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Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023

Context:

According to the ASER 2023, nearly 43% of children in the 14-18 age group cannot read sentences in English, while among their rural counterparts, 25% struggle to read a Class 2 level text in their respective regional language.

Relevance:

GS II: Education

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023 Overview
  2. Key Findings
  3. Significance of the ASER 2023

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023 Overview:

Background:

  • ASERs, conducted by NGO Pratham since 2005, track trends in school enrollment, attendance, and academic abilities of children aged 6 to 14.
  • These reports are instrumental in shaping government policies.

Survey Details:

  • ASER 2023 covered 28 districts in 26 states, surveying 34,745 youths aged 14-18.
  • One rural district in each major state was surveyed, except Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where two districts were included.

Survey Focus: Youths were assessed on:

  • Basic reading, math, and English abilities.
  • Application of basic skills to everyday calculations.
  • Reading and understanding written instructions.
  • Real-life financial calculations.
Key Findings

Reading Proficiency:

  • 26.5% couldn’t read a Class 2-level textbook in their regional language.
  • 42.7% couldn’t read sentences in English.
  • Of those reading sentences, 26.5% didn’t understand the meaning.

Mathematics:

  • 56.7% couldn’t solve a simple 3-digit by 1-digit division problem.
  • 45% demonstrated basic arithmetic proficiency.

Everyday Calculations:

  • 85% could measure length using a scale when starting from 0 cm.
  • Dropped to 39% when starting from a different point.
Academic Streams and Technology:
  • 55.7% enrolled in Arts/Humanities, 31.7% in STEM, and 9.4% in Commerce.
  • 89% had a household smartphone, and 92% knew how to use it.
  • Males were twice as likely to own smartphones and spent more time on them.
  • 90.5% used social media, with more males (93.4%) than females (87.8%).
  • Only about half of social media users were familiar with online safety settings.

Significance of ASER 2023:

Persistent Educational Challenges:

  • Over nearly two decades, ASER reports consistently highlighted deficiencies in foundational skills like reading and basic arithmetic among elementary school children.

Extension to Older Age Group:

  • ASER 2023’s focus on youths aged 14-18 reveals a similar gap in learning outcomes at higher education levels.
  • Even at Class 10 and higher secondary levels (Classes 11 and 12), teenagers struggle with basic reading and arithmetic skills.

Skill Deficit in Adolescents:

  • The report underscores a substantial skill deficit among adolescents, who are just a few years away from entering the job market.
  • This points to a concerning scenario where educational challenges persist and impact students into their teenage years.

-Source: The Hindu


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