With schools shut for more than a year due to Covid-19, students have lost their basic ability in Mathematics and language, a study has found. The study conducted by Azim Premji University found that 92% of children on an average have lost at least one specific language ability and 82% of children on an average have lost at least one specific mathematical ability from the previous year across all classes.
The specific language abilities include describing a picture or their experiences orally, reading familiar words, reading with comprehension, writing simple sentences based on a picture. At least, 92% of children in class 2, 89% in class 3, 90% in class 4, 95% in class 5, and 93% in class 6 have lost at least one specific ability from the previous year.
The specific abilities in Mathematics include identifying single and two-digit numbers, performing arithmetic operations, using basic arithmetic operations for solving problems, describing 2D/3D shapes, reading and drawing inferences from data. 67% of children in class 2, 76% in class 3, 85% in class 4, 89% in class 5, and 89% in class 6 have lost at least one specific ability from the previous year, the study found.
The study was conducted with 16,067 children in 1,137 public schools and covered 44 districts across 5 states -- Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
"The extent and nature of learning loss is serious enough to warrant action at all levels. Policy and processes to identify and address this loss are necessary as children return to schools. Supplemental support, whether in the form of bridge courses, extended hours,community-based engagements and appropriate curricular materials, will be needed to help children gain the foundational abilities when they return to school," the study noted.
"Most importantly the teachers must be given enough time to compensate for both kinds of learning loss – and we must not rush into promoting children to the next class," it added.
All children across primary classes have been impacted, with most children, who are returning to school, not being ready, in terms of expected abilities, for further learning at the appropriate class level, the study states.
Teachers, during the study, also shared that they are in a ‘double dilemma’ – whether to start from last year’s course work (2020-21) or the syllabus of the new class (2021-22).