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Madhya Pradesh witnesses an alarming drop in Reading skills in Students, ranks among India’s lowest

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Delhi, Jan 10, 2017:  Reading and some math skills of Madhya Pradesh students are among India’s lowest, the transition rate to higher classes is lower than the national average. A majority of classrooms are shared by students of different grades, and government elementary schools are 17.6 per cent short of school teachers, according an analysis of various government data.

The literacy rate in Madhya Pradesh at 72.6 million, the fifth-largest state by population — was ninth lowest, at 70.6 per cent, in 2011. This was an increase of 6.86 percentage points from 2001 –the second-lowest increase among BIMARU states.

Learning levels in rural Madhya Pradesh are among India’s worst. Only 34 per cent of all children surveyed in Grade 5 in rural areas could read a Grade 2 level text, the second-lowest across all states — behind only Assam — according to the 2014 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), and the proportion of Grade 5 children who could at least subtract was 31 per cent, the lowest in India.

The proportion of children in Grade 3 who could read at least words declined from 80 per cent in 2010 to 32 per cent in 2014 in government schools; the corresponding decline in private schools was from 88 per cent in 2010 to 74 per cent in 2014.

The transition rate from primary (Grade 5) to upper primary (Grade 6) in Madhya Pradesh was 88.67 per cent in 2014-15, according to the Unified District Information System (U-DISE) Flash Statistics 2015-16 — below the all-India average of 90 per cent.

At the upper primary level, learning levels are worse. Only 18 per cent of Grade 7 students could read English sentences — the lowest in the country. Of those who could read, only 43 per cent could tell the meaning of the sentence — again the lowest, indicating that even students who transition to upper primary perform poorly in comparison with students in other states.

Of six million teaching positions in government schools nationwide, about 900,000 elementary school teaching positions and 100,000 in secondary school — put together, a million — are vacant, according to an answer given in the Lok Sabha. About 17.6 per cent of all elementary teaching positions — nearly 64,000 — in government schools in Madhya Pradesh are vacant.

As many as 78 per cent schools surveyed had children from Grade 2 sharing a classroom with other grades, an increase from 67 per cent in 2010, according to the ASER 2014 report.

Similarly, the proportion of schools where Grade 4 children shared a classroom with other grades increased from 57 per cent in 2010 to 69 per cent in 2014.

As several grades study in one classroom with the same teacher or teachers, more training, and different kinds of pedagogy, would have to be used to reach every child, according to an ASER 2011 report. The Right to Education (RTE) Act does not specify any regulations for multi-grade classrooms, and it is possible that schools provide few teachers with special training to equip them to teach in multi-grade classrooms.

Overall, few teachers receive in-service training. No more than 7.13 per cent of the state’s teachers (including contractual teachers) got in-service training in 2013-14; the Indian average was 18.34 per cent, according to U-DISE data.

Public expenditure on elementary education (Grade 1 to Grade 8) per student increased by 50 per cent between 2011-12 and 2014-15, but this increase was mainly due to the decline in enrolment than any increase in real expenditure, the Economic and Political Weekly reported in September 2016.

The enrolment at primary level (Grade 1 to 5) declined from 10.7 million in 2010-11 to 8.67 million in 2014-15, a decline of 18.97 per cent, according to U-DISE data, mostly because fewer children enrol in primary school at the wrong age — raising the per student spending in the state.

The primary school Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) — which is the proportion of students enrolled to the proportion of primary-school age children — was 136.7 in 2010-11, which fell to 101.11 at primary level in 2014-15, according to U-DISE data. The GER can be greater than 100 if children not of primary-school age enrol in primary school.

For upper primary school, gross enrolment has fallen below 100 per cent; that is, not all students of upper-primary school-age enrol in school. The gross upper primary school enrolment dropped from 102.1 in 2010-11 to 96.6 in 2014-2015, according to U-DISE data.

