New Delhi: Children in government schools in rural areas have poorer mathematical skills compared to those in private schools, says the Annual Status of Education Report by NGO Pratham.

As the right to education act completes two years, the report from the NGO shows that overall, at least 7.5 percent children studying in class III across India’s rural areas cannot even recognize 1-9 digits while the proportion of Std III children being able to solve a 2 digit subtraction problem with borrowing has dropped from 36.3 percent in 2010 to 29.9 percent in 2011 says the report released Sunday.

Sadly, while there are 20 percent such students in private schools, the number just doubled for government schools with 40 percent students in class III not being able to recognize numbers.

The reports also says that among the class III students, 26.9 percent can recognize numbers up to 9 but not more, 35.7 percent can recognize numbers to 99 but cannot do subtraction and 23.2 percent can do subtraction but not division.

Nearly 75 percent of government school students of class V cannot do division, while this percentage is a little more than 60 percent for private schools.

“Basic arithmetic levels show a decline. Nationally, the proportion of Std III children able to solve a 2 digit subtraction problem with borrowing has dropped from 36.3 percent in 2010 to 29.9 percent in 2011,” the report says.

This decline is visible in almost every state except Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which show improvements and Gujarat which shows no change in arithmetic.

As far as reading skills are concerned, the all India figure for the proportion of children in Std V being able to read a Std 2 level text has dropped from 53.7 percent in 2010 to 48.2 percent in 2011.

Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu have however fared better than 2010. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh numbers remain unchanged from last year.

As per the report, overall, in class III, 8.5 percent children cannot even read letters, 22.9 percent can read letters but not more, and 28.4 percent can read words but not class I text or higher.

Once again, these figures differ in government and private schools. In private schools, it is around 38 percent and in government schools, nearly 56 percent.

The report adds: “What is shocking is the bottom line for reading, which is that 75 percent of children (3 out of every 4) who do not acquire reading or arithmetic mastery at the “grade appropriate” level, don’t acquire it in the following year either.”

Source: IANS