ITANAGAR: A new study published by the Centre presents a grim picture over the state of school education in Arunachal Pradesh, with the state ranking last across different categories of states and indicators.

The recently-released School Education Quality Index (SEQI) published by the NITI Aayog evaluates the performance of states and union territories (UTs) in the school education sector consisting of 30 critical indicators that assess the delivery of quality education including learning outcomes, access outcomes, infrastructure & facilities, and equity outcomes.

The states were evaluated for the year 2016-17 and compared with data from 2015-16.

For the evaluation, the states were divided into large and small categories. The small states included Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

Among small states, the overall performance score varied from 68.8 percent for Manipur to 24.6 percent for Arunachal Pradesh (lowest). It was not just the lowest overall score amongst small states but across the board.

In fact, the state had fared marginally better in the 2015-16 ranking, coming in sixth, to coming in last.

The study noted that most states and UTs perform better on outcomes than on governance processes aiding outcomes, but that “there is variation within these categories in terms of specific areas of strength and weakness”.

“It is, therefore, important for states and UTs to strengthen their capacity to address their specific areas for improvement,” it said.

Within the ‘Outcomes’ category, Arunachal Pradesh came last among small states with a score of 27.2 percent.

In the ‘Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes’ category includes indicators related to student and teacher attendance systems, availability of in-service teacher professional development, school leadership, accountability, transparency in teacher recruitment and financial discipline, the state’s score was abysmally low at 18.3 percent which was the lowest overall across all categories of states and UTs.

Mizoram ranks first among small states, with a score of 47.5 percent.

In the ‘Access Outcomes’ category, which covers enrolment and flow-related indicators such as the adjusted net enrolment ratio, transition rates and the mainstreaming of out-of-school children, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Tripura marked improved changes in their scores. However, the numbers fell in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim and Nagaland.

While Goa and Manipur (among small states) showed significant changes in the ‘Percentage of Identified Out-of-School-Children Mainstreamed’, the study said that Arunachal Pradesh took a hit in the domain because of “poor performance” on ‘Transition Rate from Primary to Upper-Primary Level’ and ‘Adjusted NER at the Secondary Level’.

Alarming as these indices are, for Arunachal Pradesh, the academic performance of students at various levels is another cause of worry.

Among the small states and UTs, Chandigarh has the highest average language and mathematics scores in class 5 of 69.0 and 64.0 percent respectively while Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest average scores of 43.0 and 39.0 percent respectively.

Arunachal Pradesh also has the lowest average language score of 44.0 percent while Sikkim has the lowest average mathematics score of 30.0 percent for class 8.