Learning in rural Maharashtra gets better, but still short of 2008
While learning outcomes of students in rural Maharashtra seem to have seen an overall improvement in the last few years, the state has still not been able to match its own performance from a decade ago, revealed the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2018. Learning outcomes are basic levels of learning whose knowledge students are required to demonstrate.
The survey was conducted by not-for-profit Pratham across 33 districts of the state. A total of 26,000 students were tested in a household survey on key learning outcomes such as reading and basic arithmetic. A total of 927 schools were surveyed for their basic infrastructure and student-teacher ratio, among others.
The ASER revealed that only 42.1% students from Class 3 in government and private schools in the state could read a Class 2 text. The survey found that 27.1% students in Class 3 could do basic subtraction, which has slightly gone up from 16.3% in 2014. However, the number is still low as compared to that of 2008 wherein 40.5% students could subtract. The national average for the same is 28.1%.
Similarly, only 40.7% of Class 8 students could do basic division while 80.1% students from the class could read a Class 2 text. The number of primary schools with enrolment of 60 or less students has gone up to 45.2% in 2018 from 33% in 2010.
The survey also revealed that around 5% girls in the state between the age group of 15 and 16 years were out of school in 2018. The rate has, however, gone down from 10.1% in 2008.
State education minister Vinod Tawde said the overall figures seem to have improved from 2014. “We realise that a lot needs to be done to improve learning outcomes of students but certainly feel that the state’s Pragat Shaikshanik Maharashtra programme has helped to improve the situation to some extent,” added Tawde.
Farida Lambay, co-founder, Pratham, said Maharashtra has shown considerable improvement as far as the learning outcomes of students are considered. “There are many factors that contributed to this. On the one hand, parents are becoming aware and are taking efforts to ensure their children study well. Another important factor is that schools are teaching the basics well,” added Lambay.
The survey, however, underlined that access to toilets in schools still remains a challenge for many students in the state. In 28.2% schools, toilets were not in a useable condition. Close to 30% schools still do not have drinking water facility for students. At the primary level, 50-60% students were seen sitting in multi-grade classrooms, the numbers for which have considerably gone up over the years.
Ranjitsinh Disle, a teacher from a government zilla parishad school in Solapur, has written to the organisation asking them to release the raw data of the survey. “Merely showing some trends and saying that schools have done well in the current government’s tenure is not enough. Responses from students and raw data sets need to be made public,” he added.