While the infrastructure for education in the country may have improved, there has been little improvement in learning, reports Sarthak Ray in New Delhi, citing ASER 2016 (Annual Status of Education Report).
While the infrastructure for education in the country may have improved, there has been little improvement in learning, reports Sarthak Ray in New Delhi, citing ASER 2016 (Annual Status of Education Report). Even as the government mulls over a proposal to have at least one English-medium school per block, learning outcomes seem to have moved very little since 2014 with not too many students in the country able to read even simple sentences in English at the primary and upper primary level.
While enrolment is steady at a high 96% — blighted only by the rise in the proportion of out-of-school children in some states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh —private school enrolment, which was rising over the last few years, has registered little change since 2014.Also, while the proportion of Std III students able to read at least Std I level text has risen slightly, from 40.2% in 2014 to 42.5% in 2016, reading levels in Std VIII show a slight decline since 2014 (from 74.7% to 73.1%).
As far as English reading and comprehension abilities are concerned, nearly 55% students in Std VIII can’t read easy sentences in the language (compared with nearly 40% in 2009 and 53% in 2014); nearly 75% students in Std V can’t either. Among eighth-graders who could read sentences, only 70% could understand the meaning. However, in 2016, 32% children in Std III could read simple words in English compared with 28.5% in 2009.
Arithmetic skills have improved slightly at the Std III level, over the 2014 performance, though the proportion of Std VIII students who could correctly do a three-digit by one-digit division has declined from 68.4% in 2010 to 43.3% in 2016.
The report notes that schools are providing more toilets and drinking water but not too many computers are available. Also, the number of schools with libraries has fallen.