Wednesday, 22 January 2014

State Kids Fare Poorly in Kannada, Maths

By Express News Service - BANGALORE

Published: 19th January 2014 08:42 AM

Last Updated: 19th January 2014 08:42 AM

·         Photos


Only 42.1 per cent of Class 5 students in Karnataka can read Kannada from textbooks used for Class 2 students.

Worse still, this trend of under-performance has worsened over the last five years with the figure falling by almost five per cent in government schools and a whopping 10 percent in private schools.

These worrying figures were revealed in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2013, which was released recently. It has painted a dismal picture about the knowledge of Kannada and mathematics among school children in the State. Households and schools across 26 districts in Karnataka were surveyed.

Between Classes 1 and 8, just 35.3 per cent children can read Kannada textbooks from Class 2. Just 54.7 per cent of Class 6 kids can read Kannada textbooks they had studied four years ago. Similarly, just 35.2 percent of children in Class 3 can read Class 1 Kannada textbooks. The report points out that this is a fall of almost 9 per cent since 2009. About 24 per cent of Class 1 kids cannot read a single letter in Kannada.

The report notes that the situation is not too comforting as far as knowledge of mathematics goes as only 20.3 per cent of Class 8 can recognise numbers up to 99 but cannot subtract. Only 44.2 per cent can divide them. Among Class 7 students, only 38.1 percent can divide while 36.1 percent can subtract. 

The famed divide between government and private schools seems to vanish when it comes to under-perfomance in mathematics. Only 24.7 per cent of Class 3 kids in government schools can subtract and in private schools, it is 39 per cent. When it comes to Class 5 students, only 16.4 percent of kids in government schools and 25.3 percent in private schools know division.

Karnataka is below the national average when it comes to the ability to read a language, said Ranajit Bhattacharya, consultant at ASER. “Karnataka is below the national average of 47 per cent when it comes to Class 5 students reading a level 2 text. In arithmetic, only 18.2 per cent of the Class 8 students know division whereas across the country, 25.6 per cent can do so,” he said.

B S Sudhindra, former regional director for Indira Gandhi National Open University, noted that the existing textbook language in Karnataka was very difficult for students to understand.

“Topics like arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics must be presented in simple language. Our textbooks need reformatting. Many unnecessary steps and examples are taught. Lack of quality teachers and alarming teacher-to-student ratio is worsening the situation,” he explained.

Dr A S Seetharamu, retired professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), said a large number of children in rural areas do not receive follow-up education at home. “Lack of practice in mathematics and language reduces their retention power. Competencies like division, subtraction and working with fractions and decimals and teaching a language requires continuous practice. Parents have to sit with their kids and teach them.

But in rural areas, where most parents are from agriculture and labour backgrounds, this is not possible,” he said, adding that he was not surprised by the findings.


Rs. 20 for food, all expenses: Girls in these Karnataka hostels deprived twice over?

South | Written by Radhika Iyer , Edited by Shamik Ghosh | Updated: January 15, 2014 21:29 IST

irls at their hostel in Magadi village in southern Karnataka

Bangalore Karnataka's government-run hostels for deprived girl children have been criticized for being more of a farce than a measure of empowerment by the state's women and child welfare department. The daily allowance in these hostels is just Rs. 20 per child. The children are expected to manage their food, medicines, books, electricity and gas within this meager grant. 

Leave alone a nutritious meal, the girls in these hostels say they don't even can't even afford basics like sanitary pads and medicines. They say the unhygienic conditions in the hostels may lead to illness, but visiting a doctor is a luxury.
NDTV travelled to a hostel in Magadi village in southern Karnataka. We found the girls were ready for school, much ahead of time. They said they look forward to the mid-day meal in school - the one guaranteed meal in the day.

52 such hostels are run across rural Karnataka for deprived children, some have lost their parents, some were rescued as child labourers while some were abused. Others like Preeti (name changed), a class 9 student, left home because her father allegedly wanted her to marry a 40-year-old man, in exchange of money.

NGOs have tried stepping in to help run the hostels better.

"We go with a begging bowl to people asking for donations. Each month, no matter how much we cut our expenditure, there is excess expenditure of nearly
 Rs. 9000 over and above what the government grants us," says Child Rights Activist, Saroja who heads the Chiguru Foundation.

Head cook Chandramma earns a salary of
 Rs. 3000 per month, not enough to make her two ends meet, but she says not being able to feed the children enough hurts her more. 

"I try my best to give them what they want to eat. But it hurts me because I know I cannot feed them with a kitchen that is empty and has no provisions." she says.
Ironically, other hostels run by the government like that by the social welfare department or the backward class department give about
 Rs. 900 as daily allowance per boy or girl. And the allowance is besides the subsidised rice and pulses and medical and library allowances.


