According to the recent Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, it has been observed that in overall, students from Zila Parishad Schools made their way ahead of the private school students at foundational skills such as reading, arithmetic. The report shows that 44.2 percent of children in Zila Parishad schools can read Class 2 text as compared to only 33.6 percent of students in private schools.
It was also observed that the primary schools in Maharashtra have been way more ahead at improving the national average of the Education report at assessing foundational skills. Maharashtra’s performance in the survey is above the national average on a majority of the parameters. The national average for children who can read the alphabet and more is 46.8 percent whereas the average stands at 66.2 percent in Maharashtra.
However, the progress of children in upper primary has not registered much change. As many as 19.8 percent children of Class 8 could not read Class 2 text. This means one-fifth of the surveyed children are not ready for higher education. Arithmetic proficiency is worse, found the survey.
In Class 5, 66 percent of students in Zila Parishad schools could read a story from the Class 2 curriculum, a jump from 51.7 percent in 2014. In Class 5, 30.2 percent of children could solve division problems, compared to 20.percentnt in 2016.
Enrolment of children in schools has also increased among students aged between 6 and 14 from 98.5 percent in 2008 to 99.2 percent this year. Compared to 18.3 percent of children in 2006 (6 to 14 years), 37.6 per cent have enrolled for private education. Vasant Kalpande, retired director of education, said government schools should be strengthened. “In case of higher classes conducted by secondary schools, governed by either private-aided or unaided institutions, there is negligence on part of the government. The government does not pay any non-salary grant to government schools that also have numerous vacancies for headmasters and teachers. The administrative machinery is weak as many posts such as education extension officer, block development officer are vacant. These need to be filled on a priority basis.”
This year’s survey covered children in 33 districts, 990 villages and 19,765 households. As many as 14 social organisations and 21 colleges and universities in the state took part in the survey.