Friday, 21 January 2011

43 percent children in rural Punjab unable to read: survey


* ASER surveys 7,767 households, 679 schools in 13 districts of province
* 67% children could not read English
* Only 32% mothers found literate
Staff Report


LAHORE: The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan 2010, a sample survey to assess the learning outcomes of school-going age (3-16 years) children, has revealed that as high as 67 percent children in 13 districts (rural) in Punjab are not able to read sentences in English, while 43 percent children could not read words. As much as 15 percent children were graded as “beginners’ level” as they were unable to recognise alphabets and words.
This was announced by the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) Coordinator Baela Raza Jamil at the launching of ASER Punjab (Rural) 2010 report at the Punjab Civil Officers Mess auditorium on Thursday.

The ASER Pakistan (Rural) 2010 sample survey was conducted by the SAFED, managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), UNESCO, Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) and Sindh Education Foundation (SEF).

The survey was conducted in 7,767 households and 679 schools, including 292 private schools in 390 villages across 13 districts of Punjab (rural). The selected villages were in the following districts: Chiniot, Faisalabad, Jhang, Kasur, Khanewal, Lahore, Mianwali, Multan, Nankana Sahab, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, Sargodha and Sheikhupura.
The on ground survey was conducted by volunteers in a campaign titled “Citizens on the march”. In each district, 60 volunteers were mobilised to survey 30 villages in pairs.

The survey collected information of 616 schools, out of which 387 were government-run and 249 were private. Out of the 387 government schools, 205 were boys schools, 82 were girls schools and 80 were categorised as co-ed or mix schools. Of 249 private schools surveyed, nine each were boys and girls schools and 231 offered co-education.
The learning level of 20,790 children (57 percent male, 43 percent female) and their mothers was assessed with a powerful methodology having three simple instruments. Literacy information was collected from 8,087 mothers.
The class-wise analysis of English reading skills shows that 50 percent children enrolled in class 3 could read English and only 16 percent could read sentences fluently. Of those who could read sentences, 61 percent could not understand their meaning.

54 percent children could read at least one sentence in Urdu or their local language and 39 percent could read a level 2 story. In the age group of 6-16, 13.6 percent children were not able to read letters and thus categorised as beginners.
Data on reading ability of out of school children showed interesting trends because 42 percent children were able to read sentences and 30 percent could read story level text. 27 percent of out of school children were at the beginners’ level and could not recognise alphabets.

In order to test mothers’ literacy, the survey assessed 69 percent mothers who agreed to be tested out of the total contacted, and found that only 32 percent mothers were literate. Amongst all the districts, mothers’ literacy rate in Chiniot and Jhang was the lowest, averaging at 21 percent.
Of children enrolled in schools, the survey revealed that 21.8 percent children were taking paid tuition after school hours. Out of this, 16.5 percent were enrolled in government schools and 32.8 percent in private schools. The survey found that as much as 15.4 percent children in Punjab (rural) were not enrolled in schools. Of this, 7.9 percent children had dropped out whereas 7.5 percent were enrolled in schools.

The overall student attendance in government schools stood at 85 percent as per register and 81 percent according to the head count on the day of school visit. The attendance level in primary schools was 85 percent whereas in elementary schools, attendance was 86 percent.

The overall attendance in private schools was 88.5 percent as per headcount and 87.3 percent as per register.

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