BENGALURU: A baseline study conducted by the education department has shown that around 40%-50% of children in classes 1-3 have not attained age-appropriate competencies in numeracy and 35%-40% in literacy owing to 18 months of pandemic-induced school closure.
The next academic year, 2022-23, in Karnataka will be declared as a learning recovery year with complete focus on bridging this gap.
Following the Annual Status of Education Reports and studies by Azim Premji University on learning loss among children, Samagra Shikshana Karnataka (SSK) also did a baseline study. While the study is ongoing for classes 6-8, students of grades 1-5 showed serious learning loss due to school closure.
As per the study, 40% of children have not achieved competency in literacy skills in class 1, 36% in grade 2 and 35% in class 3. Around 22% have partially attained it in these grades. In numeracy, 49% have not acquired the skills in class 1, 48% in class 2 and 41% in class 3.
In classes 4 and 5, out of 5,79,194 children, 25% can read a story, 22% can read a paragraph and 26% can read words, 19% can identify letters and 9% are at the beginner level (can’t even identify letters). In number recognition, 61% can recognise 3-digit numbers, 26% two digits, 9% one digit and 4% are at the beginner level. Around 79% can solve two-digit addition problems, 67% two-digit subtraction problems, 48% can solve two digits by one digit multiplication and 30% two digit by one digit division.
“The loss is clearly due to the prolonged school closure, which was expected as many researches have shown worldwide. Now, all efforts will be made to bridge the gap. The curriculum for next academic year will first address the core competencies and then the next year’s curriculum,” said S Selva Kumar, principal secretary, department of primary and secondary education.
SSK and the department of state education, research and training are working on the curriculum for the next academic year. According to the plan, the first three months will be dedicated solely to foundational literacy and numeracy, where basic skills of reading and calculation will be taught.
In the next three months, children will be taught the concepts from their previous two classes. That is, if a student is in class 5, the competencies from grades 3 and 4 when they were unable to attend physical classes will be taught. In the last four months, the competencies based on portions of the current academic year will be taught. Thus, the full year will focus on bridging the gap from the previous years and moving on.
The department had planned a similar programme for 2021-22 as well. While there was some work done, no separate funds were allocated and schools had to rely on Corporate Social Responsibility funds to get the worksheets that the department provided. It was not mandatory for schools to follow. Moreover, only classes 1-6 were covered under the programme. Next year, all grades will be covered.
“Separate worksheets will be provided to all schools. Teachers will be trained, and a handbook will be distributed among teachers,” said an official.


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