More government funds for education has increased enrollment but student’s learning ability has not improved primarily because of lack of creativity among teachers, a United Nations-sponsored study in five states has found.
The study, Inside Primary Schools, has found that learning ability of children in primary schools in five major states were at least two grades below the required proficiency in language and mathematics. In simpler terms, a class 5 student is only equipped to study textbooks meant for class 3.
"Through this report we have tried to find out the reasons for low learning ability of children in public schools," said Suman Bhattacharjea, lead author of the report. The poor learning ability of children had been documented by NGO Pratham through their annual surveys.
The study of 30,000 children in Himachal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand has come out with some startling facts for education planners.In class 4, around 40% students were in the age group of 7 to 14 although the age range for the class was 8-9 years.
Around 30% students in class 2 were not able to read more than two alphabets in a word even though they were taught lengthy phrases in class 1. For another 10% children the language of instruction was different from the language used at home.
The study throws a big question at education planners-- formalising the 12th five year plan— that many of their "assumptions are not based on ground reality".
In the year-long study, ability of teachers was also evaluated by asking questions from class 4 textbook. "There were a fair number of teachers who failed to answer the questions correctly," Bhattacharjea said, while emphasising the need to upgrade skills of government school teachers.