As many as 70 per cent of RTE quota seats were not filled in Madhya Pradesh. The RTE Act (2009) requires that one quarter of all seats be reserved for free schooling to the poorest students in all private, unaided primary schools.

Only 170,000 students were admitted on the RTE quota in 2016, although more than 420,000 seats were reserved. The shortfall is attributed, in part, to an online lottery system that parents found hard to use.

Delhi and Maharashtra also adopted a similar centralised online allotment of seats in private schools, according to one report. The report states that “although going online with the admission process appears to be a good move to improve transparency and efficiency… not all parents would be able to apply online for admissions, especially the ones coming from the lower strata of the society”.

Madhya Pradesh also revoked the “no-detention policy” in October 2016, allowing all government and private schools to hold back students in the same grade after Grade 5, due to the state’s declining quality of education, according to Deepak Joshi, Minister of State for School Education. Earlier, students would not repeat grades until Grade 8, except in schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education.  (IANS)

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Conventional vs Unconventional Classroom

So where would you be learning, conventional or an unconventional classroom?

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Unlike the conventional learning in a classroom, online training makes the content available for students digitally. Flickr

Learning is the process of acquiring new skills or knowledge and for quite some time students have followed the process of enrolling in an offline centre to learn and study from the material provided but now, there is a new and an unconventional approach to upskilling yourself and that is through online learning.

While I was growing up, if I ever wanted to learn a new skill, I had to travel a minimum of 2-3 kms to the nearest learning or tuition centre to enquire and then enrol for the desired training. Though there were interactions with the teacher, but inhibitions got the better of me and with time, because of all the unresolved doubts, the learning started to become monotonous and I lost interest. But online learning has made that journey for a student interesting, fun and a cakewalk. You can relax in your seat while the knowledge is displayed on your screen and ask all that you wish to.

To begin with, what is online learning?

Unlike the conventional learning in a classroom, online learning makes the content available for students digitally. Students can learn online, anywhere and anytime. Instead of physical copies of books, e-learning uses visual content and gamification.

To help you understand the differences better I would like to compare both the classrooms and the learning associated on the basis of parameters that are essential for an overall learning.

1.       Affordability: 

In offline centres or conventional classrooms there are a lot of miscellaneous expenses incurred and hence the fee structure is designed accordingly.

Whereas in online learning, students’ aim is to learn so companies spend resources only on developing the content and thereby lowering the cost of the training.

From text to graphics, this software does it all. Pixabay
In offline centres or conventional classrooms there are a lot of miscellaneous expenses incurred and hence the fee structure is designed accordingly. Pixabay

2.       Flexibility and convenience:

In a conventional classroom, if you miss a class it gets difficult to grasp the topic and understand what is being taught. The classes have to be attended on fixed days
and timings, offering almost no flexibility. Whereas in online learning, the classes can be taken as per your availability and thus giving you an opportunity to design your own curriculum. You could also watch the classes over and understand the topics in-depth.

3.       Answers to your questions:

While learning, doubts might arise about the topic being taught but students usually hesitate in asking questions in a classroom. Whereas in online learning, you are an anonymous user and your doubts, as frivolous they may be, can be asked without any hesitation.
4.       Practical experience:
The learning journey in a conventional classroom is about reading and grasping, it involves little or none practical applications of the learnings. Whereas in online learning, the training is designed in such a manner that the content is informative and involves practical applications as well. The test and assignments in the module are made to ensure that the student has a holistic growth.

Also Read- Apple Watch Helps Users in US Take ECG

Only 20 percent of the five million students who graduate every year get employed, industry lobby Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) said in a report, published last year.

The competition is stiff and is going to get worse with time so It essential to make yourself stand out from the rest to increase your chances of getting hired. The certificate you will receive at the successful completion of the training will help in making the employer realise that you have relevant skills and in-depth knowledge about the subject.

So where would you be learning, conventional or an unconventional classroom?

About the Author: Sarvesh Agrawal is the Founder and CEO of Internshala, an internship and trainings platform. (Internshala.com)