Tamil Nadu: Numeracy skills of 29% of Class III students subpar, reveals NCERT survey

The State's performance was abysmally poor in the languages category as well. Almost 48% of students lack basic knowledge and skills in Tamil and 43% in English
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

A study conducted by the NCERT revealed that Tamil Nadu has the highest number of Class III students without basic numeracy skills in the country.

According to the Foundational Learning Study 2022, 29% of TN's Class III students could not complete most basic grade-level tasks, which include parameters like number identification and discrimination, division, multiplication, fractions, identifying patterns comprising numbers and shapes, identifying dates and months in the calendar, against the national average of 11%. Tamil Nadu is followed by states like Jammu and Kashmir (28%), Assam (18%), Gujarat (18%) and Chhattisgarh (18%), while neighbouring states like Kerala (7%), Karnataka (8%) and Andhra Pradesh (9%) are much ahead of it.

The figures are certainly a disgrace for Tamil Nadu which boasts a stellar Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 51.4 against the national average of 27.1. The survey details reveal that only 48% of students could identify dates, months and days on the calendar, while only 34% could tell time correctly on the clock. The national average in those two categories are 62% and 52% respectively.

The State's performance was abysmally poor in the languages category as well. Almost 48% of students lack basic knowledge and skills in Tamil and 43% in English.

When it comes to literacy
In literacy, the findings were based on phonological awareness, decoding letters, words and non-words, reading fluency and comprehension. For instance, a child was made to read a text aloud and asked questions based on that text, which was not from the school syllabus.

Only 46% of students from the State were able to read 80-100 letters correctly and fluently in Tamil, while only 47% of the surveyed students could read almost 80% of the words given to them correctly and fluently in English.

At least four primary school teachers TNIE spoke to stated that the survey report presents a correct picture as the pandemic had taken a serious toll on the learning outcomes of the primary students.

"Online classes for primary students were conducted poorly in government schools during the pandemic and the few who managed to attend it were hardly able to learn anything out of it. This is the reality we are facing every day in our classroom," said a teacher of a government primary school in Chennai.

However, the school education department officials are not ready to accept the report.

"We don't know what methodology they used to arrive at these figures. We will look into the report," said an official.

A total of 2,937 Class III students from 336 schools, including State and Central government, aided, private and recognised schools, participated in the study in TN.

The survey was organised under the Ministry of Education's NIPUN Bharat scheme that wants all Class III children to have basic literacy and numeracy skills by 2026-27.

BAD GRADE

Class III students without basic numeracy skills: 29%

National average: 11%

Jammu and Kashmir: 28%

Assam 18%

Gujarat 18%

Chhattisgarh 18%

Kerala 7%

Karnataka 8%

Andhra Pradesh 9%

About Tamil Nadu
TN's Gross Enrolment Ratio: 51.4

National average: 27.1

Students who could read calendar: 48%

National average: 62%

Could tell time on clock: 34%

National average: 52%

Without basic knowledge in Tamil: 48%

English: 43%

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