Saturday, December 3, 2011

Arabic in Israel and Denmark

A September 2011 report in Aljazeera details Israel's plans to downgrade Arabic from an "Official language" to a "Language with special status". But as the report goes on to say:

"Because Israel has long neglected Arabic and its speakers, Zaher doesn't feel that downgrading the language's status will result in practical changes."

The news report gives several instances of discrimination against Arabic speakers. Do have a look.

Meanwhile, the last chapter of Multilingual education works: from the Periphery to the Centre (more November-2011-reading) asks, "But does this research knowledge translate into educational action? There seem to be three main trends..." (320), say the authors Kathleen Heugh and Tove Skutnabb-Kangas. The most negative of these is:

"Research results are completely ignored. Denmark is an example of this: despite authorities having had massive information, there are not even early-exit transitional programmes for immigrant minority children; most mother tongue as a subject teaching has been cut out, and the Minister of Education allows schools to forbid even the speaking of a minority language during breaks (in the latest case, in November 2009, Arabic, see (320)"

Israel's discrimination against Arabic seems very much a part of this pattern.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Language & education - current reading

Quite a lot of language-related reading to report. Prof Saeed Farani (visit his online bookstore alerted me to Speaking Like a State: Language and Nationalism in Pakistan by Alyssa Ayres. This is a good study of the divisive and exclusionary language policies of Pakistan, and what the country can learn from the language policies of India and Indonesia.

A reference there led me to "Language Policy and National Development in India" (2003) by Jyotirindra Dasgupta, an excellent account of language policy and politics. This essay (in a book called Fighting Words) was particularly interesting because it argues (among other things) that language conflict in India in fact has contributed to deepening democracy.

Meanwhile, IIIT's library acquired Probal Dasgupta's Inhabiting Human Languages: The Substantivist Visualization (2012) -- a stimulating essay on translation and Esperanto as key tools to democratize traffic between and within languages.

And then there are these studies (I reproduce the details from my email to the IIIT library):

1. S. Manoharan, V. Gnanasundaram, "Linguistic Identity of an Endangered Tribe Present Great Andamanese (Andaman and Nicobar Islands - India)" (2007), XVIII + 122, Rs 150

2. H. R. Dua, "Language Use, Attitudes and Identity Among Linguistic Minorities" (1986), V + 129,  Rs 34

3. Jennifer M. Bayer, "A Sociolinguistic Investigation of the English Spoken by the Anglo Indians in Mysore City" (1986), IX + 154, Rs 18

4. Jennifer M. Bayer, "Dynamics of Language Maintenance Among Linguistic Minorities (A Sociolinguistics Study of the Tamil Communities in Bangalore)" (1986), IX + 124, Rs 13

The address for ordering these is at the bottom of this page:

I'm currently reading the second in that list -- especially interesting since the linguistic minority Dua treats is "Dakkhani Urdu Speakers in Mysore". Much of what he says applies to just such speakers in Hyderabad (where I live).

More about these books in other posts.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Education in mother tongue essential - ASER

ASER, whom we've met several times in this blog, has a new report Inside Primary Schools: A study of teaching and learning in rural India (PDF). The study tracks about 30 000 children over a period of one year.

For about 10% of those children the school language was different from the home language. They consistently attend and learn less compared to the 90% for whom the school and home languages were the same (see Table 6.14 "Home/School language and children’s learning and attendance", p. 69).

As the authors - Suman Bhattacharjea, Wilima Wadhwa, and Rukmini Banerji - note:

"Children whose home language is different from the school medium of instruction face enormous additional problems at school. Given the lack of bridging mechanisms to enable a smooth transition from one language to the other, these children tend to attend school far less regularly. Whereas across both classes, about half of all children whose home language was the same as the school language were present in school on all three visits, this proportion is far lower among children whose home language was different from the school language (Table 6.14). Learning outcomes for these two groups of children are unequal to begin with and these differences accentuate over the course of one year, both in [class] 2 and in [class] 4." (pp. 68-69)

Here are the key findings of this report (p. 8):
  • 20% of children surveyed are first generation school goers. Less than half of all households have any print material available, so children do not have materials to read at home.
  • Children are learning in the course of a year, but even in states with the best learning outcomes, children’s learning levels are far behind what textbooks expect. At each grade level, children’s starting point is well below that of their textbooks.
  • Children whose home language is different than the school language of instruction learn less.
  • Attendance is the most important factor in children's learning.
  • The average number of children present in each classroom is low, but in most classrooms children from more than one grade are sitting together.
  • Child-friendly practices, such as students asking questions, using local examples to explain lessons, small group work, have a significant impact on children's learning.
  • Teachers can spot mistakes commonly made by children, but have difficulty explaining content in simple language or easy steps. Teacher characteristics such as qualification/degree, length of training, and number of years of experience make little difference to children’s learning.

