Remedial Education as a Remedy


In February 2022 I decided to help a struggling RTE student catch up with her class. Kavya would soon be in 2nd grade. She had been in a Marathi medium school in the kindergarten and then got admission through RTE in a well-known English medium school in the first grade. Then she became a victim of the pandemic like so many other children, as schools shut down. She started online in her new school, and her struggles were compounded. Her English Medium school teachers had done a wonderful job of teaching her English basic pronunciations. While she could read most three- and four-letter words, she did not understand most of the words she was reading. There were other gaps as well. At the end of the 1st grade she went for remedial classes in school. However, she was paying a heavy price for the pandemic and her pickup was slow. Very slow. I thought about asking her teachers to keep her back in the first grade. Unfortunately, I found out that the RTE system, does not let the school hold a child back a year.

I worked with Kavya and her parents through the summer, monsoon, autumn and winter, 5 days a week for 10 months keeping her schoolteachers in the loop. I tried to follow the same concepts and methods in Math. Today she can understand all instructions in English. She loves reading story books in English, she can follow her teachers in school and has caught up in Maths as well. Her vocabulary has expanded exponentially. She is still not able to speak in English fluently but I know she will get there because she loves to read! With struggling children, it’s a combined effort of the child, parents, and teachers. It is possible to help any child catch up.

This is one form of Remedial Education.

Remedial Education is also called compensatory or developmental education. It is used by teachers to achieve expected competencies in the students and close the gaps in learning. Today technology is increasingly used to plug these gaps. It provides the tools for the teachers of remedial education to monitor the children closely without being obtrusive.

Remedial Education is important in the Indian system of education as the system judges the students based on academic scores which often leads to ignoring other areas like visual arts, music and sports, hampering the overall development of the student. And if the markers to judge the children are faulty, children are boxed wrongly, and we miss tapping into their high intelligence. This may remain untapped forever and we may never get through to the potential and possible Einsteins!

The main aim of Remedial Education is to assist children who underperform because of developmental delays, social environments, learning disabilities, disadvantaged family backgrounds, language problems, by providing one on one guidance and coaching in mathematics, language skills mostly in younger years.

RE focusses on children with specific disadvantages and pulls them up so that they are at the same level as their peers in their class thus giving them the much-needed confidence.
RE teachers also bring out the special qualities in a child which will make him stand out and shine. RE show the students ways of overcoming their shortcomings and focusing on their strengths to improve.

Parents should dip into this beautiful system provided by most schools and take advantage of it. Since the concepts are taught by the same teachers in the remedial class the methods remain the same and does not create confusion in the child’s mind.

Technology plays a big role in education today. It ensures a faster and accurate feedback from the child to the teacher. Technology also makes studies fun for students. They can remotely collaborate with fellow students and teachers promoting tech skills which are so important in today’s world.

Remedial classes have more possibilities with technology thrown in. A wider reach and accurate feedback. Today these classes are even more effective than they were a decade back with teachers using the latest techniques and methods.
However, early identification of the student’s problem is the key. Everything else falls into place after that.


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