Dismal performance from India’s primary school students

The latest issue (dated Nov 27)  of India Today magazine published the shocking results from a education survey  conducted recently. The survey covered 32,000 students of classes 4,6 and 8 from the 200 Top schools in India. These schools were from the 5 major metros – Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The key findings from the survey show that the students did badly in areas which required them to apply their knowledge rather than rote learning.
I’m sure all of us that passed through the Indian primary school system know that but we now have evidence of how bad it is. Sample this question for the 8th graders from the test:
What is the chemical formula of steam?
B. H2O
C. O2
D. Pure steam doesn’t have a chemical formula.
63% got the answer wrong. The correct answer being B. There were more questions published but they all had a visual in them. So I couldn’t transcribe it onto the blog without too much effort.  It is crystal clear from the survey that strong emphasis on rote learning has prevented true learning. If this is the state of affairs with the top schools producing the creme de la creme of the country, guess where the students from lesser institutions stand? India is riding the red hot IT wave like anything, but without true knowledge,  the goal of becoming a serious knowledge superpower may be too difficult to attain. Hope our education administrators are listening.


  1. Anonymous said November 18, 2006, 2:25 pm:

    Sad story: 63% flunked. What can be even sadder is if significant % of ppl chose A or C as the answers. But 37% of a billion ppl is bigger than US!

  2. Anonymous said November 19, 2006, 6:32 am:

    you are right Kesava. that is indeed a good way to look at it. 37% is a large number. But how much better would it was the other way round 63% got it right, applying the same logic you did, it would be such a big number that it would put us in serious contention for the knowledge superpower title.