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School enrolment fell during pandemic: ASER

Context:

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021 the percentage of rural children who were not enrolled in school doubled during the pandemic.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to education, Government Initiatives and Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the 2021 ASER report
  2. Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)

Highlights of the 2021 ASER report

  • As per report, there was an overall increase in proportion of children enrolled in govt schools in between 2018 and 2020. Enrolment increased from 64.3% to 65.8%. But in 2021, enrolment suddenly increased to 70.3%.
  • Enrolment rate in private schools has decreased as compared to last year. In 2020, enrolment rate was 28.8% which decreased to 24.4% in 2021.
  • In 2021, 73.1% school respondents received training to implement Covid-19 prevention measures.
  • Even though availability of smartphones increased to 67.6% in 2021 as compared to 36.5% in 2018, around 79% of children in private schools had smartphone at home as opposed to 63.7% children in government school.
  • Number of school-going children taking tuition increased by 40% during closure of their schools.
  • 52% of the respondents cited financial distress caused by Covid-19 pandemic as the reason of increase in enrolments in government school.

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)

  • ASER report is a nationwide survey of rural education and learning outcomes in terms of reading and arithmetic skills that has been conducted by the NGO Pratham for the last 15 years.
  • It uses Census 2011 as the sampling frame and continues to be an important national source of information about children’s foundational skills across the country.
  • ASER 2018 surveyed children in the age group of 3 to 16 years and included almost all rural districts in India and generated estimates of foundational reading and arithmetic abilities of children in the age group 5 to 16 years.
  • ASER 2019 reported on the pre-schooling or schooling status of children in the age group 4 to 8 years in 26 rural districts, focused on the “early years” and laid emphasis on “developing problem-solving faculties and building a memory of children, and not content knowledge”.
  • ASER 2020 is the first ever phone-based ASER survey and it was conducted in September 2020, the sixth month of national school closures.
  • In 2021 due to the pandemic, ASER’s 16th annual report was based on a phone survey assessing enrolment in schools and tuition classes, and access to devices and learning resources, rather than the organisation’s usual face-to-face survey which assesses learning outcomes and children’s competencies in reading and arithmetic skills.
  • The survey aimed to find out how children in aged between 5-16 studied at home since the onset of Covid-19 pandemic as well as challenges that schools & households now face in the backdrop of opening up of schools.

-Source: The Hindu

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