Monday, March 24, 2008

What a bunch of duffers

March 21, 2008

H/l: Only 5.1 pc Std 2 kids can read Marathi
Intro: State has faltered on education in rural Maharashtra
Vrushali Lad

Mumbai: Will the Rs 1,400 crores set aside in the Budget for the state’s education this year plug some major deficiencies in rural areas’ education? As per estimates for rural Maharashtra as enumerated in the Economic Survey 2007-2008, just 5.1 per cent children can read class II Marathi texts.

Even more shockingly, 12.2 per cent children cannot read at all, even their mother tongue Marathi. English capital letters seem to stump students right from class I to class VIII - 72 per cent of the former can’t and just 5.7 per cent of the latter can read capital letters in English.

The survey, titled ‘Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)’ was carried out by NGO Pratham, that surveyed the state’s villages during October and November 2007, to understand the educational status of children aged 6 to 14 years.

As per the survey, arithmetic fares even worse than the languages. While 10.5 per cent children in class I cannot perform any arithmetic operation, only 5.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent children can do subtraction and division.

Apart from these problems, there seems to be a marked absence of basic infrastructure for rural schools. 16.9 per cent class I to VIII rural schools in the state have no water and 8.6 per cent have no toilets provided. A huge 28.5 per cent class I to V schools have no water and 15.5 per cent schools in the same category have no toilets.

Other figures from the ASER findings:
- 1.2 pc class 8 students can read Marathi words
- 67.5 pc class 8 students can read easy English sentences
- 33 pc class 5 students can read simple English words
- Only 8 pc class 8 students can recognise numbers between 10 and 99

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