And the key policy recommendations (p. 8):

  • Textbooks need urgent revisions. They need to start from what children can do and be more realistic and developmentally appropriate in what children are expected to learn, with clear learning goals and sequence.
  • Systems must be put into place to track attendance, not just enrollment, and ensure regular reporting and monitoring of this attendance.
  • Mother tongue instruction and programmes for language transition need to be introduced and expanded.
  • Teacher recruitment policies need to assess teachers' knowledge, but more importantly their ability to explain content to children, make information relevant to their lives and to use teaching learning materials and activities other than the textbook.
  • State teacher education plans should invest in the human resource capacity of academic support structures, like Block and Cluster Resource Centres (BRC/CRC) and District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET), to enable them to help improve teaching and learning quality via in-service training and classroom visits.
  • As per RTE [Right to Education Act], indicators for child-friendly education need to be defined and measured regularly as a part of the markers of quality.
  • Libraries, with take-home books for reading practice at the household level, should be monitored as part of RTE indicators. Family reading programmes could also be part of innovations to help support first generation school goers.
ASER studies and surveys have considerable impact. Let us hope some of these recommendations find their way into policy. As the study concludes:

"this study has provided a host of insights about influences on teaching and learning that can help align policy with what children need in order to learn well. As new provisions are put into place for teacher recruitment and training, student assessment and tracking, textbook content, and so on, we hope that these ideas will be debated vigorously and tested in practice."

Monday, October 10, 2011

PROBE revisited

Probe Revisited: A Report on Elementary Education in India (OUP 2011) is the book-length version of the study that was reported in The Hindu and Frontline in 2009 (I blogged about those reports here). As one of the partners of the study, CORD, says: "Despite a quantum leap in the number of children able to access schooling in the last 10 years, the situation continues to be dismal."

Just how dismal can be guaged from a 2010 Working Paper for Oxfam: Elementary Education in India: Progress, Setbacks, and Challenges. This document was co-authored by A. K. Shiva Kumar -- one of the authors of the PROBE report. As it says:

"Even today, despite progress, nearly all the problems admitted in 1950 are still waiting to be tackled. Physical infrastructure is inadequate, not all children are enrolled, retention is poor with girls lagging behind boys, drop-out rates remain high, children belonging to scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, and Muslim communities are largely excluded, inequalities persist, quality is poor, and learning achievements are low."

To the above list of old problems, the Working Paper adds the "de-professionalization" of teaching. "The last decade has witnessed large-scale appointment of local 'contract teachers' (shiksha karmis, shiksha mitras, para-teachers, etc.) at salaries far below those paid to permanent teachers in the same government schools. The survey found that contract teachers account for nearly 40 per cent of all teachers in government primary schools."

Disappointingly, nowhere does the Working Paper mention issues of medium of instruction as barriers to universal access and inclusion, especially for linguistic minorities. As we saw above, it notes the disproportionate exclusion of indigenous children (and other minorities), but does not even touch upon language policy in education. Let us hope that the book-length PROBE study notes the need for a mother-tongue based multilingual education.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How many English-speakers in India?

"How many English-speakers in India?" A member of the Esperanto discussion group UEA-Membroj had this question. He went on to say:

"Here's one of the web-pages: WolframAlpha. They assert that in India more than 18% of the inhabitants speak English. An absurd figure... Many years ago I read that [in India] only 0.1% of those appearing for the school-leaving examination succeed in passing in English...."

To which Probal Dasgupta replies: "The truth must lie somewhere between 0.1% and 18%.

Here's my take (in Esperanto):

Perhaps it might be useful to start with David Graddol's booklet English India Next (2010; there are also a couple of video-interviews with him on that page). See, especially, the section "How many speak English?" (pp. 66-68).

