The Annual Status of
Education Report (ASER) was released on 14th January.
The report is based on a
survey to assess learning outcomes in school-going children.
The report was conducted in
26 districts across 24 states by education non-profit Pratham.
It revealed gender disparity
in parents opting for private schools over government schools for kids
The report shows at least 35%
students lack age-appropriate skills; Education system is failing kids in
4-8 age group
At least 25% of school
children in the four-eight age group do not have age-appropriate cognitive
and numeracy skills, making for a massive learning deficit at a very early
The government-run preschool
system is losing out to private schools in terms of enrolment, said ASER
2019, which this year focuses on early education.
The lack of age-appropriate
skills is alarming as this gap at an early age can impact the entire
education supply chain in India.
Just 37.4% of children below
six are able to recognize at least letters and only 25.6% can do
additions, according to the report.
Similarly, only 34.8% of
children in Class II can read a text meant for the level below.
And at Class III, only 50.8%
can read texts meant for their juniors two levels below.
The report underlined the
need to focus on the early years to improve the basics of education.
A focus on the “breadth of
skills” and activities that strengthen cognitive skills rather than formal
subject-learning in the early years may generate substantial benefits for
later academic performance, it said.
also showed how a better education level among mothers can lead to better
outcomes among children in preschools and early schools.
The findings also showed that
more girls are enrolled in government institutions and more boys in
Among four-five year-old
children, 56.8% of girls and 50.4% of boys were enrolled in government
schools or preschools, whereas 43.2% of girls and 49.6% of boys were
enrolled in private preschools or schools, the survey found.
The gap in enrolment between
boys and girls is larger among 6-8 year olds, with 61.1% of all girls
versus 52.1% of all boys in this age group going to a government
Most of the young mothers in
the next decade will not be very young as the median age of marriage has
increased over the years from 18.2 years in 2001 to nearly 21.7 in rural
India and 23.4 in urban India by 2016. There is also the improvement of
education among women. Such changes in the profile of young Indian mothers
need to be taken into account when thinking of the education inputs to be
designed for the young children.
Coherence between central
ministries is essential for improving early childhood education
It is also better to
encourage state and district administrations to have a greater say to make
early education effective.
ASER stands for Annual Status
of Education Report.
This is an annual survey 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
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.
The government preschool
system is managed through the Centre’s Integrated Child Development
scheme, under the ministry of women and child development, while schools
come under the education ministries at the Centre and in the states.