NGO Pratham has released Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019
What is it?
- ASER is a nation-wide household survey that provides data on children’s schooling and learning for a representative sample of children across rural India.
- Children in the age group 3 to 16 are surveyed to find out their enrollment status in pre-school or school.
- Children in the age group 5 to 16 are assessed one-on-one to understand their basic reading and arithmetic abilities.
- Since 2005, ASER continues to be the only annual source of information about children’s foundational skills across the country.
Aim of ASER-2019
In 2019, ASER aims to shine the spotlight on the early years, reporting on the schooling status as well as on a range of important developmental indicators for young children in the age group 4 to 8 across 26 districts in the country
About ASER-2019 report
- ASER ‘Early Years’ reports on the pre-schooling or schooling status of children in the age group 4 to 8 and, in addition, explores their performance on some competencies that international research has identified as important predictors of future success.
- These competencies have been categorized into four domains:
- Cognitive development
- Early language
- Early numeracy and
- Social and emotional development
Key findings of the report
- It directs attention to children between four and eight years of age and suggests that India’s learning crisis could be linked to the weakness of the country’s pre-primary system.
- As per the report, more than 20 per cent of students in Standard I are less than six, ASER 2019 reveals — they should ideally be in pre-school.
- 36 per cent of students in Standard 1 are older than the RTE-mandated age of six.
- The survey shows that among Class 1 children who could correctly do none or only one of the tasks requiring cognitive skills, about 14% could read words, while 19% could do single-digit addition.
- However, of those children who could correctly do all three cognitive tasks, 52% could read words, and 63% could solve the additional problem.
- ASER data shows that children’s performance on tasks requiring cognitive skills is strongly related to their ability to do early language and numeracy tasks
- Of six-year olds in Class 1, 41.5% of those in private schools could read words in comparison to only 19% from government schools. Similarly, 28% of those in government schools could do simple addition as against 47% in private schools
- The report also found that a classroom could include students from a range of age-groups, skewing towards younger children in government schools. More than a quarter of Class 1 students in government schools are only 4 or 5 years old, younger than the recommended age. The ASER data shows that these younger children struggle more than others in all skills. Permitting underage children into primary grades puts them at a learning disadvantage which is difficult to overcome
- The emphasis, as ASER 2019 emphasizes, should be on “developing problem-solving faculties and building memory of children, and not content knowledge”
- ASER 2019 talks about leveraging the existing network of Anganwadi centres to implement school readiness
- According to the report, there is a need to expand and upgrade Anganwadis to ensure that children get adequate and correct educational inputs of the kind that are not modeled after the formal school