Learning numbers

There are more children in schools now. How about educating them?


Jasleen Kaur | January 18, 2011

Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal is a man on the mission. Apart from bringing a change in the state of education, he also aims to increase enrolment of children in schools. And it seems it is already working. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2010, prepared by the NGO Pratham and published last week, shows an increase in school enrolment figures. But it also highlights the stark reality that there is hardly any improvement in the quality of education.
The report says that half the children in class five cannot even read class two text. And more than 30 percent of class one student cannot recognise numbers between 1 and 9. So, apart from an increased enrolment, there has not been much change in the education sector, especially at the rural level.
And how can there be, where the government schools lack infrastructure and qualified teachers? RTE commissioner Kiran Bhatty says the whole system needs an overhaul. “People have this mindset that the job of a government school teacher is quite easy. There is no accountability unlike in a public school,” she says.
Thanks to the initiatives like the mid-day meal scheme, the government may be successful in getting more children into schools. But their increased numbers in the classrooms does not necessarily mean more learning. If the child cannot follow what is being taught in the classroom, the enrolment figures are of no use.
The Right to Education Act says that all children will automatically progress from grade I through VIII without detention for any cause. But, as the Pratham report points out, is there any way to ensure quality education for children, to ensure that they have learnt their lessons well before going to the next grade?
No wonder, people who want a better future for their children are turning away from the government- or municipality-run, subsidised schools. A top authority in the field of education admitted in an off-the-record conversation that even lower middle-class parents want to send their children to a private school (known as ‘public school’) though they cannot afford it.
So, here is the next mission for Sibal: adding quality to quantity by taking steps to ensure meaningful learning.



Other News

How Jeevan Raths have helped 52,000 migrants in Maharashtra

Before the novel coronavirus hit it, Mumbai about 10-12 lakh labourers from elsewhere had made it their home. The figure for the state of Maharashtra was another 18-20 lakh. As the pandemic spread and the Maximum City emerged as the worst-hit place in India, all economic activities came to an end, and with

China is practicing attack as the best form of defence

For the rest of the world, it is not easy to understand China when it comes to politics or economics. Under pressure from the international community, it has accepted to open the country for a “comprehensive” probe into the origin of the deadly coronavirus. But it is not clear whether the Asian

Corona warriors to “flush the virus” in Mumbai

Even as humanitarian support is pouring in to help distressed migrants amid Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, civil society organizations and NGOs are working for sanitation of community toilets which have become breeding source of virus infection. Every community toilet has 20 seats. Each

How lockdown was used to shore up health infrastructure

India, completing about two months of lockdown to protect against the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, has made good use of the time to improve health infrastructure, the government has said. Countering media reports “about some decisions of the government regarding the lockdown implem

Railways resume services from June 1

As India begins to learn to live with Covid-19 and come out of nearly two-month long lockdown, regular train services are set to resume from June 1 in a graded manner, even as more ‘shramik’ special trains are planned. The railway ministry, in consultation with the health ministr

Covid-19: India’s mortality rate lower than global figure

In the battle against Covid-19, India has managed to keep the mortality rate low at 0.2 deaths per lakh population, compared to some 4.1 deaths for the same population worldwide. Moreover, a total of 39,174 patients have been cured, registering a recovery rate of 38.73% which is improving continuously.


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter