Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Karnataka worse than Bihar

Karnataka worse than Bihar


Karnataka worse than Bihar

By Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy & Ashvini Ranjan

Karnataka is at the bottom of the performance tables based on tests
conducted to measure reading

In Karnataka 53 per cent of children between the ages of 7 to 10 years attending schools in villages (private and government) cannot read even a simple small paragraph (level 1) and 72.5 per cent cannot read a story (level 2). Of the same age group, 60 per cent cannot solve numerical sums of subtraction and a whopping 91 per cent cannot do a division (3 digits divided by 1 digit).

These shocking statistics were revealed during a recent survey initiated by Pratham and completed between November 14 and December 20, 2005 by about 20,000 volunteers in 485 districts covering 9521 villages and 3,32, 971 children across the country. The ASER survey results have been presented to Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Karnataka, which takes pride in having the maximum number of high-tech firms in India, is at the bottom of the performance tables based on tests conducted to measure reading and arithmetic abilities of children. While the all-India statistics is appalling, Karnataka’s statistics is shocking. We rank well below Bihar. While in Bihar only 29 per cent of children attending Standard V cannot read at level-2, in Karnataka it is 49.4 per cent. In the case of solving division problems, in Bihar 39 per cent of children attending Standard V cannot solve division problems, it is 76 per cent for Karnataka. While in India where we want to usher in our own industrial revolution based on knowledge industry why is there such an indifference?

Umpteen high-level committees have taken a look at the sorry state of affairs in our education sector over the years. Intellectually challenging reports with high sounding recommendations have been submitted by them. Still we have not made any significant improvement in universalising education. However there were some bright facts revealed by ASER. Of the children between the ages of 6 to 14, only 2.9 per cent have dropped out and 3.7 per cent have never enrolled at the all-India level. Thus we have made a quantum leap in enrolling children. But what about the quality of education they are receiving in school?

India already spends Rs 60,000 crore annually towards elementary education. The Planning Commission has promised to spend more money on the latest scheme known as Serva Sikshana Abhiyan. We wonder if spending more money by itself will solve the problem. Today, in Karnataka teachers in government schools are paid four to six times the salary of teachers of private schools. Government school teachers are given regular training and have access to teaching resource materials. In some respects, many government school teachers hired in recent years are better qualified than teachers in private schools. Still it is difficult to find a single government teacher who would like to send his or her child to a government school.

The School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) was one of the best strategies developed in recent years to improve education in our school. During our survey work, we have found out how that strategy has failed in most places because of total politicisation and indifference on the educated people to stay away. All of us know how our examination system is totally obsolete and corrupting the system. But we as a society have failed to come up with an alternative way. What we need is a total revolution in our education system. To usher in such a revolution we are suggesting the four policy decisions to be adapted by our government. All of them look simple and straightforward. However if there is general awakening in the society as a result of one more survey like the one by ASER, we should be able to implement these reforms.

There should be an independent body to evaluate the teacher performance at every district level. Teachers’ promotion and increments should be based on the evaluation by the independent bodies. Every effort should be made to keep politics as far as possible from these institutions. Teachers should not be transferred from place to place. It should be made mandatory that every government teacher send his or her child to government schools.

Education management should be decentralised as envisaged by 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution.

Each city, taluk or group of villages should have an autonomous education body with full financial and operating responsibilities and as well as authority to manage educational institutions under them. We need to completely dismantle the current dysfunctional top heavy and bureaucratic education system.



March 1, 2008 - Posted by | Schools in Karnataka State

1 Comment »

  1. awesome………………

    very nice research done very informative

    good work

    Comment by monica | July 18, 2008 | Reply

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