What they learn in school: zilch | india | Hindustan Times
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What they learn in school: zilch

HALF THE primary school students of village schools in 12 states stumble on simple subtraction problems, almost the same number cannot read simple sentences ? clearly the government's much-vaunted universal elementary education programme is floundering.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 01:25 IST

HALF THE primary school students of village schools in 12 states stumble on simple subtraction problems, almost the same number cannot read simple sentences — clearly the government's much-vaunted universal elementary education programme is floundering.

A national survey conducted in 485 rural districts of 12 states showed that while 93.4 per cent of the 332,971 children interviewed went to school, the quality of education does not give them an edge over the 1.4 crore children who do not go to school.

The survey by the NGO, Pratham, said while 44 per cent children studying in Classes II to V in government schools could not read simple sentences, 50 per cent could not solve simple subtraction sums.

This, when the government has set 2010 as its deadline for achieving quality universal elementary education.

States like Kerala, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Bihar (in that order) rank among the top as per the ability of Class V students to read a Class II textbook. Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh are among the worst five.

Similarly, Madhya Pradesh fares the worst in its Class V students' ability to solve simple division questions. West Bengal, Haryana, Bihar Uttaranchal and Chhattisgarh have fared the best in the arithmetic ability section.

Bihar, where children had decent reading and arithmetic abilities, also has the highest number of children out of school — 13.5 per cent, followed by Rajasthan at 10.4 per cent. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa account for 71.2 per cent of all out-of-school children.

Meanwhile, Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Tuesday said the government was looking at increasing the outlay earmarked for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the midday meal scheme in the budget.

This amount will be over and above the funds collected as education cess.