The enrolment figures for children aged between six to fourteen years in the state of Maharashtra since the year 2008 has been greater than 98.5 percent. These numbers are in accordance to the eleventh ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) of Maharashtra which came out this Wednesday. In 2016 the enrolment went up to 99.1%, the same report went on to mention that the performance in reading of students in Maharashtra is superior to that of students in India as a whole, but a caveat is that their levels in arithmetic are lower than the reading levels.
This survey was conducted across 19,430 households, 973 villages and 33 rural districts all in the state of Maharashtra. Across India, this survey took into account over 562,305 students from 589 rural districts, 17,473 villages and 350,232 homes.
Another feather in the state’s cap is that the percentage of girls who are presently out of school in the age group of 15-16 is only 6.1% as opposed to the national figure which is 16.1%. From 2006-2016, about 20.5% of the children (6-14 years) registered in private schools across the country. However, in Maharashtra this number was 38.3%, which is a considerable increase.
The improved reading levels in the primary schools of Maharashtra can be attributed to the Pragat Shaikshanik Maharashtra program, according to the Principal secretary, School Education and Sports Department, Nand Kumar. The state encourages teachers at schools to make visits to the Kumthe village in Satara. This is done to observe the constructive methods of teaching being implemented by teachers there. There has also been significant success with activity-based learning systems according to Kumar. These best practices have even been lauded by being recommended by the National Curriculum Framework.
A key takeaway from this ASER report is that there has been no great improvement in the reading and arithmetic skills of students in the upper primary schools. A shocking 24.2% of Class VII students in Maharashtra can’t read Class II level text.
Vinod Tawde, the Education Minister of Maharashtra said that the state was training their teachers to make Math an easier and student friendly subject. This was being done by giving them various tools and techniques to create Math-based activities, he said when asked about the poor arithmetic levels.