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Quality of rural primary education declines despite RTE
According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) of Pratham, an NGO, the levels of learning in rural elementary school students have further deteriorated in 2012 despite the Right to Education Act (RTE) being in force since 2010.

The ASER report released by Human Resource Development Minister M M Pallam Raju on Thursday reveals that the overall learning outcomes of elementary school students in India continue to be low and student’s abilities to read simple text and do basic arithmetic operations have declined since 2010.

Despite better norms and provisions under RTE, the study informs that 53.2 per cent children in 2012 in grade five could not read grade two language textbook. In 2010, this figure stood at 46.3 per cent of all primary school children in India.

As for as mathematics is concerned, about 10 per cent decline in the ability to do basic subtraction in almost all states was observed as compared the figure in 2010. It has also been found that about three-fourth children studying in grade five were unable to do simple division in mathematics in 2012.

I think that our education system has been planned to fail as there is utter lack of professionalism both at the levels of teachers and administrators of education. The schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and RTE Act have not been able to deliver despite heavy investment in education. It is not the students that have failed, it the system that has failed since researches have proved that all children can learn if the learning environment and pedagogical processes are conducive.

After all, bad inputs produce bad outcomes without a dynamic corrective feedback and support system. Are educational policy makers and planners taking note?

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