The National Achievement Survey 2021 has found that girls and boys start off as equals in mathematics, however a gap develops by the time they reach high school.
This gap is of learning outcomes in that by class X, boys significantly outperform girls.
This is a curious finding considering that data shows girls are better or equal learners in other subjects throughout schooling.
- 1 Mathematics
- 2 Language
- 3 Science
- 4 Rural-Urban
- 5 Covid Impact
- 6 The Survey
In class III, the national average score for girls in mathematics (301) is not significantly different from that of boys (300).
Then in class V when girls scored 280 and boys 281.
In class VIII, the national average score for both boys and girls are equal, but in some states, girls’ performance appears to be dropping.
In class X, this gap becomes more stark with national scores putting girls at 216 and boys at 219.
This remains a subject where girls outperformed boys throughout all school levels.
By the time students reached class VIII when girls scored 312 and boys just 302.
Both are equal in class VIII with girls (211) having performed better than boys (210) in class X.
In social science, girls in high school scored above boys with a 3 and 2 point difference.
Overall it can be concluded that girls either match or outperform boys in all subjects except for the widening gap seen in mathematics as students reached progressively higher classes.
There is also a divide in learning outcomes here.
In mathematics, rural schools start at a better score (302) than urban (299) in class III but fall one point behind in class V.
In science and social science too rural students in high school fare poorly than their urban counterparts.
While the rural-urban gap is nothing new, the pandemic worsened the situation, particularly for the children.
The lockdowns prompted everyone to take their classes online.
This placed rural Indian students at a significant disadvantage due to a lack of access to a device or stable internet.
24% of students surveyed did not have a digital device at home.
Those that did undertake online learning, 78% of those found it burdenson since they were loaded with assignments.
An overwhelming majority of 80% said they learnt better at school with peers’ help.
34 lakh students across 1,18,274 schools participated in the report which will inform state and UT government interventions in education going forward.
The objective is to find out the levels of children’s progress and learning competencies which inform the efficiency of the education system.
However, the most troubling finding is that the pandemic led to an alarming dropout rate among students, especially girls, according to a UNICEF India report.
The government has its work cut out for it.