Over 50 per cent of Class V students in government schools can’t clear a simple mathematics test. Of them, about 45 per cent can’t even do plain addition and subtraction.
These are some of the shocking findings of a survey on students’ learning levels in government schools across India, conducted by the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) last year.
The survey checked the learning ability of 65,000 students in 266 districts and found their performance better in languages and environment sciences, than mathematics. The average pass percentage was 60 for languages and 53 for environment sciences. In the case of mathematics, it was a grim 49.2 per cent.
The NCERT tested students on nine aspects of math — including geometry, measurement, profit and loss, average and fundamental operations. Over 50 per cent failed in questions on percentages, geometry, fractions and decimals and on highest common factor and lowest common multiple.
Students in West Bengal on an average got more than 60 per cent.
Students in Chhattisgarh and Goa students scored less than 40 per cent. In most of the northern states, students scored between 40 and 50 per cent.
Even though learning mathematics is still a matter of concern, the overall learning ability of the students has improved, with 53.65 per cent students clearing the NCERT test as compared to just 51.89 per cent in 2004.
While Himachal Pradesh recorded the maximum improvement of over 13 percentage points, its neighbours Haryana and Punjab reported a decline by four and about 0.5 per cent, respectively. Tamil Nadu went down the most -- 8.6 per cent.
The HRD Ministry blamed shortage of mathematics teachers for the poor performance of students in many states. The situation will change, ministry officials told Hindustan Times, with half of the allocation under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan being utilised to improve quality of education. "Many states have come up with innovative teaching methods and it has shown results with better learning levels as compared to 2004," an official said.
The ministry in the 11th plan will launch a new scheme for improving quality of education in government schools, the official said.