He gives some well-known numbers:

- Under 1%: National Knowledge Commission: Report to the Nation 2006-2009 (2009): "Indeed, even now, no more than one per cent of our people use it as a second language, let alone a first language." (p. 27)

- 3%: David Crystal, English As A Global Language (2003: 46): "A figure of 3%, for example, is a widely quoted estimate of the mid-1980s (e.g. Kachru (1986: 54))."

- 10.4%: Census of India 2001: David Graddol: "the 2001 census data (released in late 2009) reports that 10.4% of the population claimed to speak English as a second or third language" (in the book cited above. I haven't been able to find the relevant table on the census website.)

- 18%: the WolframAlpha website link above. Once again, I haven't been able to find this percentage. As far as I can see, that page gives only native-speaker figures.

- 20%: Encyclopedia Britannica (2002). Cited in Crystal 2003 (above, p. 46).

- 33%: An India Today survey (18 Aug 1997): "contrary to the census myth that English is the language of a microscopic minority, the poll indicates that almost one in three Indians claims to understand English, although less than 20% are confident of speaking it." Cited in Anderman and Rogers, Translation Today:
Trends and Perspectives
(2003: 160). The page in Google books:

The influential Crystal (2003, above: 47) cited this figure in a footnote ("A 1997 India Today survey reported by Kachru (2001: 411)" -- looks like Crystal himself hadn't seen the survey!). Now it began to be cited often. As far as I know, no one has confirmed or refuted the claims of this survey.

Thus it is that Graddol concludes: "No one really knows how many Indians speak English today - estimates vary between 55 million and 350 million - between 1% of the population and a third." (p. 68)

On the other hand, India's biggest school-education survey ASER (about which I've blogged before) in its 2010 report says that in rural India more and more children (6-14 year-olds) are registering in private schools (i.e. non-government, fee-paying and, for the most part, English-medium: the regional language is one of the subjects taught). The all-India figures of children in private schools grow from 16.3% of all children in 2005, to 21.8% (2009), to 24.3% in 2010. The growth has been particularly striking in South India.

So, during the coming years we will certainly see many more people whose medium of instruction in school was English. But if we ask ourselves about the quality of education, we get a rather different picture.

In government schools in rural India, in 2007, only 57% of the children in the 5th class (~ 10-year-olds) could read a class TWO textbook. In 2010, this proportion fell to 50% -- half of the children couldn't even read a class 2 text! And this was in the main regional language -- the mother-tongue for most of the children (excluding children of linguistic minorities and tribals).

In the same period, for rural private schools, this fall was from 69% to 64%. I wondered what language these private school children were tested in. On querying, ASER Centre, on Facebook clarified that "the children were tested at home. They were tested [in] the language of the state. In [a] multiple language situation the children were given an option of a language they felt comfortable in."

And yet, in private schools in 2010, over a third (36%) of class 5 children were already 3 years behind in their reading skills.

Confronted with such critical gaps, we perhaps should not expect very much by way of English-language capability in these children. Indeed, perhaps capability in any language.... :-(

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chotro 4 to showcase 800 languages

The following announcement was posted on the Iaclals Yahoogroup (which I moderate). I have not seen it yet elsewhere on the net, and am therefore posting the announcement in full. Three striking things about this Chotro:
  • No time in the known human history representatives of 800 natural languages have come together on a single platform. The World Language Meet and CHOTRO FOUR will no doubt be a major media story globally.
  • The time allotted for presentation of papers will be limited to 20 minutes; but there will be an audience of more than 500 for every presentation.
  • Since the Conference is about Intangible Heritage and Languages and Literature in Oral Traditions, or about Oral Traditions, Power Point Presentations will be discouraged.

No PowerPoint, but they do want  the full text of the papers by 15 November 2011. And they plan to publish the proceedings.

Incidentally, I've blogged before about one of the organizers, Ganesh Devy, who is coordinating the People's Linguistic Survey of India.

