Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022

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    Context 

    • ASER, a nationwide citizen-led household survey that provides a snapshot of children’s schooling and learning in rural India has been released.

    About ASER

    • The first ASER was conducted in 2005 and repeated annually for ten years.
    • Coverage: ASER is a rural survey, and urban areas are not covered in it. ASER 2022 reached almost 700,000 children in over 19,000 villages across 616 districts in India, and generated district, state, and national level estimates of children’s enrolment status and foundational skills.
    • Methodology: Unlike most other large-scale learning assessments, 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.
      • Information on schooling status is collected for all children in the age group 3-16 living in sampled households. 
      • Children in the age group 5-16 are tested in basic reading and basic arithmetic. 
    • Who conducts the survey? ASER tools and procedures are designed by ASER Centre, the research and assessment arm of Pratham, which is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the country created to improve the quality of education in India.
    • Significance: ASER has had a major influence in bringing the issue of learning to the centre of the stage in discussions and debates on education in India.
      • ASER data has been used in many reports such as NITI Aayog’s 3-Year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, Economic Survey of India 2021-22, and World Bank’s World Development Report 2018.

    Findings – Enrolment and attendance

    • Overall enrolment: The enrolment rate for the 6 to 14 age group has been above 95% for the past 15 years. Despite school closures during the pandemic, overall enrolment figures have increased from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022.
    • Government school enrolment: The proportion of children (aged 6 to 14) enrolled in government schools increased sharply from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022. 
    • The proportion of girls who are not currently enrolled: In 2022, the all-India figure for 11-14-year-old girls not enrolled in school stands at 2%. This figure is around 4% only in Uttar Pradesh and is lower in all other states.
      • The proportion of 15-16-year-old girls not enrolled has continued to drop, standing at 7.9% in 2022. Only 3 states have more than 10% of girls in this age group out of school: Madhya Pradesh (17%), Uttar Pradesh (15%), and Chhattisgarh (11.2%).
    • Enrolment in the pre-primary age group: Across rural India, the proportion of 3-year-olds enrolled in some form of early childhood education stands at 78.3% in 2022, an increase of 7.1 percentage points over 2018 levels. 

    Findings – Paid private tuition classes

    • Nationally, the proportion of children in Standard I-VIII taking paid private tuition classes increased from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022.

    Findings- Learning levels: Foundational skills in reading and arithmetic

    • Nationally, children’s basic reading ability has dropped to pre-2012 levels, reversing the slow improvement achieved in the intervening years. Drops are visible in both government and private schools in most states, and for both boys and girls.
    • Nationally, children’s basic arithmetic levels have declined over 2018 levels for most grades. But the declines are less steep and the picture is more varied than in the case of basic reading.
    • Nationally, children’s ability to read simple English sentences has stayed more or less at the 2016 level for children in Standard V (from 24.7% in 2016 to 24.5% in 2022). Slight improvements are visible for children in Standard VIII (from 45.3% in 2016 to 46.7% in 2022).

    Findings – School observations

    Small schools and multigrade classrooms

    • The proportion of government schools with less than 60 students enrolled has increased every year over the last decade. 
    • The states with the highest proportion of small schools in 2022 include Himachal Pradesh (81.4%) and Uttarakhand (74%). 
    • However, some states show a decrease in the fraction of small schools, such as Uttar Pradesh (from 62.2% in 2018 to 57.7% in 2022) and Kerala (from 17% in 2018 to 13.4% in 2022).

    Teacher and student attendance 

    • At the All-India level, no major change is seen in students’ and teachers’ attendance. Average teacher attendance increased slightly, from 85.4% in 2018 to 87.1% in 2022. Average student attendance continues to hover at around 72% for the past several years.

    School facilities

    • The fraction of schools with useable girls’ toilets increased from 66.4% in 2018 to 68.4% in 2022. 
    • The proportion of schools with drinking water available increased from 74.8% to 76%, and the proportion of schools with books other than textbooks being used by students increased from 36.9% to 44% over the same period.
    • Most sports-related indicators also remain close to the levels observed in 2018. In 2022, 68.9% of schools have a playground, up slightly from 66.5% in 2018.

    Initiatives by the Government of India for Promoting Elementary Education 

    • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan under the Samagra Shiksha
    • Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) Scheme
    • Mahila Samakhya Programme
    • Strengthening for providing quality Education in Madrassas ( SPQEM)

    Source: TH