Saturday, January 13, 2007

Keep the focus on schools

Remember this post about Pratham's large scale survey of learning outcomes mastered by our rural children? The report is available online, the key findings are summarized, mapped and tabulated in Chapters 5 and 6. In particular, the maps are full of surprises!

Some of the key findings:

In the 7-10 year age group, national enrollment stands at 95.3%. In most states except Rajasthan, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Arunachal and Meghalaya enrollment in 6-10 age group is above 95%.

In the 11-14 year age group, national enrollment stands at 91.1%. In most states except Rajasthan, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh enrollment is above 90%.

13.5 % of 14 year old children are not in school and an additional 14.4% of those that are in school are studying in Std 6 or lower. This means that over 25% children who were 10 years old when the Constitution was amended in 2002 will not complete elementary education this year.

Overall, more boys (20.4%) are in private schools than girls (16.8%).

In what I think is a new feature, Pratham volunteers collected data on the educational levels of mothers; roughly half the mothers had no schooling whatsoever. The correlation between mothers' level of education and the children's education and achievement levels is quite striking.

For mothers who have had no schooling, the chances that their children will be out of school is much higher (at almost 10%) than that of their schooled counterparts (2.5%).

There does not appear to be a gender difference in school enrollment of children whose mothers have had schooling. For unschooled mothers, the percentage of sons being out of school (at 8.4%) is lower than that of daughters (at 11.4%).

In terms of the relationship between young children’s learning levels and mothers’ schooling, 25% children of unschooled mothers are unable to recognize even alphabets as compared to 12.8% children of schooled mothers.