Here's the announcement:

January 6-8 2012
Vadodara, INDIA

Languages, Literature and Visual Arts of the Indigenous

Bhasha Research and Publication Centre

In association with

European Association for Commonwealth
Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS)

Call for Papers

In the past, Bhasha Research and Publication (BRPC) and the European association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS) have held three unconventional conferences in a format that has by now come to be recognized among academics and activists as Chotro.


is being convened at Vadodara, from the 6th to the 8th January 2012. It will be held side by side with the World Language Meet in which representatives of nearly 800 languages are expected to participate for presenting the survey of their own language(s)

BRPC and EACLALS now seek to initiate discussion on:
  • Culture and Development/ Culture for Development
  • Notions of the Intangible in Relation to Oral Traditions of Literature,
  • Traditional Knowledge of the Indigenous,
  • Threatened and Endangered Languages,
  • Semantics of Intern-generational Oral Communication,
  • Visual Anthropology of Indigenous Arts,
  • Aesthetics of Representation of Inheritance,
  • Oral Translations, Memory Based Performance Traditions,
  • Colonialism and Cultural Amnesia,
  • State Structures and Language Loss,
Towards this end, the organizers seek papers for presentations. All attempts will be made to have the presented papers published in theme based volumes through reputed publishing houses. Papers presented in previous Chotro conferences have been published by Orient Blackswan in two volumes, and are being published by Routledge in two further volumes. The length of papers should be not less than 4000 words and not more than 6000 words.


For registration in CHOTRO FOUR, scholars/ cultural activists should send by email the following information latest by the 31st July 2011 to;;

Gender ( necessary for proper allotment of accommodation)
Institutional Affiliation, if any
Title of the proposed paper
E-mail address and Telephone Number

Conference Fee:
There will be several categories of conference fee:
  • Overseas participants from Australia, Western Europe and North America: GBP 80/ Euro 120/ USD 150
  • Overseas participants from African Countries, South America and Eastern Europe: USD 80
  • Participants from South Asia: USD 50, Indian Rs. 2000
There will be no additional charges for accommodation and meals during the days of the Chotro. The Organizers will provide hotel accommodation on room sharing basis and all meals during the days of the Chotro.


A 200 word abstract of the paper proposed for presentation must be sent together with the mail indicating interest in participating Chotro. Acceptance of papers will be communicated latest by the 15th August 2011.


Full text of the paper will be expected by the 15th November 2011. Participants whose papers are short listed for publication will be informed about the theme of the volume and the publication details by the 15th January 2012. The full and revised text of the papers selected for publication will be expected by the 31st March 2012.


CHOTRO is not a formal association or organization. It is very much a voluntary effort to focus on the shared heritage and destiny of the indigenous of the world. Therefore, overseas participants are strongly advised to apply for Tourist Visa.

VADODARA (also spelt as BARODA) is situated approximately 400 kms north of Bombay (also spelt as MUMBAI) and 1000 kms south of New Delhi. The city is connected with Mumbai and Delhi by train and air. The nearest airport is 1km from the city and is named VADODARA. There is another airport at a sdistance of 140 kms at AHMEDABAD and inexpensive pick up taxies are easily available to ferry you to Vadodara.


No time in the known human history representatives of 800 natural languages have come together on a single platform. The World Language Meet and CHOTRO FOUR will no doubt be a major media story globally.

The time allotted for presentation of papers will be limited to 20 minutes; but there will be an audience of more than 500 for every presentation.

Since the Conference is about Intangible Heritage and Languages and Literature in Oral Traditions, or about Oral Traditions, Power Point Presentations will be discouraged.

Every participant will have an opportunity of listening to several hundred languages.

CHOTRO FOUR is designed as A NEVER BEFORE event.

Join us in the exciting work of providing voice to the voiceless!

K. K. Chakravarty
Bhasha Research and Publication Centre

Geoffrey Davis
European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies

Ganesh Devy
Founder, Adivasi Academy
Head, People’s Linguistic Survey of India

Friday, April 15, 2011

Education in Bihar - challenges

Following up on the Bihar Report which I'd blogged about in February, here is Rukmini Banerji's excellent essay "Challenging Bihar on Primary Education" (PDF) in EPW (12-18 March 2011). The style she adopts is an engaging one of analysis interspersed with anecdotal raportage.

Like the other report, she too readily acknowledges the strides the state has made: "It is evident that there has been a massive infusion of inputs into the system at a very fast pace. Government expenditure on elementary education has increased enormously, basic educational indicators like access and enrolment are rising and the student-teacher ratios are becoming more favourable." But is that enough? Is it resulting in better educational outcomes? Not yet, she says. And a big part of the problem is that the teachers themselves seem to be inadequately trained.

"The findings from the language tasks completed by teachers are equally sobering: less than 50% of teachers could meaningfully summarise a Standard 5 level text. Four difficult words from the Standard 4 level text were selected and teachers were asked to write the meaning of each word in simple language. Less than 50% of surveyed teachers could do this task correctly. When asked to write a few sentences, the teachers made several spelling mistakes."

