More than half of class 1 students in Maoist-hit Jharkhand cannot recognize letters of the English Alphabet, while nearly half of them fail to recognize single digit numbers, the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2016 has revealed.
The survey released on Wednesday highlighted the abysmal state of school education in the tribal state, claiming that 49.7% class 6 students in the state failed to read class 2 textbooks and only 67.7% class 8 students managed to read the same books.
Total 48.1% class 1 students couldn’t recognize numerical and 56.6% students of the same class couldn’t recognize English letters, the survey said.
More than 50 lakh students study in the 40,000 odd government schools in the state. Around 50,000 regular teachers and 72,000 ad hoc teachers teach these students at schools. Frequent protests by para teachers and poor monitoring of educational schemes has been a perennial problem in Jharkhand, where 21 of 24 districts are declared Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected.
The performance of Jharkhand students has remained almost similar over the years. The 2014 ASER report said that 55.7% class 1 students in rural Jharkhand could not recognise English alphabets, while 53.7% students of the same class could not recognise single-digit numbers. ASER did not release a report in 2015.
Mathematical calculation was equally challenging for the students here. As per the latest survey, only 42.9% students of class 8 could perform division and only 24.7% students of the same class were able to subtract.
State school education and literacy secretary Aradhana Patnaik said that the results of the efforts which the government had put in in the past couple of years cannot be gauged immediately.
“Improving education is a gradual process. It cannot be gauged in one year. We have put in a lot of efforts and the results would be visible gradually over the next five years,” she said.
ASER is an annual, non-government survey that aims to provide reliable estimates of children’s enrolment and basic learning levels for each district and state in India. It conducts the survey on random groups of children spread across rural areas of each districts of the state.
Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC) director Manish Kumar did not reject the findings of the report, but said that any report cannot be entirely true since only a group of children are tested.
“Today, the situation is worse than what is projected in the report. The government has been laying impetus on quality education, but most of the initiatives were only limited to pen and paper,” said Manoj Kumar, member, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR).