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Maths Greek to rural 5th graders
64 pc of them can't divide; 40 pc can't read
New Delhi, January 15
With almost half of Class V children in rural India three grades behind in learning levels than where they should be and 64 per cent unable to divide, quality
of school learning remains the single biggest challenge for the government, working to notify the Right to Education Act.
Enrollment is not a worry, as 96 per cent students aged 6 to 14 are in schools; of these, only 22 per cent study privately.
Attendance, however, is an issue in government primary schools, where only 75 per cent students are present on a given day, except in six states, including
Kerala, Karnataka and Himachal where attendance is over 90 per cent.
Reading and maths abilities of primary students remain poor and have declined in comparison to 2008. While the all-India
percentage for all Class V rural students, who can read class II text, has declined from 56.2 per cent to 52.8; those in the same grade in government schools
who can do divisions has plummeted from 41 per cent in 2007 to 36.1 now.
Almost 64 per cent Class V government school students in India can't do divisions; only 56.3 per cent can do subtractions.
The situation is no better for private schools. The percentage of children in Class V in government schools, who can read Class II text, has in fact been
stagnant at 50 for four years now.
In reading, only Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Punjab have shown some improvements. But none has come through in students'
math abilities. Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir are at the bottom here, with 12 and 17 per cent Class V students, respectively, able to do divisions. Madhya
Pradesh and Himachal are the best in India in the reading/math category, with 65 per cent and 63 per cent Class V government schoolers, respectively, able to
A major finding of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) put out today by Pratham, which surveyed 575 out of 583 rural
districts, is the marginal drop in out of school children aged 11 to 14 -- from 4.3 per cent last year to 4 now.
Girls' enrollment in the same group has improved in eight states (Rajasthan, UP,
Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattisgarh and Gujarat) where 10 per cent girls were out of school in 2006. Bihar has fared the best - it had 17.6 per
cent girls out of school in 2006; it now has 6 per cent.
Sadly, Punjab and Andhra are the only states with more girls out of school now than last year. In Punjab, as against 5 per
cent girls not studying in 2008, there are 6.3 per cent out of school now. Also, school education here remains one of the most privatised, with 30.3 per cent 6
to 14 year-olds attending private schools. The most privatised education is in Kerala, where 51.5 per cent children study privately, along with Haryana (41 per
cent private students), J&K (32), UP (36), Rajasthan (30.4) and Uttarakhand (24.7). The lowest private component is in Orissa (4.4 per cent) and Bihar (5
The survey also confirms a steep rise in paid private tuitions. Among government schoolchildren, the percentage of students
taking tuitions rises with grades - from 17.1 for Class I to 31 for Class VIII. In private schools, 23.3 per cent take private tuitions from Class I, the
percentage peaking to 30 in Class IV.
Children in West Bengal are the most into tuitions, with 90 per cent Class 8 graders paying to get taught. For both government
and private schools, percentage of students taking tuitions has risen from 12 (in 2007) to 17.1 now for government and from 19.5 per cent to 23.3 per cent over
two years for private schools.
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Jan 20 10 7:19 PM
Amending the taxi permit rules that has given another dimension to migrant politics in the state since new migrants cannot now get taxi permits, the
government however clarified that existing taxi drivers, who hold a valid license, would not be affected by the decision.
A decision to frame the new rules that could stoke a controversy was taken a meeting of the state cabinet presided by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
"It has been decided that henceforth licenses will be issued to only those taxi drivers who have been a resident of the state for at least 15 years
and can read and write Marathi," an official from the Chief Minister's office said.
The Bombay Taximen's association, the oldest in the city, quickly condemned the decision with its secretary A L Quadros saying it was unacceptable and
A sizeable section of over two lakh taxi drivers in Mumbai consists of migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand and the decision could have an
adverse fallout on those from these states wanting to earn a living driving taxis. About 4,000 new taxi permits are given each year.
"There is an attempt to make it (Taxi services) an organised sector and the drivers who will be employed in it should know Marathi, read Marathi and
write Marathi. Such is the proposal of the government," Chavan told reporters.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray had been in the forefront of an anti-migrant campaign in the state last year and had come in for severe criticism from several
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Are you proud of the following story in BBC today?
God bless Bharat.
Some 800 farmers have reportedly ended their lives in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala this year.
Most of the suicides have been linked to poverty, debt, a sharp rise in costs and the failure of crops because of pest attacks.
Some 200,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997.
Drought, a fall in crop prices and an increase in the cost of cultivation are cited as reasons for the farmers' plight.
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