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Learning loss due to Covid-19: Fewer kids from lower grades took part in survey, says govt data

The numbers “provisionally compiled” on the basis of updates shared by district level coordinators, who were associated with the National Achievement Survey (NAS) held on November 12, show that out of 6,37,867 students of class III who were supposed to turn up, 5,40,325 did, which translates to 84.71 per cent.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: January 21, 2022 9:38:15 am
States have been asked to identify out-of-school children and drop-outs from each grade and locating them. File.

A nationwide survey by the central government in November last year to capture learning loss owing to Covid-19 saw lesser participation of children in lower grades compared to those in higher grades, according to data released by the Union Ministry of Education.

The numbers “provisionally compiled” on the basis of updates shared by district level coordinators, who were associated with the National Achievement Survey (NAS) held on November 12, show that out of 6,37,867 students of class III who were supposed to turn up, 5,40,325 did, which translates to 84.71 per cent.

Total 37,86,885 students of classes III, V, VIII and X were expected to participate in the survey. Eventually, it covered 34,00,430 students, leading to an overall participation rate of 89.79 per cent.

Students in three Andhra Pradesh districts and 16 districts in Tamil Nadu could not participate in survey due to heavy rain.

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However, the survey could not cover many younger children. The attendance of class V students was marginally better at 86.67 per cent – 5,45,910 out of 6,29,870 students – as compared to class III. Among class VIII students, 89.77 per cent students turned up – 10,54,437 out of 11,74,609 in terms of absolute numbers.

The rate of participation was highest among students of class X with 12,59,758 out of 13,44,539 or 93.69 per cent, taking the test.

A senior education ministry official said result of the survey has been delayed by the third wave of Covid. “The results are likely to be out in March,” the official said.

The Indian Express had earlier reported that the survey was replete with signs of learning loss caused by Covid-induced disruptions, especially among children in lower grades, with many seen struggling to comprehend questions designed to assess their reading and counting skills.

The last NAS was held on November 13, 2017. The results of the NAS will be prepared in the form of district report cards, state/UT reports, while one will be prepared at the national level.

The survey was held at a time primary classes across states were suspended. Even in states and UTs where primary classes in government schools had resumed, private schools continued with online classeses for younger students.

Delhi had requested the Centre to defer the survey. “Whose achievement will it test when most children are not coming to school?” Education Minister Manish Sisodia had tweeted. Bihar had cited potential logistical challenges owing to Chhath Puja.

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