Ahmedabad: Are Gujarat’s literate really literate? Chief minister Narendra Modi might have announced his vision at Vibrant Gujarat Summit of exporting teachers globally to impact the society in coming years, but there is a big hitch. He does not seem to be aware that the current crop of teachers in Gujarat have not succeeded in effectively educating the children here.
The Annual Status of Education Report - 2012, released on Thursday has brought to light some shocking facts about reading and comprehension skills of students in rural Gujarat. Only 20.6% of students of class VIII in schools in rural Gujarat could recognize numbers from1to 99! Only 32.9% of the tested students in the same standard could subtract and only 41.3% of students could divide - betraying their poor arithmetic skills.
If this is surprising, knowledge of Gujarati language - mother tongue to many students - would astound further. Of the tested students of class VIII, only 1.5% of students could read alphabets and not more than 3.6% students could read words in Gujarati. Only 13.2% of students could read class I text and 80.9% students of (class VIII) could read standard II text!
Similarly, figures suggested in the ASER report released by MHRD minister MM Pallam Raaju suggests, only 9.7% of the surveyed students of class VIII in schools in rural Gujarat could read capital letters in English, only 19.7% of students could read small letters, only 31.6% students could read simple words like ‘cat, red, sun’ in English; and only 35.1% students could read easy sentences.
ASER - as the report is known is considered to be the largest annual household survey of students in rural India that focuses on status of basic learning and measures outcome of it. The ASER survey – facilitated by NGO Pratham- included 567 districts in India, more than 16,000 villages and 3.3 lakh households and 6 lakh students in age 3 to 16 years. In the nation-wide study- around 692 schools from rural Gujarat, around 25,700 students were tested from these schools.
Children from Gujarat between ages five and 16 were tested in reading and arithmetic skills. Of the total students tested, 11,000 children were tested in English (as English is taught from class V).
Research associate with Pratham, Abhineet Singh Malhotra who was part of the study said that one of the reasons for lack of understanding could be weak basic knowledge.
“If students’ base knowledge of the subject is not clear, he would feel inferior in class when others answer question. This may hamper further his interest and skills. The lack of basic reading and arithmetic skills suggest, teachers emphasise more on completing syllabus than developing basic knowledge or make students understand the subject,” said he.
Malhotra adds only 47.5% students of class V could read class II textbook in Gujarat. “This shows, without knowing anything or basics of reading, one in every two children completes class V education,” he adds.