Published: 08th August 2018
9 out of 10 children in India's fancy private schools can’t read English: Study
Stones2Milestones came up with this report after evaluating 19k+ students over 20 states in India
Do you often come across parents who boast that their child goes to the number one English medium school in the city? The next time you come across them, hand the child over a copy of The Hare and the Tortoise. Chances are, the child might not be able to comprehend the tale. Shocked? At least this is what Stones2Milestones' latest survey says. The organisation's ‘FAST Reading Assessment' report Where India Reads 2017-18 says that 9 out of 10 students in urban private schools can’t read in English.
An organisation that aims to address the reading and learning levels of students, Stones2Milestones' authorities say that this was the largest study of its kind conducted till date, where they assessed 19,765 children in 106 urban private schools across 20 states of India. Of all the children who appeared for FAST, 12.5 per cent in Grade 4 and only 2.7 per cent in Grades 5 and 6, were reading at an age-appropriate level. That's just not it. 11 per cent of those who appeared in FAST 4 didn’t even possess the abilities of the lowest level reader.
The study was reviewed by ACER, India (Australian Council for Education Research). "The research began in May 2017. We assessed and tested the child's comprehension ability and their understanding of words," says Aditi Mehta, Head, CTI (Content, Training and Impact), Stones2Milestones. Since every learning benchmark in the world recommends that a child should be an independent reader after age 10, the organisation sought to find where India stood. "We knew that there was a mismatch between the reality and what we think. But we were shocked to see that the gap was this wide," says Aditi.
She says that the solution out of this situation is to inculcate a habit of reading in children at a very young age. "It is very important to invest in a reading culture. Parents and teachers should remember to not stamp the child as a good or bad reader. In fact, they should read a book in front of the child and make them curious to ask questions. Also, we have to bring back the habit of telling bedtime stories," she says.