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Learning levels all time low in Raj govt schools, says survey

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JAIPUR: State government schools continue to register negative growth in learning levels in subjects—arithmetic, reading and comprehension—from 2006. The Annual Status of Education Report, 2014 tabled in New Delhi by Pratham, an NGO, on Tuesday says that the share of class V government school students who can read class II text, which was 59% in 2006 has reduced to 39% in 2014. Those class V government school students, who can do division, has reduced from 39% in 2006 to 19% in 2014.

The shocking finding of this survey says that 60.7% of class I students can’t even read a letter forget about a word. In class III, 15.3% students cannot read letters and only 28.9% can read only letters. It further says that 46.7% of class V students cannot read class II text. The data that directly questions the quality of education here is that 19.5% of class VIII students failed to read class II text. In 2010, 80.5% students in class II were reading letters, which has reduced to 56.2% in the year 2014.

When it comes to the learning levels in arithmetic, the performance of students has touched an all time low with 52.7% of class XII students being unable to perform division, another 77.1% students cannot subtract. The level is such that only 25.4% of class VIII students can recognize 10-99 numbers. If this is the situation of class VIII students, one can easily imagine the arithmetic level in lower standards. In 2010, 82.3% students in class II were recognizing numbers 1-9, which has reduced to 65.8% in 2014.

The next component of learning level is comprehension. Here also the performance of state schools is shameful. Figures say that 57.4% class VIII students cannot read easy sentences. Of 42.6%, who can read easy sentences, only 57.8% can tell the meaning of those sentences. In class V, only 84.6% students are not competent enough to read and understand easy sentences. With such poor learning levels, one can estimate the disastrous outcome of state government proposal of introducing boards in class VIII.

This is the report card of government schools at the time when state has 84,000 schools with a contingent of 3.4 lakh teachers. Government in a reply to an RTI query recently confessed that they are spending Rs 14,000 per child. Examining the situation, KB Kothari, managing trustee of Pratham, said, “The important factor of poor learning level is lack of focus in early reading and arithmetic skills combined with a set of not-so-well-defined goals for each grade level learning outcome.”

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