Indian students can’t apply science in real life: Study

Survey findings

A great majority of the students were so preoccupied in acing the test that they used shortcuts like rote learning to get marks, while failing to absorb the lessons they were taught

Despite their talent for science, Indian students lack the skill to apply what they have learnt, latest data shows.

QuizNext, a Bengaluru-based developer whose smartphone app ‘gamifies’ CBSE and ICSE curriculum, analysed data from 23,000 users across 70 cities collected over 12 months. It found that students from Classes 6 to 10 could solve complex math problems only if they are part of the syllabus. But their performance significantly dropped if they are given real-world problems like calculating interest, percentages and discounts.

QuizNext founder Guruprasad Holla said he first noticed the problem while working for a company offering tuition services.

“We surveyed the studying patterns of 2,000 students and realised that a great majority of them were so preoccupied in acing the test that they used shortcuts like rote learning to get marks, while failing to absorb the lessons they were taught,” he said.

Holla’s suspicions were confirmed when QuizNext held a spelling bee in December 2018 for Class 7 students and discovered that most could not answer questions from the class 6 portions.

A subsequent math test in April revealed that only 62% of the 7,500 students could apply their math knowledge to solve real world problems such as determining the price of an item after discount. The figure dropped to 55% while computing profit and loss.

When the company collated the data for 12 months, the numbers had fallen by a further 1%, following an increase in the users since April.

The data also showed that students from Punjab got the answers accurately when it came to basic science questions, while Karnataka did not figure in the top 10 states.

“Children don’t get the essence of what they study. The primary hurdle is a mental block which dictates that anything not part of the syllabus is irrelevant,” Holla said, adding that this attitude hinders critical thinking.

“Some schools, including a few international schools, are adopting experiment-based learning and this is improving the standards,” he said.

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