A survey conducted across schoolchildren in as many as 20 states in the country has thrown up some appalling figures. The results of the survey have revealed that 9 in 10 students from urban private schools are not able to read in English. The report, titled ‘Where India reads 2017-18’, involved a total of 19,765 students (classes IV-VI) studying in 106 schools across various cities across the states (including Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, and West Bengal).
Carried out by Stones2Milestones, the report was also reviewed by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER). It ponders the reason behind the staggering figures and points towards the use of native languages in households as the main culprit. It says, “English is a second or even third language, in several Indian households and children speak in their mother tongue which is either Hindi or a regional language. However, at school, they are expected to learn a language which is foreign to them, in a formal setting.”
The co-founder of Stones2Milestones, Nikhil Saraf, explains, “The test was conducted online to check comprehension, vocabulary and reading habits of students under their teachers’ supervision. Some students answered a few test items in an unreasonably short time. Since it is unlikely for a small child to read and respond in a snap of a finger, we did not count for scoring.” “This also points to several behavioural peculiarities, which could include reading fatigue, non-seriousness, and bad monitoring practices”, he added