A study found that students in grades 2 and 8 in 22 Indian states struggled to learn during the Covid years, with Math and English the main casualties.
The survey by the social organization Smile Foundation – and conducted between May and July 2022 – noted that more than 50 percent of students in these grades were unable to keep up and exhibited severe learning deficits.
Students identified for the survey were those who had continued their studies despite all odds due to Covid-19. Five percent of them, or 2,464, were studied among the 48,000 students registered with the foundation who were in grades 2 through 8. More than 100 teachers, leaders of 10 non-governmental organizations, and 500 parents also participated in the survey.
The survey found that 51 percent of Grade 2 students could not make small and capital letters, punctuation or make basic sentences. 52 percent were not able to understand the subject’s text and write fluently, and 51 percent were not well versed with age-appropriate familiar words.
In math, 51 percent of Grade 2 students could not do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Fifty-two percent could not calculate basic numbers and place values, and sixty-one percent could not work with basic geometric shapes.
In Grade 3, 63 percent do not know how to form sentences, 64 percent fail to demonstrate the basic stock of words or tell their meaning when they hear pronunciation.
In Grade 4 math, 52 percent had no knowledge of place value, number addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 69 percent of parents felt that children needed more help in math and English to keep up with age-appropriate learning levels.
Studies have shown that parents have become more involved post-Covid. 47 percent said there was increased interaction between them and teachers, both physically and on-call. 38 percent began interacting with teachers by visiting schools and attendance at parent teacher meetings increased by 27 percent.
Half of the parents interviewed felt a lack of digital resources – devices, networks, data packs – made the learning experience inadequate during the pandemic. 67 percent of parents said education was not effective after schools closed due to the pandemic.