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'Quality of education remains a concern in India'

Posted on Nov 29, 05:05PM | IANS

The quality of education remains a concern and a major challenge across the entire education system in India, the US envoy here, Nancy Powell, said here Thursday.

"The government of India has taken several positive steps towards making basic education available to every child in the country through the Right to Education (RTE) Act. However, quality of education remains a concern and major challenge across the entire education system," Powell said.

Powell participated in the inauguration of 'All Children Reading (ACR): A Grand Challenge for Development' - a two year initiative which supports innovative projects that improve reading skills among primary grade children.

It is a multi-donor grant which is a joint funding initiative of United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

"International assessments and national surveys have concluded, learning levels in India are very low at the primary level," Powell said.

Referring 2011 annual status of education report, conducted by an NGO, Pratham, Powell said: "The basic reading levels of children have shown marked decline in many states across north India, with the number of children in Class 5 able to read at a Class 2 level, dropping from 54 percent in 2010 to 48 percent in 2011."

Highlighting the importance of the quality education, Powell, who is the first woman US ambassador to India said: "It is critical to provide children not only with a classroom but also with the right kind of instruction and environment to teach them to read."

Out of the 32 organisations across the globe five NGOs from India are recognised and supported under the programme - Pratham Education Foundation, Planet Read, Pragya, Sesame Workshop Initiatives India and the American Institutes for Research.

According to USAID, for the next two years each of these organisations will be implementing innovative activities both inside and outside the classroom that are expected to produce concrete reading outcomes.

Out of the five grants, two grants are given by the USAID to NGOs Pratham Education Foundation and Planet Read.