Half the class five students can't read class two texts

Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan have seen an increase in such numbers


Jasleen Kaur | January 15, 2011

Even after five years in schools, close to half of children in class five are not even at the level expected of them after two years in school. Close to 50 percent of class five children could not read a class two level text, says annual report on the state of education in the country.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2010, prepared by the NGO Pratham, conducted survey covering seven lakh children in 14,000 villages across 522 districts. The report released by Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Friday, though, shows an increase in school enrolment figures but with hardly any improvement in the quality of education.

The report shows a decline in children’s ability to do simple mathematics based on everyday calculations like reading a calendar, calculations from menu card or estimating the volume.

The proportion of class one children who could recognize numbers from 1-9 has declined from 69.3% in 2009 to 65.8% in 2010. Similarly percentage of children in class three who could solve two digit subtraction problems has decreased from 39 to 36.5.

Contrary to this trend, Punjab’s performance in basic arithmetic has improved over the last few years. The percentage of children in class two who could recognize numbers up to 100 in 2008 was 56.3% and it has increased to 70.4% in 2010.

States like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan have also seen an increase in the number of children who could recognise letters in class one. There is also an increase in the proportion of children in class five who could read class two level text in these states.

The report also shows that out of school girls in the 11-14 age group has declined from 6.8% in 2009 to 5.9% in 2010. Bihar has shown noteworthy improvement in this regard, where the percentage of out of school boys and girls in all age groups has been declining steadily since 2005.

The good news, says report, is that over 60% of the 13,000 schools surveyed satisfy the infrastructure norms specified by the Right to Education Act. However, more than half of these schools need more teachers and one third of them will need more classrooms.



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