Saturday, Sep 18, 2021
Outlook.com

Reading In Darkness

How our dismal education scene is linked to our intolerance

Reading In Darkness
Illustration by Sorit
Reading In Darkness
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

What’s common to the Salman Rushdie episode, India’s dismal educational scenario—as underlined by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Pratham’s 7th Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER)—and its appalling ranking on the Global Hunger Index (GHI)? It’s clear even on the surface: a deep disconnect between India’s claims on democratic superpower status and its grim reality. If you probe a little more, you might also understand the reasons behind this. Putting aside hunger for a moment, let’s look at India’s afflictions in the arena of knowledge and liberal values—the crux of enlightenment, the light of which is dim and flickering in India.

PISA, conducted every two years, ranked 15-year-old Indian students last but one in terms of reading, math and science abilities, just above Kyrgyzstan, in a worldwide test involving 73 countries. Pratham’s ASER says reading abilities of most Std V children in India are actually at Std II levels. Reading ability...

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