Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)

Context: As schools reopened after nearly two years of closure due to COVID-19, student enrolments increased to more than pre-pandemic levels but the learning gap widened for foundational skills in reading and arithmetic, reversing several years of improvement, finds the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022, released by the NGO Pratham.

What is ASER?

  • ASER 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 today.
  • 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.

Tools and Testing

  • ASER Reading Tools – The ASER reading assessment tool consists of 4 levels: letters, words, a short paragraph (Std 1 level text), and a longer “story” (Std 2 level text). The child is marked at the highest level which she can do comfortably. 
  • ASER Maths Tool – The ASER Math tool consists of four levels: Number recognition (1-9), number recognition (11-99), two digit subtraction with borrowing, and three digit by one digit division. The child is marked at the highest level which she can do comfortably. A child who is unable to do the first level will be marked at a level called, ‘Beginner’.

Findings of the Annual Status of Education Report 2022 report

  • Enrollment – Overall increase in Enrollment Figures
    • The national-level study shows that despite school closures during the pandemic, the overall enrolment figures, which have been above 95% for the past 15 years for the 6 to 14 years age group, increased from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022.
    • Government schools have seen a sharp increase in children enrolled from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022, reversing another trend of a steady decrease in student enrolments seen since 2006, when it was at 73.4%
  • Basic Literacy Level – Reading Ability Significant dip in the abilities to read and calculate,
    • Despite the enthusiasm seen among parents and students towards schools, children’s basic literacy levels have taken a big hit, with their reading ability as compared to numeracy skills worsening much more sharply and dropping to pre-2012 levels
    • The percentage of children in Class 3 in government or private schools who were able to read at the level of Class 2 dropped from 27.3% in 2018 to 20.5% in 2022.
    • States showing a decline of more than 10 percentage points from 2018 levels include those that had higher reading levels in 2018, such as Kerala (from 52.1% in 2018 to 38.7% in 2022), Himachal Pradesh (from 47.7% to 28.4%), and Haryana (from 46.4% to 31.5%).
    • Nationally, the proportion of children enrolled in Class 5 in government or private schools who can at least read a Class 2-level text fell from 50.5% in 2018 to 42.8% in 2022.
    • The drops in basic reading ability are smaller for Class 8 students, where 69.6% of children enrolled in government or private schools who could read at least basic text in 2022 falling from 73% in 2018.
  • Arithmetic and Calculation Abilities
    • Class 3 students who were able to do at least subtract dropped from 28.2% in 2018 to 25.9% in 2022.
    • The proportion of children in Class 5 across India who can carry out division has also fallen slightly from 27.9% in 2018 to 25.6% in 2022.
    • The performance of Class 8 students in basic arithmetic is more varied. Nationally, the proportion of children who can do division has increased slightly, from 44.1% in 2018 to 44.7% in 2022. 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.
    • Children in Class 8 in government schools did significantly better in 2022 than in 2018 in Uttar Pradesh (from 32% to 41.8%) and Chhattisgarh (from 28% to 38.6%) but were significantly worse off in Punjab (from 58.4% to 44.5%).
  • Tution Classes –
    • The report also shows a surge in students attending tuition classes. Between 2018 and 2022, in all states, there is an increase in the proportion of children who attend tuition classes.
    • While families withdrew students from private schools to save money spent on tuition fees, they also invested in private tuition classes, which increased as the proportion of such students rose further from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022 in both private and government schools.
    • This may also be the reason why learning gaps are sharper in reading because students typically choose to study maths and science in tuition classes.
  • Covid Impact on Girls Education :
    • The report also lays to rest apprehensions about the pandemic forcing families to withdraw girls from schools and force them into early marriages.
    • It finds that the percentage of girls in the age group of 11-14 years who were out of school declined to 2% from 4.1%.
    • The decrease in the proportion of girls not enrolled in school is even sharper among older girls in the 15-16 years age group, which stood at 7.9% in 2022 as compared with 13.5% in 2018.

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action