Staff Reporter

Reading and writing capabilities of Karnataka students are far lower than students in MP and Bihar

‘There is shortage of committed teachers, officials'

‘Rs. 12,000 crore spent on education every year'

BANGALORE: Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri on Friday said the department will launch a capacity-building programme for improving reading and writing capabilities among students of V to X standards during the current academic year.

Addressing a meeting of officers from his department here, Mr. Kageri said the academic year would be observed as capacity building year. The programme was being organised following complaints about serious reading and writing deficiencies among students, he said.

Mr. Kageri solicited suggestions from general public on how to go about the programme and a name for it. For the time being, the department has decided to name the programme — Spashta Odu (clarity in reading) and Swachcha Baraha (clean writing), he said. A few hours of extra teaching might be required for the project, he added. The announcement came after senior officials in the department made a revelation that Karnataka ranked below the so-called backward States of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh with regard to primary education.

Mr. Kageri said the officials of the department had the bounden duty of monitoring the levels and quality of teaching by teachers.

Speaking earlier, Principal Secretary of the Department R.G. Nadadur said there was no dearth of funds for the primary education sector. However, there was severe dearth of officials and teachers who had commitment for the cause, he said. Despite the department spending about Rs. 9,000 crore a year in the primary education sector, the situation had not been rosy, he said.

Mr. Nadadur said that Karnataka was frequently chided at the national level educational meetings in New Delhi for the poor performance.

Sanjeev Kumar, Secretary, Planning Department, said through different departments, the Government spent about Rs. 12,000 crore a year on the primary education sector. However, the levels of learning had not been up to the mark.

While only 65 per cent of students in VIII standard in Karnataka could read Kannada, the primary language, 92 per cent students in Madhya Pradesh and 83 per cent students in Bihar could read Hindi, he said. Only 21 per cent students in V standard in Karnataka could solve mathematical problems while 65 per cent of their counterparts in Madhya Pradesh and 52 per cent in Bihar could solve the problems, he said.