90% students across Pakistan very poor in maths and science, new nationwide study reveals

maths and science

New nationwide study has revealed that majority of school going children are underachievers in science and maths.

The nationwide study has been conducted by faculty at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development which says that more than 90% of primary and lower-secondary students in Pakistan have only a weak or basic understanding of the mathematics and science.

For the study, more than 15,000 students in grades 5, 6 and 8 completed standardised tests in maths and science in 153 public and private schools across the country, which was funded by Higher Education Commission. All tests were aligned with the official curriculum.

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The results were poor as the average mathematics score was 27 out of 100 and the average science score was 34 out of 100. Only 1% of students scored over 80 in either subject, thereby demonstrating what researchers called “excellent understanding”.

Acoording to the results, girls slightly outperformed boys in science but were same with boys in mathematics. The average score in private schools was higher than in public schools, but did not exceed 40 in either subject.

In total, 78 public schools and 75 private schools participated in the study. 80% of students were the children of parents with a high school certificate or less.

Only one in 20 eighth graders could correctly answer the following question: “There are thirty students in a class. The ratio of boys to girls in the class is 2:3. How many boys are there in the class?”

Only one in 50 could convert “ten million, twenty thousand and thirty” into numeric form. Fewer than one in 10 could identify the reason that the heart beats faster during exercise.

“Science and mathematics education are in dire need of attention from practitioners and policymakers,” said Assistant Professor Nusrat Fatima Rizvi, a study co-principal investigator. Researchers found that multiple factors were significantly correlated with students’ learning outcomes.

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