Ringing the alarm bell, a study today said reading and learning outcomes in schools in rural India continue to remain low with most of the children of lower classes unable to do simple mathematics or read a sentence of English.
The study said that only 25 per cent of children enrolled in Class V could read simple English sentences and around 26 per cent of Class III students could do a two-digit subtraction.
The Annual Status of Education Report-2014 by Pratham, widely followed by policy makers and educationists, covered more than 15,000 government schools of which 8,844 were primary schools and 6,362 were upper primary schools.
Lack of flexibility in the system to help children catch up with others and the mismatch between the syllabus and the children's ability to learn were attributed as some of the plausible factors for the learning level by Director of Pratham, Rukmini Banerji.
The report said that the percentage of children in Class II who still cannot recognize numbers up to 9 has increased from 11.3 per cent in 2009 to 19.5 per cent in 2014.
Similarly, the ability to do division among class VIII students has been dropping since 2010. The proportion of Class VIII students who could correctly do a three digit by one digit division problem was 68.3 per cent in 2010 and the number has dropped to 44.1 per cent in 2014.
It said that except Tamil Nadu, where there are some improvements in learning outcome in Maths, the poor learning outcome is prevalent in most other states.
Talking about English, it said that children's ability to read the languages is relatively unchanged in lower primary grades.
In 2014, 25 per cent of the children enrolled in class V could read simple English sentences and this number is virtually unchanged since 2009.