Learning loss due to Covid-19: Fewer kids from lower grades took part in survey, says govt data

A national survey by the central government last November to determine learning loss due to Covid-19 saw lower participation among children in lower classes than those in higher classes, according to data released by the Ministry of Education of the United States. Union.

The numbers “tentatively collected” based on updates shared by district coordinators involved in the National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted on Nov. 12, show that of the 6,37,867 Grade III students deemed to come, 5,40,325 did, which translates to 84.71 percent.

A total of 37,86,885 students of classes III, V, VIII and X would participate in the study. Ultimately, it included 34,000,430 students, leading to an overall participation rate of 89.79 percent.

Students in three Andhra Pradesh districts and 16 districts in Tamil Nadu were unable to participate in the study due to heavy rain.

However, the study could not include many younger children. The attendance of Class V students was marginally better at 86.67 percent — 5,45,910 of the 6,29,870 students — compared to Class III. Of the class VIII students, 89.77 percent of students showed up – 10,54,437 out of 11,74,609 in terms of absolute numbers.

The participation rate was highest among grade X students with 12,59,758 of the 13,44,539 or 93.69 percent who took the test.

A senior official from the Ministry of Education said the outcome of the investigation has been delayed by the third wave of Covid. “The results are likely to come out in March,” the official said.

The Indian Express had previously reported that the survey was replete with signs of learning loss caused by Covid-induced disruptions, especially among lower-grade children, with many struggling to understand questions designed to assess their reading and counting skills.

The last NAS took place on November 13, 2017. The results of the NAS will be prepared in the form of district reports, state/UT reports, while one will be prepared at the national level.

The survey was conducted at a time when lower classes were suspended in all states. Even in states and UTs where lower classes had resumed in government schools, private schools continued to offer online classes for younger students.

Delhi had asked the Center to postpone the investigation. “Whose performance will it test if most kids don’t come to school?” Education Minister Manish Sisodia had tweeted. Bihar had cited potential logistical challenges as a result of Chhath Puja.

Sajal Jain
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