The recently released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)-2012 shows the poor standards of primary education in private and government schools in rural parts of the state.
Pratham, a non-governmental organisation, conducts a survey every year in all the states and Union Territories to assess the quality of education being provided to children up to Class 8 in private and government schools in rural areas. Union human resource development minister MM Pallam Raju has released the latest report at a function held in New Delhi recently.
According to the report, more than 45 percent of schoolchildren studying up to Class VIII are not able to read Class II-level textbooks and more than 40 percent cannot read even simple sentences in English. About 35 percent of Class VIII students can not do simply divisions in arithmetic and 40 percent of Class I students cannot write or identify numerals beyond nine. In the case of Class II students, about 40 percent of them cannot identify numerals beyond 99.
PRIVATE COACHING: Children who take private coaching apart from attending regular classes at school perform marginally better in mathematics and reading ability. About 15 percent of children studying up to Class VIII take additional coaching outside school. Interestingly, the number of such students is high among private school students. While 23 percent of private school children go in for private paid tuition, only 10.5 per cent of government school students opt for private coaching in addition to school study in rural Andhra Pradesh.
Infrastructure: ASER representatives visited 649 schools in 22 districts, excluding Hyderabad which is completely urban. During their visit to schools they found 55.4 percent of the Class II children sitting along students of other classes as their schools lacked enough number of classrooms. About 54 per cent of Class V students were clubbed with students of other classes.
About 44 percent of the schools do not meet the norm of teacher:pupil ratio while 39 per cent of schools do not meet the pupil:classroom ratio. While 33 per cent of the schools have no playground, about 51 per cent have no boundary wall. About 53 per cent of schools do not have toilets and of those having toilets, 32 per cent have no separate toilets for girls. The only positive thing is about 98 per cent of the schools served mid-day meal to children on the day the ASER representatives visited the schools for sample collection. While the government has made education compulsory for children aged between six and 14 under the Right to Education Act, the report raises another concern: the dropout rate is very high (17 per cent) in the age group of 15 to 16 years.