Primary school students are still struggling with basic literacy and numeracy, finds ASER Survey 2018, though there is a slight improvement. The percentage Class 3 children, who can read
Class 2 level text, increased from 21.6 per cent in 2013 to 27.2 per cent in 2018.
The corresponding number for the proportion of children who can at least do subtraction in 2018 is 28.1 per cent. This is slightly up from 27.6 per cent in 2016.
This shows how in Class 3, only a quarter of all children are 'ready' for the grade in which they are currently in, says Rukmini Banerji, Chief Executive Officer, Pratham Education Foundation that publishes the report.
There is a slight improvement in government schools in Class 5 as well. In Grade 5, the percentage of children who could read a Class 2 level text shows an improvement in 2018 at 44.2 per cent. It was 41.7 per cent in 2016 but was 50.7 per cent in 2010.
Only 22 per cent of students of Class 5 can do division. The highest proportion of these children in Class 5 is in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab at 50 per cent.
Nationally, 50 per cent of all boys in the age group 14 to 16 can correctly solve a division problem as compared to 44 per cent of all girls. However, in a few states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, girls performed better than boys in solving mathematical problems.
Comparing the productivity of government and private schools, it is the former that has declined overall and the latter is more or less constant. In 2018, 65 per cent of Class 5 students in private schools could read a Class 2 text. This was 68 per cent in 2008 and 61 per cent in 2012.
India is close to achieving 'schooling for all'. Banerji says, "Now is the time to make 'learning for all' a national priority so we can move beyond this year's ASER headlines into meaningful action."
ASER 2018 is a nation-wide household survey of children across rural India in the age group 3 to 16 to understand their basic reading and arithmetic abilities.