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Monday, 21 January 2013

Basic Math eludes rural students in Madhya Pradesh

Basic Math eludes rural students in Madhya Pradesh

BHOPAL: More than 72% children studying in the rural areas of Madhya Pradesh cannot do basic division. More than 80% cannot even read basic sentences of English. Solving two-digit addition and subtraction scares almost 77% kids studying between standard III and V. These startling facts were revealed in the eighth Annual Status of Education Report (ASER-2012) released by NGO Pratham on Thursday.
The analysis was conducted during September-October 2012 in 43 districts of MP in which about 51,000 children (3-16 age group) from rural areas had participated. Basic reading and arithmetic continue to be a matter of concern for the rural students. In 2011, 38% of all children in standard V were able to read a simple standard II level text. This proportion fell to 33% in 2012. The percentage of standard V children in government schools who were able to read standard II level text fell from 33.4% in 2011 to 27.5% in 2012. Figures of Vth standard kids who were able to solve two digit subtraction problems also took a 13.6% plunge in 2012. In 2011, there were 44.7% such children in state.
While the percentage of children (6-14 age group) enrolled in government schools dipped from 83.9 in 2006 to 77.8 in 2012, enrolment in private schools during the same period saw a 6.7% growth from 11.5 %. High absenteeism and multigrade classrooms in government schools still worry the policy makers. While the children's attendance on a particular day of visit remained between 71 and 73% at national level, only 60% students were found present in MP schools. At 76% primary schools, standard II children were found sitting with those of other classes.
Over the past few years, school facilities have failed to improve much as well. In 2012, less than half (46.7%) of all schools visited were found to have useable toilets. Only 65% of schools had separate provision for girl's toilet. But many of them were found either unusable or locked. About one-third of schools still do not have proper library facilities. Children in about 17% schools carry drinkable water from home.
Experts find lack of teachers and special training programmes and the government's no detention policy for students up to standard VIII under the Right to Education (RTE) Act chiefly responsible for the disturbing trend in the sector.
"Vacant posts of teachers and few training programmes for them, poor anganwadi system, lack of innovative teaching methods and multi-grade classrooms are some of the main factors that could be attributed to the decline in quality of education in MP," said a senior activist of the organization, Sajjan Singh Shekhawat.
"Special training modules should be introduced for those who teach the kids of standard I as the number of students below six years getting enrolled for the first time in schools is very high in MP," he added.
"Though no-detention policy has helped in curbing the drop-out rate in state, it leads to complacency among students and affects the quality of primary education," said Pratham's state head, Oliver.