The Annual Status of Education Report, 2012, released on Thursday is a grim reminder of the nation’s knowledge deficit. It is based on a survey of schools, both private and government, in 567 rural districts of the country and is, hence, the most comprehensive data on primary education.
Its prime finding is that standards of reading, writing and arithmetic skills have gone from bad to worse. In 2010, one in two children in the fifth standard could read the texts meant for the second standard; two years later, the proportion was two out of five. Similarly, in 2010, nearly three out of four students could do two-digit subtraction, and in 2012 only one in two students could do so.
The only good news has been on the enrolment front, especially in rural India, where it’s at a record high of 96%. Effectively, the Right to Education has been reduced to a right to schooling.