She concludes:

"What do we see for primary education in the state in the future? There are massive challenges: there is political will at the top and there are aspirations and demands from below. It is the middle of the delivery system that is rusted and needs overhauling and repair. The need is to understand the nature of the rust in the system. Incentives need to be aligned to interests so that we see initiative and energy inside the system. Schools are being built, children's enrolment is rising, teachers are coming in but these must translate effectively into changed behaviours if they are to lead to big improvements in children’s attendance and substantive increases in learning levels."

Friday, March 25, 2011

English from class 1 in Andhra Pradesh

A somewhat alarming February-2011 report in Deccan Chronicle - "English medium proposed in all government schools" - has morphed into a March-25th report - "AP schools to teach English from Class 1". Let us hope that the latter report is not a preliminary to implementing the February announcement. It is fine to "introduce English as a second language from Class 1 in all government schools... from 2011-2012". (It is now being taught from class 6.) But introducing English as a medium of instruction is a bad idea. Here's why.

The state's education system finds it difficult enough to impart education in the mother-tongue. The state's performance in the ASER survey is fairly dismal:
  • only 60.3% of class 5 children (~ 11-year-olds) can read a class 2 text; nearly 40% cannot.
  • of class 5 children, 18.3% can recognize the numbers 11-99, but cannot do subtraction; 37.7% can subtract, but not do division; 40.5% of class 5 children can divide. Nearly 60% cannot.
Nor is the situation in private schools much better. ASER reports that between 2007-2010, in private schools, some 5-10% more children have been able to do the reading and arithmetic tasks mentioned above.

And all this is in the mother-tongue, Telugu.

(As in other parts of India, in AP too, indigenous/tribal and minority children get only the dominant regional language - in AP's case, Telugu - as the medium of education, except for the small fraction that can afford to send children to an "English-medium" school. Combined with all the other systemic problems, education in a non-mother-tongue results nation-wide in a third of the enrolled children being "pushed-out" before class 5. And in AP, within the first 10 years of schooling, 82% of indigenous children leave school. References in my 2010 paper in Languaging.)

To come back to private schools in AP, their only-slightly better performance hasn't stopped parents from choosing them. As ASER reports, "Between 2009 and 2010, the percentage of children (age 6-14) enrolled in private school has increased from 29.7% to 36.1% in Andhra Pradesh."

The March-2011 report in Deccan Chronicle gives even more disquieting figures: "the percentage of enrolment... in government schools... came down... from 82.48 to 55.72 [percent] in primary and upper-primary schools, while private school enrolment increased from 17.52 to 44.28 percent... [between] 1995-96 and 2009-10."

With the quality of education in Telugu being what it is, introducing English as a second language is hardly likely to make much of a difference. And making English the medium of instruction is likely to prove disastrous.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dialect of Hope - Article on Esperanto

The March issue of the magazine Channel 6 has an essay on Esperanto: "Dialect of Hope".

The authors, Majaz and Subbu, are university friends, now freelancing. They dropped by and spent a couple of hours learning about the language and the community. By the end of the session, Majaz was intrigued enough to give Esperanto a shot! I'll probably run into him some day in the Tujmesaĝilo (chatroom) at Lernu!. :-)

Do read their Dialect of Hope".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Language skills talk on IMLD

Yesterday - on the International Mother Language Day (IMLD) - I gave a talk on "language skills" to about 30 Technical Officers of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This one-and-a-half-hour session was at the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad. I kept coming back to IMLD throughout the talk.

On the question of language skills, I proposed three perspectives:
  • a long-term perspective on language and education (in the Indian context)
  • a medium-term view of Esperanto as a tool to think about language skills
  • a short-term list of useful web resources to improve language skills
The "long-term" section rehearsed some of the arguments of my Languaging paper. It dwelt on the kinds of structural issues that the PROBE (2006) and the ASER 2010 reports deal with: no teachers; and when there are, no teaching happening on the day the researchers visit; plus, in any case, not much learning happening - the poor quality outcomes that ASER highlights. Meanwhile, non-MT (mother tongue) education for children of linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples contributes to their high-rate of "push-out" (82% in Andhra Pradesh).

