From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : ASER 2022
Mains level : Status of schooling in India
Pratham’s Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2022 — the first full-fledged one after the pandemic has now been published.
- This is an annual survey (published by the education non-profit Pratham) that aims to provide reliable estimates of children’s enrolment and basic learning levels for each district and state in India.
- ASER has been conducted every year since 2005 in all rural districts of India. It is the largest citizen-led survey in India.
- It is also the only annual source of information on children’s learning outcomes available in India.
- The survey is usually done once in two years.
How is the survey conducted?
- ASER tools and procedures are designed by ASER Centre, the research and assessment arm of Pratham.
- The survey itself is coordinated by ASER Centre and facilitated by the Pratham network. It is conducted by close to 30,000 volunteers from partner organizations in each district.
- All kinds of institutions partner with ASER: colleges, universities, NGOs, youth groups, women’s organizations, self-help groups, and others.
- The ASER model has been adapted for use in several countries around the world: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Pakistan, Mali, and Senegal.
- Unlike most other large-scale learning assessments, ASER is a household-based rather than school-based survey.
- This design enables all children to be included – those who have never been to school or have dropped out, as well as those who are in government schools, private schools, religious schools or anywhere else.
- In each rural district, 30 villages are sampled. In each village, 20 randomly selected households are surveyed.
- Information on schooling status is collected for all children living in sampled households who are in the age group 3-16.
- Children in the age group 5-16 are tested in basic reading and basic arithmetic. The same test is administered to all children.
- The highest level of reading tested corresponds to what is expected in std 2; in 2012 this test was administered in 16 regional languages.
- In recent years, this has included household size, parental education, and some information on household assets.
Highlights of ASER 2022
The ASER 2022 report, which surveyed 6.99 lakh children aged 3 to 16 across 616 rural districts, however, bears some good news. School-level enrolment continues to grow strong and fewer girls are now out of school.
- India has recorded a 95% enrolment for the last 15 years in the 6-14 age group.
- Despite the pandemic forced school closure, the figure rose from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022.
- Only 1.6% children are now not enrolled.
- There is a clear increase in government school (6-14) enrolment across states — it rose from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022.
- This is contrast to the trend in the 2006-14 period, which marked a steady decline in government school enrolment for the 6-14 age group.
- From 10.3% of 11-14 year old girls not enrolled in schools in 2006, the proportion came down to 4.1% in 2018 and is at 2% in 2022. Save Uttar Pradesh, where it is at 4%, the number is lower across states.
(2) Learning Loss
- The ASER 2022 report says that children’s basic reading ability has dropped to ‘pre2012 levels, reversing the slow improvement achieved in the intervening years’.
- The decline is seen across gender and across both government and private schools and is more acute in lower grades.
- Percentage of children in Class III in govt or private schools who can read at Class II level dropped from 27.3% in 2018 to 20.5% in 2022.
- Class V students who can at least read a Class II level text fell from 50.5% in 2018 to 42.8% in 2022.
- Nationally, 69.6% of Class VIII students can read at least basic text in 2022, falling from 73% in 2018.
(3) Arithmetic abilities
- Students in Class III who are able to at least do subtraction dropped from 28.2% in 2018 to 25.9% in 2022.
- For Class V, students who can do division has also fallen from 27.9% in 2018 to 25.6% in 2022.
- Class VIII has done better with an improvement recorded — proportion of children who can do division has increased from 44.1% in 2018 to 44.7% in 2022.
- ASER says that this increase is driven by improved outcomes among girls as well as among children enrolled in government schools, whereas boys and children enrolled in private schools show a decline over 2018 levels.
(4) Tuition dependency
- Rural India has been reporting an uptick in Class I-VIII paid tuition classes and it has moved up from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022.
- In UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand, the proportion of children taking paid private tuition increased by 8 percentage points.
(5) English proficiency
- ASER recorded English abilities last in 2016 and the trend stays similar till date.
- Children’s ability to read simple English sentences was at 24.7% in 2016 and is found at 24.5% in 2022.
- Class VIII has shown some improvement from 45.3% in 2016 to 46.7% in 2022.
- Children’s basic reading ability has dropped to pre-2012 levels, reversing the slow improvement achieved in the intervening years, while the basic maths skills have declined to 2018 levels nationally.
(6) Schools improvement
- Average teacher attendance increased from 85.4% in 2018 to 87.1% in 2022, while average student attendance persists at 72% as before.
- Textbooks had been distributed to all grades in 90.1% of primary schools and in 84.4% of upper primary schools.
- Fraction of schools with useable girls’ toilets increased from 66.4% in 2018 to 68.4% in 2022.
- There were 76% schools with drinking water facilities compared with 74.85% in 2018, but there are interstate variations.
- In 2022, 68.9% schools had a playground, up slightly from 66.5% in 2018.
- In the past 10 years, we’ve seen improvement, but it has been in small bits. So it means that we really need to shake up things.
- It is a critical thing for improving the productivity of the country. Business as usual is not going to work.
- Again, it’s not a new message, but it’s a message that needs to be reiterated.
- There are Anganwadi everywhere and their enrollment has gone up. Integration between the Anganwadi system and the school system is urgently needed because the work starts there.