New Delhi, Apr 10: Flagging the issue of learning outcome in classrooms, a UNESCO report today said there were wide disparities in students' achievement of basic skills across states even as the country has succeeded in enrolling more children.
The Education-For-All (EFA) report also mentions "strong preference" of parents for their children to go to private schools to learn in English for better job and life opportunities. Released by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, the report cited the 2014-15 the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) mentions which notes the disparity across states in the learning outcome.
"While India's education system succeeded in enrolling many more children, there were wide disparities in students' achievement of basic skills across the states", it said. This finding was also validated in the National Achievement Survey of Grade 3 students by the Ministry of HRD in 2014, it said.
The swelling number of contract teachers and teacher absenteesism has also been highlighed by the report while referring to the issue of quality outcome. "Contract teachers have poorer working conditions, job security and salaries than permanent teachers.
They are more likely than civil servant teachers (permanent) to have either no training or less than one-month training," it said. The number of such teachers has gone up rapidly since 2002 with prominent variations among states. In 2013-14, 47 percent of teachers in Jharkhand were on temporary contracts compared with less than 2 percent in Karnataka.
In India, while regular teachers have to complete two years of initial teacher education, contract teachers are only required to undertake a short induction programme, it noted.
Referring to teacher absenteeism, it said the problem is taking a toll on student learning and the rate of teacher absenteeism in primary education exceeded 20 percent during 2004-11.
It also mentions "strong preference" of parents for their children to go to private schools to learn in English, seen as a route to better job and life opportunities.
But it said there has been substantial expansion of low- cost private schools in developing countries including India, Nepal and Pakistan and with little evidence that private schools offer innovative ways to improve quality.