School enrolments in Uttarakhand have overshot the national average, but Mathematics and English still remain students' bugbear here, according to the 2014 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER).
The report, which was released in New Delhi on January 13, shows that the student enrolment in the 6-14 years age group has been 98.5% against the national average of 96.1%. Which, Uttarakhand education department officials say, is something to cheer about. However, there has been a constant decline in Mathematics and English learning in private and government schools.
According to the report, the overall reading pattern among Grade 3 students has declined by 4.4% in 2014 since 2006. The decline has been 10.2% among Grade 5 students.
In private schools, mathematics level in Grade 3 decline by 18.5% while English by 2.6%.
The report also shows an encouraging trend among children to choose private schools in rural areas. The figures have risen from 21% in 2006 to 37.5% in 2014. But, this is less than the 2013 figures which put the rise at 39.4%.
Even the decline in the number of non-school- goers shows that there has been a growing interest among children to attend the school. There has been almost 50% decline in their numbers from 2.4% in 2006 to 1.5% in 2014.
This statistics reveals that parents even in rural and remote areas have known the significance of education and are supporting their kids to visit schools on a regular basis. Comparatively, the national percentage is 3.3 in 2014, higher than that of Uttarakhand.
In hill state, ASER survey was conducted in all 13 districts. About 377 villages were studied, including 7306 families and 11118 children. Twenty schools were studied during the survey in state.
In addition, the reading level in children has also progressed according to the report. In 2013, 67.8% students of Grade 3 could read, properly which is now 71.2%. Similarly, about 75% students of Grade 5 can read fluently against 72.3% in 2013.
SHYAM DAYAL SINGH, state head Pratham Education Foundation
Enrolment levels whether in government or private schools are satisfactory. But, I am concerned over learning levels which need a huge improvement. Considering the survey report, the education department should plan a comprehensive project to focus on reading in government schools, mathematics and English.
MANTRI PRASAD NAITHANI, education minister
We are trying our best to improve standards of education in government schools. We have increased the number of teachers. Through a special learning programmes, we are focusing on English speaking and writing. I know maths is also one subject that needs attention. We are working on it.