bengal: Bengal tops among large states in ‘foundational literacy index’ | Kolkata News – Times of India

Poulami.Roy
KOLKATA: Bengal has topped the chart among large states in the ‘Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Index’, an indicator of literacy among children in the pre-primary and primary levels. The state has achieved an overall score of 58.9, much above the national average of 48.3. Kerala has bagged the top spot among 11 smaller states while Lakshadweep has scored the highest among Union Territories and Mizoram among the states in the north-east.
The report — commissioned by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) and prepared by the Institute for Competitiveness — was released on Thursday by EAC-PM chairman Bibek Debroy.

Taking to Twitter, CM Mamata Banerjee said, “Great news for West Bengal! We have secured the top rank among larger states on the ‘Foundational Literacy & Numeracy Index’. I congratulate all teachers, guardians and members of our education department for this outstanding achievement!”
The report indicates Bengal has scored heavily in providing educational infrastructure — “overperforming” in parameters like having more schools with proper drinking water, toilets and hand-wash facilities — and performrd “within expected range” in taking primary schools to a kilometre of households and providing electricity connection to primary schools.
Percentage of teachers at primary level was good
Where Bengal has lagged in educational infrastructure is in bridging the pandemic-induced digital divide, with fewer schools having internet and computers.
The state has also done exceedingly well in the percentage of teachers at the primary level but has fallen behind the national average in arresting primary drop-outs, ensuring gross enrolment ratio and primary pupil teacher ratio.
Bengal has also achieved a score of 100 in the adjusted Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) at the primary level for girls. In fact, the state has witnessed 82.7% enrolment among boys at the primary level against a 73.3% among girls, the difference of 9.4% making it the best performer among all large states. The all-India average is 83.2% for males, 67.1% for females.
Two other categories in which Bengal has scored a 100 are arresting infant mortality rate and the state’s expenditure on mid-day meal.
Only 17 states and four Union territories have scored above the national average of 48.3. While Kerala has topped the list of small states with a score of 67.9, Lakshadweep is the top-scoring UT with 52.69 and Mizoram the best northeastern state with a score of 51.64. Bihar and Jharkhand are the worst performers among the larger and smaller states respectively.
State sources said the Centre has also appreciated the presentation by its experts on the bridge courses being prepared to plug the pandemic-induced academic gaps in school education, including at the primary level. The state has formed a three-member panel to collate data on this .
The states were judged on five pillars comprising 41 indicators — educational infrastructure, access to education, basic health, learning outcomes and governance.
The EAC-PM statement said out of five pillars, it was observed that states have performed particularly worse in governance.“More than 50% of the states scored below the national average, i.e. 28.05, lowest across all pillars,” it said.
According to the statement, during the panel discussion organised on the occasion, Bibek Debroy said, “Education leads to positive externalities and the quality of education imparted is important especially during the formative years.”

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