59 of Class 5 Students can’t read Class II Test

Prelims level : Education Mains level : GS 2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
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  • Nearly 59% of Class V students and 89% of Class III students are unable to read a Class II-level textbook in rural Tamil Nadu, the findings of the ASER 2018 survey have indicated. Even at their grade, the results indicate a huge gap in learning levels — 96% of students in Class II are unable to read a text meant for their level.


  • In a district-wise analysis of the data, Tiruvallur and the Nilgiris have more than 50% of their rural students from Class VIII struggling to read a text meant for Class II.
  • The survey was carried out among 20,435 students to test their basic reading and arithmetic skills. Additionally, norms and standards prescribed by the Right To Education Act have also been included and in this aspect, Tamil Nadu has scored above the national average in terms of school facilities for students.
  • Oliver, State Head of Pratham Education Foundation, said that Tamil Nadu had continued to show consistently positive trends over the years with regard to enrolment and attendance. “From 10% of students who were out of school in 2010, the numbers have decreased to 2.3% in 2018,” he said. The national average for the same is 13.1% in the age group of 15-16-year olds.
  • The survey report has additionally indicated that there has been an overall improvement in learning levels in government schools.
  • Results over the last few years with regard to reading and arithmetic skills in government and private schools have thrown up contrasting trends.
  • For instance, while 72.9 % of the students in government schools cannot do division in Class V, the number is much higher in private schools, with 77% unable to do so.
  • Similarly, in Class V, 53.7% of children in a government school cannot read a Class II level story whereas in private schools, 71.2% of students were not able to do so.

Better implementation:

  • “While the activity-based learning system which the School Education Department encourages is a good thing, there should be better implementation of it across schools. In many institutions, it is taken for granted that the textbooks alone are enough and the methods of teaching the books specify isn’t questioned,” said Christuraj, State Advocacy Coordinator of Samakalvi Iyakkam.
  • “We’ve observed that students who enter Class IX are often unable to absorb the sudden jump in the curriculum. Their reading skills are generally not up to the mark and they find it tough to cope — at least initially.
  • However, the new syllabus for Class VI, which was introduced this year, many of us felt, would help prepare the students better,” said G.D. Babu of Tamil Nadu Asiriyar Munnetra Kazhagam.

About ACER:

  • ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) is an annual survey that aims to provide reliable annual estimates of children’s schooling status and basic learning levels for each state and rural district in India. It is the largest citizen-led survey in India, and is also the only annual source of information on children’s learning outcomes available in India today.
  • When we started ASER in 2005 we made a commitment to do it every year and we did it annually for 10 years till 2014. This is because we think for data to feed into policy it has to be reliable, comparable and available on a regular basis.
  • In 2015, ASER took a year off to reflect and consolidate the learnings from the last 10 years. However, even today learning levels remain low and ASER remains the only source of comparable and regularly available data on learning in the public domain. Therefore, we re-started ASER in 2016.
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