India’s school education success story has a big bloomer -- overall student aptitude has fallen in four states, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Tripura.
The National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) tested ability of over 10,000 students of class II, V and VIII across India for languages, mathematics, and environment sciences. The students were tested for 40 topics in each subject in the schools.
The national average performance of students in the three subjects ranged between 40 to 70%, slightly better than the results of a similar NCERT study a few years ago, said a presentation made to HRD ministry last week. The best performance was in languages and worst in mathematics, which witnessed a slight fall in learning levels.
Four non-Congress ruled states Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Tripura witnessed a fall in performance of students in three subjects tested by the body under the HRD ministry.
Gujarat's fall in standards came as a surpirse as the state is considered economically and educationally forward. The biggest fall in performance was recorded in environment sciences of 3.18% followed by mathematics (-2.44%) and languages (-0.75%).
The Gujarat government is planning to revamp the school curriculum. "An exercise has been undertaken by the State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) and we can hope better results in the next round," an official said.
The naxal affected Jharkhand, the state with uncertain governance, had seen the maximum dip of about six percent in student learning ability. Students there were among worst performers in mathematics and environment sciences. However, girls performed better than boys in mathematics.
The maximum improvement in learning levels was recorded in Uttar Pradesh, but the officials attributed it to poor results in the last NCERT survey of 2007. The best learning ability is still among students of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh.
Languages: Performance of 14 states improved, of seven fell and others was almost same as last NCERT survey. In four states boys were better and in seven girls outshined them.
Maths: 13 states reported better results, 12 showed a decline and no change in performance was recorded in five states. Girls did better than boys in six states and children in rural schools did better than those in urban areas.
Environment sciences: Students performance in 22 states improved, in five dipped and remained unchanged in three. Girls did better than boys in more than half of the states.