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Half of Class 5 kids can’t read Class 2 texts

Report by NGO Pratham says decline is most pronounced in the northern states.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
January 17, 2012 2:29:52 am

An authoritative annual report on the status of school education in India has confirmed the bad news from the international PISA ratings last month.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011,prepared by the NGO Pratham,shows that both reading and arithmetic abilities — already disappointing — have further worsened since last year.

The report was released by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal today. The PISA ratings put Indian children at the bottom of the global heap in the test of scholastic performance.

The all-India figure for the proportion of children in Class 5 able to read a Class 2 text has dropped from 53.7% in 2010 to 48.2% in 2011,shows ASER. The decline is most pronounced in the northern states. Gujarat,Punjab and Tamil Nadu have,however,improved since 2010.

The fall in arithmetic abilities is seen across all states. Nationally,the proportion of Class 3 children able to solve a 2-digit subtraction problem with borrowing has dropped from 36.3% in 2010 to 29.9% in 2011. Among Class 5 children,the ability to do similar subtraction problems has dropped from 70.9% in 2010 to 61.0% in 2011.

Sibal called for a “proactive” role from states,saying the responsibility of education lay “squarely on their shoulders”.

The Pratham report,however,shows improvement in enrolment levels. A total 96.7% of 6-14-year-olds in rural India are now enrolled in school,and the dropout rate has been arrested considerably.

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