State's rural youth may not be fit to lead productive lives: study

They have poor reading, calculating skills; digital literacy below average
Last Updated 16 January 2018, 17:52 IST

The rural youth in Karnataka may not be equipped with skills required in day-to-day life such as comprehending instructions and making financial transactions, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017 'Beyond Basics' report.

The annual report, for the first time, focused on the 14-18 age group. The study was conducted in 28 districts, across 24 states. In Karnataka, the household survey was conducted in 60 villages in Mysuru, with help from the University of Mysore (UoM).

The percentage of youth who could read a class II level textbook in their local language was 72.9% and 55.7% of the youth were able to read English sentences. But only half of the surveyed youth (49.2%) were able to read and understand at least three out of four instructions on a packet of Oral Rehydration Solution.

Their performance in financial calculations is below average. Respondents were given simple tasks such as to calculate the cost of a T-shirt after 10% discount and to calculate loan to be repaid based on a given annual interest rate.

Only 11.7% of the youth were able to calculate the loan repayment and 37.3% were able to apply the discount correctly. In both these tasks, girls performed poorer than boys.

In the 14-18 age group, only 18.3% respondents were not enrolled in any course while 75.1% were enrolled in class XII or below, and the remaining 6.6% were enrolled in undergraduate or other courses.

However, one out of three respondents (33.8%) in the 17-18 age category were not enrolled in any course, indicating that once they complete class XII fewer students take up higher education. In comparison, only 7.2% of youth in the 14-16 age group were not enrolled in any course.

Digital literacy is seen as a tool to unlock opportunities, but the familiarity of Karnataka youth with the internet, mobile phones and computers is below average.

Of the youth surveyed, 66.5% in Mysuru reported having used a mobile phone, 18.1% had used the internet and 16.5% had used a computer in the week before the survey. The average for all districts surveyed is 72.6%, 28% and 25.5% respectively.

There is a clear gender disparity in digital use. One out of four girls (25.7%) reported that they had never used a mobile phone and four out of five girls said they had never used the internet (81.6%). In comparison, 13.6% of boys surveyed had never used a mobile phone and 64.6% had never used the internet.

(Published 16 January 2018, 17:32 IST)

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