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Village students 2 grade below in proficiency: study

Children of primary classes in rural areas are at least two grades below the required level of proficiency in mathematics and language.

Written by Agencies | New Delhi |
October 28, 2011 5:07:45 pm

A majority of children of primary classes in rural areas are at least two grades below the required level of proficiency in both mathematics and language,according to a study released today.

It said that while the ability of children to correctly formulate and write sentences on their own is “exceedingly” low,a high proportion of children in class IV were struggling with basic multiplications and divisions.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) about ‘teaching and learning in rural India’ covered 30,000 children in Andhra Pradesh,Assam,Himachal Pradesh,Jharkhand and Rajasthan to assess the children’s abilities and what most affected their learning.

Highlighting the slow progress of students,the report said that while “children are expected to read simple words in standard I,less than 30 per cent could read them in standard II and only 40 per cent in standard III”.

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Even in high performing states,the report said,“Both standard II and standard IV children have difficulty writing simple words correctly”.

Similarly,talking about their ability to do maths,it said 75 per cent of the sampled students were able to solve numerical one digit addition problem,a task they were supposed to do in standard I.

Stressing on attendance in classes for quality learning,the report underlined the need to put in place a system to track attendance with regular reporting and monitoring.

The report was also critical about classroom facilities,stating that most of the primary school classrooms are “not child-friendly at all” and suggested that indicators for child-friendly education be defined.

Pointing to the less than expected progress of students despite massive investment in primary education and increase in enrolment,the report said of 11,000 children tested in standard V,only three out of 10 children were able to comfortably and fluently read a standard III level test.

In case of Maths,it said most children in standard IV were able to recognise numbers under 100,but less than 30 per cent could recognise numbers above 1000.

“Further,while children in this class could comfortably solve basic arithmetic operations,they struggled with word problems which required them to apply this knowledge,” it said.

It said lack of student friendly environment was reflected by the fact that students ask teachers questions in only about a quarter of all classrooms.

“Teachers smile or laugh with students in about one fifth of all classrooms,” it added.

It said that children,whose home language is different from the school language of instruction,learn less and attend school less often.

The ASER study done in collaboration with UNICEF and UNESCO suggested urgent revision of textbooks,which is more realistic and age appropriate with clear learning goals,and in light of the RTE goals.

Stating that teachers’ ability to teach should be of prime importance apart from qualification and training,it suggested that recruitment policies should also assess their ability to explain content to children and make information relevant to their lives etc.

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