NEW DELHI: Boys are better at basic mathematics than girls. At least, in India and in the last academic year, they were. About 50 per cent of boys in the 14-16 age group of can correctly solve a division problem, compared to 44 per cent girls, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 has revealed.
While this gender gap exists at the national-level in solving mathematical problems, several states showed otherwise. In Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, girls are doing better than boys in arithmetic.
Girls continued to outperform boys in almost all other findings of the report which is based on the largest learning assessment of schoolchildren in Classes III, V and VIII in government schools in rural areas of the country.
This year’s ASER survey reached out to 596 districts, 3,54,944 households and 5,46,527 children in the 3-16 age group. It covered three major aspects — school enrolment and attendance, basic reading and math abilities, and school facilities with sports infrastructure.
For the first time in 2018, the number of children in the 6-14 age-group not enrolled in school fell below 3 per cent and stood at 2.8 per cent.
“In 2006, the all-India proportion of girls in the age-group 11 to 14 who were out of school stood at 10.3 per cent. In that year, nine major states had ‘out of school’ figures for girls (aged 11-14) above 10 per cent. In 2018, the overall proportion of girls in the 11-14 age-group out of school has fallen to 4.1 per cent,” said the report. “Further, 10 years ago in 2008, nationally, more than 20 per cent of girls in the 15-16 age group were not enrolled in school. In 2018, this figure has decreased to 13.5 per cent.”
Reading abilities of children have also shown gradual improvement. The percentage of Class III children who can read Standard II level text increased from 21.6per centin 2013 to 27.2per centin 2018.
However, the percentage of children able to solve arithmetic problems remained stagnant.