ASER 2014 reveals alarming decline in reading levels & ability to do sums
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, April 16: Despite the Tarun Gogoi government trumpeting its achievements in the education sector and implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the poor reading levels and grasp of mathematics among government school students reveal the overall alarming standards of school education in the State. This is forcing students to flock increasingly to private schools for better education and all-round persolity development.
Most of the lower and upper primary schools across the State do not have the required student-teacher ratio of 30:1, mandatory under the RTE Act. Sources said scarcity of teachers in these schools has become acute due to huge number of teaching posts lying vacant. This in turn is putting the proper implementation of RTE Act under jeopardy.
In lower primary and upper primary schools and government colleges in the State, 15,921 posts of teachers are currently lying vacant. It is really surprising that the Education department, one of the important departments of the State government employing a huge workforce, hasn’t put much stress on filling the vacant posts of teachers.
Although shortage of teachers in government schools has been mitigated to an extent by recruiting TET-passed candidates, 15, 921 vacant posts of teachers are still a matter of concern.
According to official records, of the 77,844 sanctioned posts in 40,355 lower primary schools across the State, 8,652 posts are currently lying vacant; of the 52,375 sanctioned posts in 7,646 upper primary schools, 6,812 posts are now lying vacant and of the 12,058 sanctioned posts in 295 colleges, 457 posts are lying vacant.
According to the 10th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2014, the basic reading levels among government school students continue to be extremely disheartening in Assam. There has been a visible decline in reading levels over the last 5-6 years. Performances of school students in Mathematics too continues to be a major source of concern, the report stated.
“In Assam, around 31.1 per cent of class-III students can only read the text of class-I. Around 34.9 per cent of class-V students in the State can only read the text of class-II,” the report stated.
How can the students be attracted to government educatiol institutions in such a situation? The tragedy is that many of them fall victim to private schools mushrooming all over the State, many of them of dubious credentials and charging very high fees.