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Situation with basic reading ‘extremely disheartening’ in India: Report

“In 2014, in Standard (Class) 3, only a fourth of all children can read a Standard 2 text fluently. This number rises to just under half in Standard 5. Even in Standard 8, close to 75 percent children can read Standard 2 level text (which implies that 25 percent still cannot),” said the 10th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2014).

The report, facilitated by NGO Pratham, is the largest annual household survey of children in rural India that focuses on the status of schooling and basic learning.

It however added that some very small improvements in reading were visible in the last few years.

“The proportion of Standard 5 children who can at least read a Standard 2 level text has inched upwards from 46.8 percent in 2012 to 47 percent in 2013 and to 48.1 percent in 2014. 38.7 percent of Standard 3 children could read at least a Standard 1 level text in 2012. This number is slightly higher at 40.2 percent in 2014,” the report added.

But, Tamil Nadu has shown “major gains” in reading over last year for standard 5, the report said. School enrolment in India was close to universal enrolment for the age group 6-14, with the percentage of children enrolled in school at 96 percent or above for six years in a row.

In 2014, 30.8 percent of all 6-14-year-old children in rural India were enrolled in private schools. “This number is up slightly from 29 percent in 2013,” the report said.

Maths however continued to be a “serious and major source of concern”. “The all India (rural) figures for basic arithmetic have remained virtually unchanged over the last few years. In 2012, 26.3 percent of Standard 3 children could do two digit subtraction. This number is at 25.3 percent in 2014.
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