Canada-based filmmaker Elisa Paloschi tells the inspiring story of Karnataka's first female cabbie Selvi

Sunday, Jan 12, 2014, 8:17 IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Shikha Kumar  

Determined to steer her own path in life, Selvi broke the shackles of an abusive child marriage and became perhaps Karnataka's first woman cabbie. Her journey from trial to triumph has been documented by Canada-based Elisa Paloschi. The filmmaker speaks to Shikha Kumar about the making of the documentary and her tryst with India

One didn’t speak any Kannada and the other barely any English. But Canada-based filmmaker Elisa Paloschi and Karnataka’s rare woman cabbie Selvi, who broke free from an abusive child marriage to start a taxi company in Mysore, bonded nonetheless. An easy connect that resulted in Driving with Selvi, a film by Paloschi that documents the life of a young woman who decided to be the driver of her own life.

“Do you like me?” Selvi asks in the film, her innocent child-like laughter echoing and concealing her life of struggle and triumph so beautifully captured on screen. The documentary is in its final stages of completion.

“I didn’t set out to make films that would send a message, but I gradually realised that I was drawn to people who had a spark in their soul and a powerful impact on those around them,” reveals the filmmaker, whose first documentary was about a homeless man.

That was 18 years ago when Paloschi was just 20. Her tryst with India began in 2004. That was when she met Selvi too. Feeling disconnected as a mere tourist in Mysore, Paloschi reached out to Odanadi, an NGO working towards the welfare of trafficked women and children, to help with an art programme.

When the directors of the NGO discovered her video background, she was given a camera and asked to shoot something. “Selvi was one of the many young women I interviewed. She barely spoke English and I didn’t speak a word of Kannada but I felt a strong connection with her,” says Paloschi.

Selvi’s struggle and her determination to never give up found an admirer in Paloschi. Selvi was just 14 when she was married off to a man who tortured her for dowry. She decided to run away and while thoughts of committing suicide often flitted across her young mind, there was also the realisation that she needed to prove herself.

And then came the turning point when she learnt to drive at the age of 18.

“In 2004 in Mysore, it was quite rare to see a woman driver, let alone a female taxi driver. I hadn’t made a film in 10 years when I went to India but I was fascinated by Selvi and three other young women who were starting a taxi company with a loan from Odanadi. Their strength of character inspired me,” says Paloschi.

She decided to make a short documentary about the taxi company that was started by Selvi and her friends in 2006. The challenges, though, were several and the film was finally made over a 10-year period.

“Each time I returned to India to shoot something specific, everything didn’t go as planned. Selvi had a new job, or she was engaged to a wonderful man she fell in love with, then there was the wedding, and then the pregnancy and the birth.”

Her biggest lesson, one she is glad she learnt, is that you can’t control anything in India. “I’ve always been a free spirit, but I perfected this while shooting the film. I went with the flow and the film turned into something that reflects that.” According to her, Driving with Selvi is a film that follows the rhythms of life.

A prolific photographer, Paloschi is a firm believer in the potential of art to bring about healing.

Through Odanadi, she also organised a photography workshop to help empower trafficked women in Mysore. “For me, the camera is the perfect tool for interpreting your reality. Discussing the photographs is a very helpful way of opening a dialogue about feelings and impressions.”

Driving with Selvi is close to completion and Paloschi is attempting to raise the final part of the budget. She is now busy developing an ambitious and far-reaching outreach campaign, which involves a 10-day bus tour around Karnataka with Selvi at the wheel.

“We will invite high-profile female role models, and other survivors of gender violence and will stage screenings, talks, performances and workshops in villages along the way. A group of journalists, bloggers, and videographers will also be invited to join the tour. We’re also planning to establish a driving training centre for women in Mysore.” 

The campaign runs for 18 months and Paloschi is hoping that it gains momentum to carry itself forward. She firmly believes that her film has the potential of having a strong impact on not only girls and women, but also boys and men.

“I’ve never set out to make a film. A story that needs to be told intersects with my life and in this case, 10 years have passed and I have a powerful feature length documentary about the most wonderfully audacious, spirited, quirky, strong-willed young woman. Selvi is a survivor who will inspire others.”


Girl child to get Rs 2 a day for attending school in Karnataka

ND Shiva Kumar, TNN Jan 10, 2014, 06.28PM IST


BANGALORE: A girl child studying in Class 1 in Karnataka will get Rs two a day as an incentive for attending school. The scheme, which is being implemented from January 1, 2014, is to boost the enrolment rate of girl children and to retain them.

Announcing the decision after the cabinet meeting, law minister T B Jayachandra said the implementation of the scheme would cost Rs 4.49 crore to the government for the remaining three months in the current academic year.

The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) in the lower primary is 107.46 and 105.16 respectively. The dropout rate has declined over the years. During 2011-12, the drop out rate in the lower primary stood at 1.19%.

GER includes students of all ages. It exceeds 100 per cent if there is late or early enrollment or repetition. NER includes only children of the official school age. Some small discrepancies in the reported age of children cause NER to exceed 100 per cent.