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Bihar has the fastest learners

Mention Bihar and chances are that you would end up talking about lawlessness, corruption, caste, Lalu and Rabri.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 19:44 IST

Mention Bihar and chances are that you would end up talking about lawlessness, corruption, caste, Lalu and Rabri. But something is going right in the classrooms of Bihar. An NCERT survey conducted last year says Bihar's primary class students are the fastest learners.

While six out of 10 students in Bihar's classrooms understood what was being taught, in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Chhattisgarh the number did not cross five. Even in highly literate Kerala, less than 50 per cent students understood their lessons. The survey reinforces what Prathan, an NGO, found out recently: Bihar’s students are as good as the best.

The national survey was conducted by the NCERT to evaluate the learning skills of Class V students, especially in mathematics and languages. Moreover, the study was meant to cast light on the teaching skills. A detailed questionnaire based on the syllabus was distributed to students in 20 states. The NCERT was in for a surprise - some of the best students were in the ramshackle schools of Bihar.

About 64 per cent of Bihari students followed their lessons as compared with the national average of 52 per cent. About 65 per cent understood their language classes as against the national average of 58 per cent. In mathematics, the percentage was 63 per cent while the national average was just 47. Though Bihari students were much ahead of their counterparts in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal when it came to numbers, they were lagging behind in languages.

Officials say the course correction happened between the two assembly elections when the state appointed 60,000 teachers and utilised grants under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 19:44 IST