Bihar schools register dip in learning levels, attendance: ASER 2018

Published on Jan 16, 2019 12:38 PM IST

The report highlights the declining trend in learning levels in government schools since 2016. If 44.6% of Std 5 students were able to read standard 2 text in 2014, it has come down to 35.1% in 2018. Similar fall is witnessed across all levels.

The 2016 report had also pointed to falling learning outcome, with one out of four children leaving standard VIII without even basic reading skills.(File)
The 2016 report had also pointed to falling learning outcome, with one out of four children leaving standard VIII without even basic reading skills.(File)
Hindustan Times, Patna | By

The annual status of education report (ASER), 2018, released on Tuesday, has once again underlined the poor state of school education in Bihar, which is marked by low classroom attendance, growing attraction towards private schools and continuing trend of dip in learning outcomes.

This is so despite a lot of incentives and improvement in school facilities like provisions of playground, library, toilets and drinking water, which have reversed the gender gap at the secondary level. In fact, Bihar has done better than many states in providing facilities to schools.

The silver lining is that for the age group of 15-16, the percentage of boys currently not enrolled is higher compared to girls.

However, cause of biggest alarm is that learning levels in upper primary levels, the foundation for secondary and higher education, continue to decline in both reading and arithmetic. In 2018, around half of standard 8 children struggled even with simple division, pointing to the need of immediate measures to improve their foundation skills for higher grades.

The report highlights the declining trend in learning levels in government schools since 2016. If 44.6% of Std 5 students were able to read standard 2 text in 2014, it has come down to 35.1% in 2018. Similar fall is witnessed across all levels.

Last year, the report had underlined that even among the 14-18 age groups, the problem of learning outcome, as demonstrated in elementary schools, was a matter of big concern. Its survey in 2017 in Muzaffarpur had shown 22.2% students in the 14-18 age-group could not even read Std II level text, while nearly 35% could not even do division.

The 2016 report had also pointed to falling learning outcome, with one out of four children leaving standard VIII without even basic reading skills.

“Overall decline in learning levels in almost all grades is a cause of major worry, more so because a decade ago Bihar’s learning levels were above the national average. Bihar was among the top ranking states in mathematics, but that is not the case anymore,” he added.

The impact of weak foundation was evident in the board exams in the last three years, when a record number of students failed and even led to deliberations on diluting the standard of questions to improve the pass percentage.

“Many children completing Std 8 are unprepared for higher studies or for the labour market. Preparations for school, work and life is needed at this stage. Helping children acquire skills of reading and basic mathematics by the end of Std 2 or beginning of Std 3 will significantly reduce learning gaps in later stages,” the report adds.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Arun Kumar is Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He has spent two-and-half decades covering Bihar, including politics, educational and social issues.

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