|Indian children lagging in learning
Standards of education in rural India have slumped almost every year since 2009 despite huge government investments.
An annual survey by education research group Pratham show that the proportion of children aged about 10 who are able to perform a basic reading task dropped from 52.8 percent in 2009 to 47 percent in 2013.
Rukmini Banerji from Pratham said although this was little changed from 2012, the drop in standards over the longer period is worrying, AFP reports.
The Congress-led coalition government has spent billions of dollars on education.
Two thirds of India's 1.2-billion population live in rural areas where the battle for power at the upcoming elections will be fought.
A Right to Education Act passed in 2009 guarantees state schooling for children from six to 14 and enrolment levels reached 96 percent in this age category in 2013, little changed from 2012, the study said.
“This decade has been good for schooling, for improving infrastructure and development. But learning for all is only just beginning and it really needs to pick up momentum,'' Banerji told AFP.
The survey showed 52.8 percent of children in standard five [children aged about 10] across government and private schools were able to read a text from standard two [children aged about six] in 2009.
This fell to 47 percent in 2013, according to the report.
In maths, 33.2 percent of children in standard three in government schools (children aged about eight) were able to solve a simple two-digit subtraction problem in 2010. This fell to 18.9 percent in 2013.
The drop was smaller in private schools, with 47.8 percent of children able to solve the same problem in 2010, compared to 44.6 percent in 2013.
The survey of 600,000 students in government and private schools in rural area involved local groups and institutions visiting households in almost 16,000 villages across the country.