Primary schools not child-friendly: Survey

New Delhi: Primary schools in India are not child-friendly, a survey said Friday, even as the right to education (RTE) is lauded for increasing enrolment of students.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) launched here, covers five states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. It monitored the education process in nearly 900 schools with around 30,000 students.

“Around 850 hours of classroom observations demonstrate that most primary schools are not child-friendly at all,” said the ASER report prepared in collaboration with UNICEF and UNESCO.

“Teachers use some kind of teaching and learning material other than the textbook in less than one out of every 10 classrooms,” it added.

Classroom absenteeism was found to be a major issue in the longitudinal study that tracked the teaching methodology over a period of 15 months in the academic year 2009-10.

Infrastructure, enrolment and attendance are taken into account, the report stated.

“In standard 4, less than one-fourth of all children could do a numerical three-digit subtraction problem with borrowing. The biggest challenge that surfaced in the survey was how to guarantee age-appropriate education to children,” the report mentioned.

“We seem to be going wrong with the dwindling headcount in schools even though the enrolment is high on paper, and the quality of education that is not considered,” said R. Govinda, vice chancellor of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration.

“There is a long-term engagement needed with teachers to make the schools child-friendly in India,” Govinda added.

Of the over 11,000 children tested in standard 5, only 3 out of 10 children were able to fluently read a standard 3-level text.

Twenty percent of children surveyed were first generation school-goers, while less than 50 percent of households had any study material available for children.



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