Students from zila parishad schools have fared better than their counterparts in private schools, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2018. The survey report, released on Tuesday, reviews the status of primary education in the country and is conducted by a non-profit organisation, Pratham.
Not only this, the performance of primary school students in Maharashtra has improved and is better than the national average.
However, the progress of children in upper primary has not registered much change. As many as 19.8 per cent children of Class 8 could not read Class 2 text. This means one-fifth of the surveyed children are not ready for higher education. Arithmetic proficiency is worse, found the survey.
The tasks in ASER aim at assessing foundational skills such as reading and arithmetic. The report shows that 44.2 per cent children in zila parishad schools can read Class 2 text as compared to only 33.6 per cent students in private schools.
In Class 5, 66 per cent students in zila parishad schools could read a story from the Class 2 curriculum, a jump from 51.7 per cent in 2014. In Class 5, 30.2 per cent children could solve division problems, compared to 20.5 per cent in 2016.
Maharashtra’s performance in the survey is above the national average on a majority of the parameters. The national average for children who can read the alphabet and more is 46.8 per cent whereas the average stands at 66.2 per cent in Maharashtra. While 5.1 per cent girls in the age group of 15 to 16 years in the state do not go to schools, the corresponding national figure is 13.5 per cent.
Enrolment of children in schools has also increased among students aged between 6 and 14 from 98.5 per cent in 2008 to 99.2 per cent this year. Compared to 18.3 per cent children in 2006 (6 to 14 years), 37.6 per cent have enrolled for private education.Vasant Kalpande, retired director of education, said government schools should be strengthened. “In case of higher classes conducted by secondary schools, governed by either private-aided or unaided institutions, there is negligence on part of the government. The government does not pay any non-salary grant to government schools that also have numerous vacancies for headmasters and teachers. The administrative machinery is weak as many posts such as education extension officer, block development officer are vacant. These need to be filled on a priority basis.”
This year’s survey covered children in 33 districts, 990 villages and 19,765 households. As many as 14 social organisations and 21 colleges and universities in the state took part in the survey.
The annual survey, that began in 2005, includes children in the age group of 3 to 16 years.