At least 78 per cent of school students found learning at home during the pandemic "burdensome", while 24 per cent of them did not have a digital device at home, according to the National Achievement Survey (NAS)-2021 conducted by the Ministry of Education.
The survey found that learning levels (achievements) of students drop as they progress to a higher class. The survey also highlighted that in India 48 per cent of the students commute to school on foot.
The NAS was conducted throughout the country for classes 3, 5, 8 and 10 on November 12 last year. About 34 lakh students of 1.18 lakh schools in 720 districts from both rural and urban areas have participated in the survey.
The last NAS was held in 2017.
According to the report released on Wednesday, at least 78 per cent of students said they found learning at home during the pandemic burdensome with a lot of assignments.
While 45 per cent of the students said online learning was joyful, 38 per cent of the respondents faced difficulty in learning.
Twenty-four per cent of the students claimed they had no digital device at home.
Fifty per cent of the students said there was no difference in learning at home and school while 80 per cent said they learn better in school with the help of peers. Seventy per cent of the students said they had a lot of time to learn new things at home during the pandemic.
Schools were closed for several months across the country in view of the pandemic.
The NAS covered government, government-aided and private schools. The subjects covered were Language, Mathematics and EVS for classes 3 and 5; Language, Mathematics, Science and Social Science for class 8 and Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and English for class 10.
"The objective of NAS 2021 is to evaluate children's progress and learning competencies as an indicator of the efficiency of the education system, so as to take appropriate steps for remedial actions at different levels. It will help to unravel the gaps in learning and will support state and UT governments in developing long term, mid-term and short-term interventions to improve learning levels and orient on differential planning based on survey data," a senior MoE official said.
"The achievement tests along with the questionnaires -- pupil questionnaire, teacher questionnaire and school questionnaire -- were developed and translated in 22 different languages by NCERT. This nationwide survey was administered by the CBSE in one single day at the same time. The survey was managed through the technology platform designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC)," the official added.
According to the report, average performance of students at the national level in a scaled score of 500 starts decreasing in higher classes. For example, the national average performance of a class 3 student in language is 323 out of 500, but the same dips to 260 in Class 10. Similarly, in mathematics the national average score is 306 at class 3 level, which comes down to 284 in class 5; 255 in class 8; and 220 in class 10.
The NAS report also presented state-wise performance.
The performance of the majority of states/union territories was significantly below the overall national score, while states such as Punjab, Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and union territories such as Chandigarh showed better results than the national average.
According to the report, the average achievement of schools in rural areas remained lower than the schools in urban areas in the same states/UTs. For instance, the average achievement of schools in rural areas remained lower than their urban counterparts across all states and UTs, excluding Manipur and Daman and Diu, in Language in class 8.
In terms of social-group-wise performance, the average performance of SC, ST and OBC students remained low in almost all classes across the states, in comparison to the general category students. For instance, in class 10 English, the national average score of general category students stood at 308 while it was 283 for SC students, 280 for ST and 289 for OBC students.