Learning levels in Govt schools plummet

ASER 2018 paints dismal picture of education in Sikkim in recent years

Gangtok, 19 Feb:

The Annual Status of Education Report [Rural] 2018 paints a dismal picture of education being imparted in government schools in the State which has been showing a downward trend on many indicators.

According to the report, which was released on 15 Jan 2019, the percentage of children studying in Class V who can read Class II level text in English has been consistently dropping from 61.6% in 2012 to 41.7% in 2018.

The percentage of Class V students who can do division has in turn fallen drastically from 43.8% in 2012 to 12.5% in 2018!

Even the percentage of Class VIII students who can read a Class II level text has dropped from 93.4% in 2012 to 78.9% in 2018.

ASER 2018 is a nation-wide household survey that provides a snapshot of children’s schooling and learning for a representative sample of children across rural India. Children in the age group 3 to 16 are surveyed to find out their enrollment status in school or pre-school. Children in the age group 5 to 16 are assessed one-on-one to understand their basic reading and arithmetic abilities. ASER continues to be the only national source of information about children’s foundational skills across the country.

In learning assessments conducted for ASER in Sikkim, it was found that only 16% of Class I students could read Class I level text and only 25.3% of Class II students could read Class II level texts. Moreover, 18.1% of Class VIII students could only read upto Class I level text.

In another segment of the survey,in which the progress of four groups of Class IV students was tracked till they reached Class VIII, a consistent dropin progress was recorded.

Class IV students were tested on their ability to read Class II level texts till they reached Class VIII. Approximately 36% of Class IV students in 2008 could read Class II level text and by the time they reached Class VIII in 2012, 93.5% of them could read Class II level text.

However,over the years, there has been a consistent drop in the progress made by Class IV students till they reach Class VIII.

Around 91% of those in Class IV in 2010could read Class II level text when they reached Class VIII in 2014.

Among those in Class IV in 2012,only around 86% could read Class II level text when they reached 2016.

In the next batch of 2014 Class IV students, only around 78% could read Class II level text by the time they reached Class VIII in 2018.

This drop in progress from 93.5% in 2012 to 78% in 2018 is a significant one.

Even in assessment for Arithmetic ability, the trends over time are worrying.

The percentage of Class V students who can do division has fallen from 43.8% in 2012 to 12.5% in 2018.

The percentage of Class VIII students who can do division has also dropped from 77.4% in 2012 to 44.7% in 2018.

When it comes to facilities available in schools, Sikkim does fairly well except for the lack of libraries and computers. In 2018, 47.7% of schools in the State did not have libraries while 66.4% of schools did not have computers available for children to use.

Percentage of schools with computers and children observed using them on day of visit by ASER surveyors has decreased from 24.6% in 2010 to 9.4% in 2018.

Sikkim allocates 20% of its annual budget to education and there are still schools without libraries or computers.

The report also states that percentage of Class II students sitting with one or more classes has increased from 9% in 2010 to 23.8% in 2018. Class IV students sitting with one or more classes has also increased from 9.2% in 2010 to 20.4% in 2018.

Out of the four districts, the performance of South district is comparatively better than other districts. In Class III to V learning levels, the percentage of children who can read Class II level text is the highest at 46% in South Sikkim with the lowest in West district at 33.3%.

In Class VI to VIII learning levels, the percentage of children who can read Class II level text is the highest at 77.1% in South district while the lowest is 29.3% in West Sikkim.

The 2018 ASER survey was conducted in all four districts of the State wherein 2,606 children aged between 3-16 years were tested on various aspects.

You can get the entire report at www.asercentre.org