ICAN 2020 Assesses Numeracy Level of Children in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, July 15 (Online Int’l): At least 32.3% children of classes 2-3, 77.3% children of class 4-6 and 95.5% children of class 7-8 in Pakistan can do a set of foundational numeracy tasks aligned to Sustainable Development Goal SDG 4.1.1 (a), according to International Common Assessment of Numeracy (ICAN) report released by People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network on July 9, 2020.

The report was launched virtually by Dr. Silvia Montoya, Director UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The launch event also saw a panel discussion.

The ICAN tool was administered as part of a household survey in one rural district in each of the 13 countries who are a part of the PAL Network, including Pakistan, Kenya, Bangladesh, India, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

In Pakistan, ICAN was conducted by ITA that also conducts the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey. ASER Pakistan, with support from its global South-South Alliance, the PAL Network, tested the common set of numeracy items under ICAN in Toba Tek Singh district of Punjab. ICAN is an assessment of foundational numeracy using common items and provides data on early grade/lower primary learning. It further highlights gaps in foundational numeracy even for older children. Assessment domains were decided based on discussions with international assessment stakeholders and global partners.

While ASER Tools are based on basic numeracy skills adapted from grade 2-3 level curriculum, with tasks including number recognition, addition and division problems, ICAN tools are a step ahead with tasks ranging from number knowledge to geometry, measurement and data display.

In Toba Tek Singh, the survey reached a total of 60 randomly selected rural communities, 1,198 households and assessed 1,616 children in the age group of 5 to 16 years. Children were asked to do a variety of numeracy tasks. All tasks were done one-on-one with children in their homes.

According to the report, Pakistan lags only behind Bangladesh in the South Asian region in the minimum proficiency level of students ofclass 2-3, demonstrating skills in number sense and computation, shape recognition and spatial orientation, with a score of 32.3% and 53.0% respectively. In Nepal, 19.8% children of class 2-3 could perform foundational numeracy tasks while in India, only 10.4% children of the same grades could do the tasks aligned to SDG 4.1.1 (a). The indicator measures the percentage of children in primary education and at the end of secondary education reaching at least a minimum proficiency level in reading and mathematics.

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