Skip to main content

World Bank: India's learning level worse than Uganda, Nepal, Iraq, 80% class 2 children can't read a word, subtract


By Our Representative
In what could be the eye-opener for India’s top education policy makers, a World Bank flagship report on education has expressed serious concern over the fact that India lags behind such “backward” countries such as Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Liberia, Yemen, Nepal, Morocco, Iraq and Nicaragua in learning skills at the primary school level.
The report finds that more than 80 per cent of Grade 2 students in India “could not read a single word of a short text”, nor could they “perform two-digit subtraction.” Titled “World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise”, and released this September, the report finds that things fail to improve even later:
“In rural India, just under three-quarters of students in grade 3 could not solve a two-digit subtraction such as 46 – 17, and by grade 5 half could still not do so”, it says.
“In rural India in 2016, only half of grade 5 students could fluently read text at the level of the grade 2 curriculum, which included sentences (in the local language) such as ‘It was the month of rains’ and ‘There were black clouds in the sky’”, insisting, “These severe shortfalls constitute a learning crisis.”
“Students often learn little from year to year, but early learning deficits are magnified over time”, the 240-page report underlines, adding, “Students who stay in school should be rewarded with steady progress in learning, whatever disadvantages they have in the beginning”, and yet, in India low-performing students in grade 5 were found “no more likely to answer a grade 1 question correctly than those in grade 2.”
“Even the average student in grade 5 had about a 50 percent chance of answering a grade 1 question correctly – compared with about 40 percent in grade 2”, the report says, adding, even in the capital, New Delhi, “The average grade 6 student performed at a grade 3 level in math. Even by grade 9, the average student had reached less than a grade 5 level, and the gap between the better and worse performers grew over time.”
Pointing out that “in rural India in 2016, less than 28 percent of students in grade 3 could master double-digit subtraction”, the report says, one reason for poor learning level is, “The curriculum has been designed for the elite. Teachers and textbooks focus on advanced topics that are of little use in helping struggling students. These students then fall even further behind – eventually so far that no learning whatsoever takes place.”
Suggesting that teacher indifference could be another reason, the report says, “In India, excess teacher absenteeism in the public sector is estimated to cost US$1.5 billion a year.” It adds, “If teacher accountability systems were more strongly aligned with learning, teacher attendance would improve, allowing the system to achieve higher levels of learning at the same cost.”

Unhealthy politics intensified misalignment of education 

While the report primarily deals with school learning, it also gives the example of how “unhealthy politics can intensify misalignments in education systems”, giving the example of Vyapam scam of Madhya Pradesh.
The scam into the entrance tests by government-run professional examination board in Madhya Pradesh for admission into courses such as medicine and for recruitment into state government jobs such as the police came to light in 2013, the report asserts.
It recalls, an independent probe “exposed a potential multibillion-dollar scheme in which senior politicians and government officials had allegedly set up a system allowing unqualified candidates to pay bribes, often to middlemen, to receive high rankings in entrance tests.”

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.