On the positive side, I mentioned the initiatives in Orissa and at Bhasha in Gujarat, which show that multilingualism works.

This section also touched upon the society-wide consequences of English as the medium of higher education in India: poor participation in higher education and poor skill-sets.

The next view on language skills introduced Esperanto briefly: idea, structure and community. I focused on the "global education" and "effective education" sections of the Prague Manifesto, arguing that Esperanto offered a means to high-level multilingualism, necessary in an age of globalization, and essential for peace-building and collective action in the face of transnational threats. Esperanto's effectiveness as a preparatory language for further language learning, and its role in "decolonising" the mind were also mentioned.

The short-term view on language skills rapidly listed a few useful websites: (multilingual) dictionaries, (specialist) encyclopedias, databases, writing and usage tools, and the like.

Since Esperanto was for this audience the most exotic part of the talk, I ended with Reto Rosetti's translation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

The talk was part of a course called "Personal excellence for professional development". As may be inferred from the report, I interpreted both terms widely, as the rather bemused listeners noted.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bihar education report

A new report from Patna, Bihar has some positive things to report on the state of education in that state. The report, due to be released by Amartya Sen on 4 February, is from Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Pratichi (West Bengal) and Centre for Economic Policies and Public Finance. The following is taken from a "curtain-raiser" in Indian Express; it gives a glowing report to the state government.

"The most startling finding is the phenomenal rise in children's enrolment in Classes VI to VIII, credited primarily to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar coming up with the idea of distribution of free school uniforms in Class V and bicycles for those getting into Class IX, along with midday meals. While earlier only girls were being given the free cycles, even boys are entitled to the same now.

"Parents and students vouch that while the government provides bicycles only from Class IX, it has boosted fresh enrolment from Class VI itself."

While the uniforms and bicycles have no doubt played a role, a more substantial statistic is that there is a "jump in the number of schools — there are now 114.3 schools for every one lakh people in the state, against just 60 three years ago."

The impact on vulnerable groups has been startling. As the ASER report for Bihar [PDF] shows, the proportion of "out-of-school" 11-14-year-old girls has fallen from 17.6% in 2006 to 9.7% (2007), 8.8% (2008), 6% (2009), to 4.6% (2010).

The most critical remark in the Express story is a last-sentence observation: "The report comes hard on the general status of the midday meal scheme, criticising the way it is run."

Friday, January 14, 2011

ASER 2010 released

From the ASER press release:

"Conducted every year since 2005, ASER is the largest annual survey of children in rural India. Facilitated by Pratham, ASER is conducted each year by local organizations and concerned citizens. In 2010, ASER reached 522 districts, over 14,000 villages, 3,00,000 households and almost 7,00,000 children."

For me, the really bad news is that teacher absenteeism is increasing and student attendance has not increased:

"The all India percentage of primary schools (Std 1-4/5) with all teachers present on the day of the visit shows a consistent decrease over three years, falling from 73.7% in 2007 to 69.2% in 2009 and 63.4% in 2010.

For rural India as a whole, children's attendance shows no change over the period 2007-2010. Attendance remained at around 73% during this period. But there is considerable variation across states."

Other key findings:
  • Enrollment: 96.5% of children in the 6 to 14 age group in rural India are enrolled in school.
  • Out of school girls: 5.9% of girls in the 11-14 age group are still out of school.
  • Rise in private school enrolment: Enrollment in private schools in rural India increased from 21.8% in 2009 to 24.3% in 2010.
  • Increasing numbers of five year olds enrolled in school: Nationally, the percentage of five year olds enrolled in schools increased from 54.6% in 2009 to 62.8% in 2010.
  • Nationally, not much change in reading ability, except in some states: Even after five years in school, close to half of all children are not even at the level expected of them after two years in school. Only 53.4% children in Std V could read a Std II level text.
  • Math ability shows a declining trend: On average, there has been a decrease in children’s ability to do simple mathematics.
  • Middle school children weak in everyday calculations: About two thirds of all children could answer questions based on a calendar and only half could do the calculations related to area.
  • Tuition going down for private school children: A clear decrease is seen in the incidence of tuition among children enrolled in private schools across all classes up to Std VIII.
  • RTE compliance: ASER 2010 found that over 60% of the 13,000 schools visited satisfied the infrastructure norms specified by the RTE. However, more than half of these schools will need more teachers. A third will need more classrooms.
More on the ASER website.