|File picture of students
in a government primary school in Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar, March 8: Six out of every 100 Class V students in government schools of the state cannot identify alphabets and 17 of each 100 can read only a word.
The ASER report 2013 — an annual assessment of the quality of education between Classes I and VII — paints a grim picture of education in the state.
The report is based on a survey done in 845 schools of 30 districts. While 20 students had been able to read Class II-level texts in 2012, the number of such students rose to 45 in 2013.
The arithmetical skills of the students have also declined. Five out of every 100 Class V students failed to recognise numbers between 1 and 9, and 30 could not recognise numbers between 10 and 99. Only 25 students could subtract and 22 in every 100 could divide. While 43 out of 100 Class VII students had been able to solve divisions in 2012, the number fell to 39 in 2013.
Ironically, the number of students opting for private tuition has gone up. About 46.3 per cent government school students between Classes I and V go for tuitions, while the corresponding figure for Classes VI to VII is 53 per cent.
The numbers have seen an increase since 2012, with 42.2 per cent students from Classes I to V and 48.2 per cent students from Classes VI to VII attending private tutorials. In many cases, schoolteachers double up at tuition teachers during the evening hours.
“Tuition is important. We have to shell out Rs 200 a month, but we get better marks. The teacher pays individual attention in a tuition class,” says Rashmi Jena, a Class VI student.
Some students said tuition had made them comfortable with the teachers.
“They are not as serious as they appear in schools. The teachers joke and teach us in a better way. We can ask them about our doubts without fear. They don’t get irritated,” says Bramha, a Class V student.
Educators attribute the consistently deterioration in education standard to the lack of quality teachers in these schools. “It’s a disturbing scenario. These are the students, who will ultimately land in higher education institutes. One wonders with this level of knowledge how will they ever fathom the vastness of their courses? Ultimately, what will be the quality of manpower produced by our state?” asked educator S.N. Mohanty, adding that the state government must take all possible measures to appoint quality teachers to improve the standard of education.
“There is an effort to make the state an educational hub. With 100-odd engineering colleges, an equal number of other professional colleges and a dozen medical colleges, the quality of government-run schools is pathetic. Ultimately, higher education is bound to suffer,” said another educator.
At present, the state has 1,59,178 government elementary teachers, including 77,760 regular teachers and 81,418 sikshya sahayaks and gana sikshaks.
In August last year, the state government announced recruitment of 25,000 teachers. Secretary of the school and mass education department Usha Padhi said: “Learning outcome is our concern, too. A programme called Sahaj to focus on age appropriate competencies among students from Classes II to VI is being implemented. The summative evaluation is scheduled to begin from March 18 to know its impact. This will further help design early learning programmes in reading, writing and arithmetic.”