Covid took toll on pupils; significant decline in reading abilities: Report : The Tribune India

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Covid took toll on pupils; significant decline in reading abilities: Report

In Class III, 3.5% students can’t recognise numbers from 1 to 9

Covid took toll on pupils; significant decline in reading abilities: Report

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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19

A significant decline in abilities to read and solve arithmetic problems among government primary school children in Punjab has been noticed during the Covid period. The fact came to fore in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2022, released in New Delhi on Wednesday.

While assessing the Punjabi reading level of the children, the survey found that among children of Class III, 6.4 per cent could not even read letters, 19.3 could read letters but not words.

Similarly, in arithmetic assessment, it was found that among children of Class III, 3.5 per cent could not even recognise 1 to 9, 16.3 per cent could recognise numbers up to 9, but could not recognise numbers up to 99 or higher, 35.4 per cent could recognise numbers up to 99 but could not do subtraction, 39.2 per cent could do subtraction but could not do division, and 5.7 per cent could do division.

In English reading assessment among children of Class III, 7.6 per cent could not even recognise capital letters, 6.9 per cent could recognise capital letters but not small letters, 27.2 per cent could recognise small letters but not words, 28.3 per cent could read words but not sentences, and 30 per cent could read sentences.

As per the survey, the proportion of children of Class V across India, who could do division, has also fallen slightly, from 27.9 per cent in 2018 to 25.6 per cent in 2022. Steep drops of more than 10 percentage points are visible in Punjab (from 52.9 per cent to 41.1 per cent).

Similarly, the performance of Class VIII in basic arithmetic is more varied. Nationally, the proportion of children who can do division has increased slightly, from 44.1 per cent in 2018 to 44.7 per cent in 2022. This increase is driven by improved outcomes among girls as well as among children enrolled in government schools, whereas boys and children enrolled in private schools show a decline over 2018 levels. Children in Class VIII in government schools did significantly worse in Punjab from 58.4 per cent to 44.5 per cent.

However, the national average hides major variations across states. For example, the proportion of schools with drinking water increased from 58.1 per cent in 2018 to 65.6 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and from 82.7 per cent in 2018 to 92.7 per cent in Punjab.

7.6% can’t recognise capital letters

In English reading assessment among children of Class III, 7.6 per cent can’t even recognise capital letters, 6.9 per cent can recognise capital letters but not small letters

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