Seven per cent of Class III students in Maharashtra cannot tell the time while 39 per cent can do so only with the help of a teacher. At least 19 per cent cannot read a calendar or will make mistakes in identifying the month, date or day but 20 per cent students can correctly identify the same with help from a teacher.
These are the findings from the state’s Foundation Learning Study. But when compared to the national average of foundation literacy and numeracy of Class III students, students in Maharashtra are found to be doing better.
The aim of the study to find the foundational literacy and numeracy of Class III students across India was part of the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat launched by the Ministry of Education in July 2021. As many as 86,000 class III students from 10,000 schools across India were covered in this survey conducted by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT). In Maharashtra, 5,308 students from 578 schools were covered in this survey.
The study found that even as a considerable number of Class III students from Maharashtra are not able to tell time, at least 54 per cent are able to tell time correctly as opposed to the national average of 52 per cent. In reading the calendar, 61 per cent students from Maharashtra are proficient at identifying month, date and day, which is just lower than the national average of 62 per cent. Even as 70 per cent of students are able to perform basic addition and subtraction, paper-pencil remains the most used strategy for almost 80 per cent students. A total of 71 per cent are proficient at multiplication but only 58 per cent are able to solve division sums, though this is more than the national average of 49 per cent. But at the overall benchmark scale of numeracy, students from Maharashtra are on par with the national average with exactly 53 per cent students having minimum or exceeding numerical proficiency expected at Class III.
For assessment of language learning, a total of seven languages were selected in Maharashtra, considering that elementary education is offered in all these languages in the state. An overview of three major mediums of instruction – Marathi, English and Urdu – shows Class III students in Maharashtra are more proficient in English and Marathi than Urdu. With 56 per cent students having minimum or more proficiency in English, this is higher than the national average at 54 per cent. In Urdu, the state has fared worse with 31 per cent having minimum or more proficiency as opposed to the national average of 36 per cent.