Our kids don’t know to read English, do basic Maths

Through the extensive survey, it was observed that the number of students being able to comprehend and read the alphabets and numbers drastically reduced to a concerning rate. In some aspects, TN’S performance was alarmingly poor.
Illustration: Saai
Illustration: Saai

CHENNAI: Though Tamil Nadu in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022 managed to score high in indicators such as students enrolment and school infrastructure, the major setback has been on the learning skills of school students.

As part of the household survey, ASER took 920 villages as samples from 31 districts of TN. Between the ages of 3 to 16 years – 30,737 children from 18,312 households – were surveyed on basic reading, arithmetic skills and the ability to read English alphabets and simple sentences.

Through the extensive survey, it was observed that the number of students being able to comprehend and read the alphabets and numbers drastically reduced to a concerning rate. In some aspects, TN’S performance was alarmingly poor.

In the arithmetic level of grading, 42% of children in Class 1 were unable to read numbers between 1-9, while in classes 2 and 3, 16.6 and 8.7% kids could not read numbers, respectively. On the other hand, the percentage of children between classes 1 and 4 that were able to recognise numbers 1-9 was below 40%. The percentages are Class 1 (39.5%), Class 2 (32.3%), Class 3 (18.7%) and Class 4 (9.6%) – showing a steady decline.

Subsequently, as students struggled to identify numbers and had difficulty in the foundation-level, it reflected on the problem-solving skills like subtraction and division. The data pointed out that only about 10.4% and 0.9% children in Class 3 knew subtraction.

In the survey’ reading aspects, around 59.1% of children in Class 1 were unable to read an alphabet. However, for the same class, about 31.1% were able to read an alphabet and only 8.2% were able to read a word. In the same survey, the data revealed that 1.2% of kids in Class 8 could not even read a letter, 2.7% could read a letter, 9.6% could read a word.

In 2012, the data also revealed that 30.3% kids in Class 5 (both government and private school) could read Class 2 text. But that steadily declined in subsequent years and stood at 25.2% in 2022. For the same years, in the case of Class 8 children being able to read Class 2 text, it dropped from 65.8% to 62.9%.

In terms of infrastructure, 78.6 % of schools had toilets and ‘usable’ girls’ toilets in 2022, 80% schools have library books, 99% students in government primary schools received textbooks and uniforms, 90% of schools have at least one teacher trained in ‘Ennum Ezhuthum’ scheme and an average attendance of teachers is above 90% between 2014 and 2022.

Lastly, as far as enrollment rate is concerned, for the past 15 years, Tamil Nadu has maintained an enrollment rate above 99% between 6 and 14 age groups. And despite the pandemic, the figures remained at 99.8%.

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