Only 21% of rural children in Tamil Nadu can read basic text

According to the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2005 to 2014, the quality of education at the grassroots level in Tamil Nadu has deteriorated sharply, TOI has pointed out.

The ability of children between Class 1 and Class 8 in rural Tamil Nadu to read Class 1 and Class 2 level texts has come down over the last decade. An average of 21% children aged between seven and 14 could read basic Class 1 level texts and only 30% of these could read Class 2 level texts.

When it came to mathematical competence, about 25% were able to subtract two-digit numbers with borrowing, 15% could perform division of a three-digit number by a single digit.

The national achievement survey by National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) says the results of cycle 3 and cycle 4 for Class 5 show a significant dip in the student’s learning outcomes in the past three years.

Teachers who have been in the profession for more than two decades believe that the introduction of Samacheer Kalvi in 2005 and the no-detention policy under Right to Education Act has contributed to the poor quality of education.

“Until matriculation, most private schools used books from renowned publications. But the introduction of Samacheer undid this. Matriculation was not on par with CBSE , but it was competent when compared to many other state boards,” a retired chemistry teacher in Coimbatore said.

He said while many private schools use additional books besides the Samacheer Kalvi-prescribed texts, the lack of an examination system to test the learning outcomes defeats the purpose. “These books are an attraction component for the parents and a way of making money,” he said.

A senior school education department official said Samacheer was vetted by NCERT based on standards set by the national curriculum framework. “The syllabus is good. There are some gaps in the way it has been implemented but we are working on it,” he said.

A section of educationists allege that the government is covering up the poor standard of school education by inflating marks in the boards. “A good pass percentage will reflect a good education system. But these exams fail to test the analysing capacity of children which the survey results show,” Erode-based educationist Moorthy Selvakumaran said.

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