Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Annual Status of Education Report
Mains level: State of Indian education system and measures required for improvisation
- The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 published by education non-profit Pratham shows the prevalence of learning deficit and the poverty of basic reading and arithmetic skills among students in Indian schools.
What does the ASER 2018 report say?
- The report shows that Indian students, especially those in elementary school (Classes I-VIII), are not learning enough.
- To cite a metric, only half (50.3%) of all students in Class V can read texts meant for Class II students.
- There seems to have been some improvement in learning levels, especially among students of Class III and Class V, in 2018 compared with those of the previous five years.
- However, the improvement is not visible at a higher level, for example among students of Class VIII.
- The latest report collected data from 596 districts by surveying 546,527 students from 354,944 homes.
Is this learning deficit prevalent only in government schools?
- The deficit is across government and private schools.
- Traditionally, students in private schools have fared better than their government school counterparts, but that’s a relative situation.
- For example, while 40% of Class VIII students in government schools can do simple division, the figure is 54.2% in private schools.
- But this success rate is three percentage points below that of 2012 and the same as in 2014.
- Private school students are believed to have better family background, both in economic and education front.
Why is learning level in schools important?
- The quality of the learning level bears directly on India’s future workforce, its competitiveness and the economy.
- India’s demographic dividend depends on the learning level of students.
Are learning levels improving in government schools?
- There is gradual improvement in some segments and in some states.
- The reading ability among Class V students in Kerala jumped 10 percentage points in 2018 from that in 2016.
- In Himachal Pradesh, the growth is nearly 8 percentage points and in Chhattisgarh and Odisha it is around 7 percentage points between 2016 and 2018.
- Still, data from states such as Jharkhand, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu shows a marginal dip in the same criterion for the same cohort.
Do private schools have more students?
- The situation has been almost static in the last five years.
- While 30.9% of students in the 6-14 age group were in private schools in 2018, the figure was 30.6% in 2016 and 30.8% in 2014.
- This is less than a percentage point growth since 2014.