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State far off the mark

A NATIONAL-LEVEL study has shown that Madhya Pradesh is one of the worst states when it comes to learning level of primary and middle school students.

india Updated: Mar 12, 2006 15:32 IST

A NATIONAL-LEVEL study has shown that Madhya Pradesh is one of the worst states when it comes to learning level of primary and middle school students.

The study presents quite a pathetic situation in some districts like Sheopur, Damoh, Rajgarh and Mandla where students fared poorly in core learning levels.

The State has been placed as fifth worst state in country as regards the learning levels of standard V students with as much as 48.6 per cent students surveyed failing to read a text of standard II level and 62.5 per cent failing to solve a simple arithmetic (division) problem.

Text reading and solving of simple arithmetic problem were used as two parameters to test the learning level of the schoolchildren in 7-14 age group by a voluntary organisation, Pratham that conducted the nationwide study with help of number of local voluntary organisations.

Results of the study, mainly conducted in rural areas, have been made public as the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2006. The organisation would continue to conduct the annual study till 2010 — to coincide with the deadline set by the Centre for achieving quality universal education..

The study shows that the situation is worse in government schools as compared to private school with as much as 74.0 per cent students between standard II to V in government school failing to read text meant for standard II students. They fared worse in arithmetic test with as high as 82.4 per cent failing to perform the division (three digits by one digit) problems.

Correspondingly, 58.8 per cent students in same classes in private schools failed the reading test and 71.1 per cent failed in arithmetic test. As for the overall age group 7-14 children, 55.3 per cent failed the reading test and 66.4 per cent failed the arithmetic test.

The worst faring districts as regards reading ability are Sheopur – where 94.1 children of standard V cannot read, Tikamgarh – 81.5, Mandla – 75.0, Rajgarh – 72.6 and Guna – 70.3 per cent. As for arithmetic competence the worst faring are Sheopur – with 92.9 per cent students failing to solve division problems,

Damoh – 92.2 per cent, Jhabua – 91.4 per cent, Rajgarh – 90.5 per cent and Mandla – 86.4 per cent. Bhopal district is also not well placed with 64.9 per cent children of standard V not able to read text and 86.3 per cent students unable to solve division problem.

At all-India level, 51.9 per cent students in age group 7-14 failed the reading test and 65.5 per cent failed the arithmetic test.

However, there is a brighter side. The study found that 96 per cent children in age group of six to 14 years are school students.

As for gender ratio of out-of-school students – it was found that in age group of 6-10 years, 52 per cent are girls, in 11-14 years age group, 54 per cent such students are girls. It also found the teachers and students attendance in primary and middle school levels quite satisfactory, although recent inspections by the directorate of public instructions (DPI) had found teachers and students missing in many schools.


What senior officers say
Anshu Vaish, Principal Secretary, School Education:
The PS conceded that the problem regarding learning levels could not be denied but added that efforts were being made to improve about the situation. She said shortage of teaching staff and lack of trained teachers are major impediments. The School Education Department is trying to recruit teachers to fulfill the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan norms by next academic session and distant education system is being used to provide teachers’ training to working teachers.

By two years as many as 95,000 teachers would be trained. Remedial teaching has been introduced for primary and middle school levels.

Anil Kushwah, National Coalition of Education: He said the situation is real bad in districts like Guna, Shivpuri and Sheopur and Rajgarh where more than 85% of children who are in school but cannot write their own names. He said the government only gives emphasis on enrolment but are hardly worried about the learning status of the children once they go to school.

N K Singh, Commissioner, Rajya Shiksha Kendra, refused to talk to the Hindustan Times saying that he did not talk on official matters during private time.