M A I N   N E W S

Sharp dip in learning abilities of HP pupils
Rakesh Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 1
The government has not only made a mess of higher education by allowing indiscriminate opening of private universities, but also shattered the very foundation at the primary level.

While independent surveys have revealed a sharp decline in the learning abilities of schoolchildren, particularly during the past five years, the dismal picture brought out by the test conducted for the award of scholarship is the real eye-opener.

The outcome of the test conducted by the Education Department to select students for scholarship under “Medhavi Chatrvriti Yojna” is a “shocker” and far more disconcerting than the recent independent surveys, including Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER). Out of 13,777 students of Class VI who took the test, over 90 per cent failed to secure even the pass marks (34 per cent) in English, mathematics and environment science (EVS). While 231 students (2 per cent), managed to secure Grade A (80-100%) in Hindi, only 21 students got Grade A in English.

Similarly, just 24 students got A Grade in mathematics and the number was even less (only 13) in case of EVS.

The failure rate in different subjects for the candidates, who fancied their chances of securing scholarship, has been abnormally high. The performance was worst in EVS with only 677 students (4 per cent) securing more than 34 per cent marks. In Mathematics, 959 students (6 per cent) and in English 1,395 students (11 per cent) managed to secure more than 34 per cent marks.

The performance was slightly better in Hindi with 5,998 students (47 per cent) obtaining more than 34 per cent marks. Another notable feature was that the failure rate of boys was higher than that of girls in Hindi (boys: 60 per cent; girls: 53 per cent) and English (boys: 92 per cent; girls: 89 per cent) and lower in mathematics (boys: 92 per cent, girls: 94 per cent) and EVS (boys: 94 per cent, girls: 96 per cent).

The ASER-2011 report also reveals that the percentage of Class III students in government schools who cannot read Level I text has increased from 33 per cent III in 2008 to over 40 per cent in 2011.

Similarly, the number of Class V students who cannot read Level II text has also gone up from 2008 to 2011. Further, 70 per cent students in Class III are unable to read a simple paragraph based on Class I textbook and 26 per cent students in Class V are unable to read the story based on Class II textbook. As many as 57 per cent Class III students cannot do a simple 2-digit subtraction and 87 per cent failed to solve a 2-digit division. Despite increased spending on education for creating infrastructure like classrooms, toilets, drinking water and providing teachers, the academic standards are going down.





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