New Delhi: An NGO’s report has revealed that though more children may have been enrolled in schools because of the Right To Education, most of those passing out of class 8 cannot do basic mathematics. As many as a quarter of them cannot even read, said the report by NGO Pratham. (Also read: Why do Children Fail?)

Pratham’ Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 said there’s been little improvement in learning over the past few years and the data corroborates the finding. For instance,
56% of students in Class 8 can’t divide a 3-digit number with a single-digit one and 72% students in Class 5 can’t do division. In short, this is worse than what it was a decade ago.
In 2008, 37% of Class 5 students could do basic maths while less than 28% can do it today but that is wee bit better than the 2016 figures when only 26% could.

As far as reading skills are concerned, school kids are struggling, said the report. One out of four children is leaving Class 8 without basic reading skills. While 84.8% students of Class 8 could read Class 2-level texts in 2008, the number has dropped to 72.8% in 2018.

The picture only gets bleaker; only 44% of all girls could solve division problems compared with 50% of the boys. But girls in states like Himachal, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were doing well. The data for the report was collected from 596 rural districts across 28 states, covering 3.5 lakh households and 5.5 lakh children in the age group of 3 to 16 years.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has also asked the Centre to assist in hearing a PIL on Right To Education. “This is a very, very good petition,” said the bench while perusing the plea filed by ‘Akhil Delhi Prathmik Shikshal Sangh’, a registered society of primary teachers, seeking relief, including implementation of the right to education of children aged between six to 14 years.

However, the bench said that it had reservations whether issuing notices to all 36 states and Union territories (UTs) on the PIL would be the proper course of action and sought the assistance of the Attorney General in the matter.