How are rural kids learning in India?

What do we know about how rural kids of India are studying in the Government schools???? The Annual Status of Education Report, 2009 by ASER Centre, which is facilitated by Pratham, an NGO tells the story..

Do visit the below link for details. Even the complete report and also state-wise results are available for download.

http://www.asercentre.org/index.php

Also, watch this report in NDTV profit about the same.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/videos/video_player.php?id=1194854

A few glimpses from the report. But before that, a short note on the scale at which this has been done. Its astounding. 25,000 volunteers visiting about 16 randomly selected villages in 575 districts of the country and speaking to 700,000 children have gathered the data. Enormous given the fact that it is not the government that has done this. It forms a solid piece of statistical data that even the planning commission acknowledges and uses.

96% of children in the age group 6-14 are enrolled in schools.

75% is the attendance rate on an average.

68.8% of children in standard 1 can recognise alphabets

69.3% of children in standard 1 know numbers 1-9

But then,

As we go higher up the classes, the learning levels of children does not grow as it should.

ONLY 50% of children in 5th standard can read as much as per levels expected for standard 2. &

ONLY 36% of children in 5th standard can solve division sums.

Given the fact that students are not failed upto 7th standard as per the government school norms, they keep going up the classes (when they dont drop out. Drop out rates are high after 5th standard, as much as 50-60%) but keep lagging behind. So, finally, even if you have a kid who has reached 8th standard, he/she would probably know just as much as a 4th standard kid should know.

Is this what we want to give our Nation’s children? Even thew new Right to Education Act, 2009 does not make any serious infrastructure build up plans that can amend these issues. There is vision to improve the quality of education in this act and government school teachers are also expected to reach required levels within 5 years but then where are the funds going to come from? We await the budget of 2009 to see how much money goes for education? We spend just about 3.4% of our GDP on education as against consistent recommendations of about 6% starting from the Kothari Commission of 1966.

But faulting the government is not going to improve things by itself. Lets see what we can do to help the government school teachers or may be the children themselves directly. We do pay our taxes and even the education cess but thats not where our responsibility ends. True investment can only be in the education of the lives of children of our country. Else, we would continue grappling with the situation as we have today of lot of people awaiting employment but few being really employable. Where would our GDP go? It makes sense for one and all to invest, each in their own way towards the education of children in our country. IT companies can help build e-governance tools that can highly increase transparency and drop corruption. This in itself would be a major contribution. Others can pitch in to advocate to the government to put more stress and resources. Others can simply pay our due taxes correctly at least…. Each of us have our duty. May we do our best……

Jai Hind !!!

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