Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ASER 2013: no significant improvement in learning to read

The provisional Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for rural India is out.

Highlights from the section "The National Picture".
  • Enrollment in the 6-14 age group continues to be very high, with more than 96% of children in school. The proportion of out of school girls in the 11 to 14 age group has declined since last year.
  • Nationally, there is a slight increase over 2012 in private school enrollment. The proportion of children taking paid private tuition classes has also increased slightly since last year.
  • Since last year no significant improvement is visible in children’s ability to read - nationally, 47% of 5th class children in government and private schools were able to read a 2nd class text. Among Std. V children enrolled in government schools, the percentage of children able to read Std. II level text decreased from 50.3% (2009) to 43.8% (2011) to 41.1% (2013).
  • Children are still struggling with basic arithmetic.
During ASER 2013, 14,724 government schools with primary sections were
visited across rural India. Observations:
  • Teacher attendance holds steady, but student attendance drops.
  • The proportion of “small schools” in the government primary school sector is growing (with total enrollment of 60 students or less).
  • Compliance with most measurable Right to Education (RTE) norms continues to grow.
  • the percentage of schools with no drinking water facility has declined from 17% in 2010 to 15.2% in 2013. In 7 states, more than 80% of schools visited had both the facility and drinking water was available.
  • significant increase in the proportion of schools with a useable toilet, from 47.2% in 2010 to 62.6% in 2013. In 2010, 31.2% of all schools visited did not have a separate toilet for girls. This number has declined to 19.3% in 2013. The percentage of useable toilets for girls has also increased from 32.9% in 2010 to 53.3% in 2013.
  • steady increase in the provision of libraries in schools that have been visited. The All India figure for schools with no library provision dropped from 37.4% in 2010 to 22.9% in 2013.
  • mid-day meal was observed being served on the day of the visit in 87.2% of schools. This year, in 14 states, mid-day meals were seen in more than 90% of schools visited.
The report notes the increasing prevalence of private schools and private tuition in rural India. On this matter, the article in the report by Wilima Wadhwa : "Private inputs into schooling : Bang for the buck?" notes:

"One thing to note here is that while private school learning levels may be higher than those in government schools, children in private schools also are far below grade competency. For instance, in 2013, the proportion of Std. 5 children who could read a Std. 2 level text is 41.1% in government schools. The corresponding number for private schools is 63.3%- indicating that one third of children even in private schools are at least 2 grades behind in reading ability."

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