed by the official circles as a move to bring in uniformity in the elementary level of education. This will put the State at par with the rest of the country in regard to elementary education. The move is also expected to fulfill the constitutional obligations for treating the right to education up to 14 years of age as a fundamental right, sources said.
Now the secondary level in the State will include only Class-IX and X, while Class-XI and XII will remain in the higher secondary level as usual. As per the new arrangement, the lower primary level will include classes between I and V, while the upper primary level will include the classes between VI and VIII.
The Government of Assam has already prepared textbooks for class I to VIII in line with the NCERT textbooks, mainly on core subjects, namely science, mathematics, English and Hindi. These textbooks will be used from the 2011 session. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has already released these new school books and their distribution has already started in the education block levels, said the sources.
However, to make the education at the elementary level effective, the State needs to suitably rationalize its pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) in this level. As, 7,477 lower primary schools of the State have still remained single teacher schools. This constitutes 25 per cent of the total 30,054 lower primary schools in the State.
Or else, single teachers in these schools will have to teach students of five classes between class-I and V. Rationalization of pupil-teacher ratio in this level is an unavoidable obligation for the Government of Assam as per the Right to Education Act, 2009, said the sources.