Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2018
Since 2005, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has provided data from across the country on schooling and the ability of children (in the 3-16 age group) to do basic reading and arithmetic.
Coordinated by Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation Pratham, the ASER survey is carried out in almost all districts of the country by representatives of NGOs, colleges, universities, district-level educational institutes and teacher training institutes, among other entities.
ASER 2018 is the
report of the 13th such annual survey in 596 districts, which covered 354,944
households and 546,527 children, and 15,998 government schools. The
report also compares data on enrollment and attendance, reading and arithmetic,
and school facilities collected by ASER surveys between 2005 and 2018.
Since 2007, more than 95 per cent of children in the 6-14 age group have been enrolled in a
government school. In 2018, only 2.8 per cent of children in this age group were not enrolled
in school – the first time this percentage fell below 3 per cent since 2007.
In 2018, 4.1 per cent of girls in the 11-14 age group were not enrolled in school compared to
10.3 per cent in 2006. Among girls between 15 and 16, 13.5 per cent were not enrolled in
school in 2018, compared to over 20 per cent in 2008.
No major change was seen in attendance in 2018 at the all-India level. For several years, the
average school teacher attendance was around 85 per cent and the average student attendance
around 72 per cent, in both primary and upper primary schools.
The survey tested reading – whether or not a child can read letters, words, a simple paragraph
(Class 1 level of difficulty) or a story (Class 2 level of difficulty). Around 27.2 per cent of
Class 3 children across the country could read Class 2 level material in 2018, up from 21.6
per cent of Class 3 children in 2013.
In 2018, 50.3 per cent of all children in Class 4 could read at least a Class 2 level text, up
from 47.9 per cent in 2016. Of all the children enrolled in Class 8 (the last year of compulsory
schooling in India) in 2018, around 73 per cent could read at least a Class 2 level text. This
number was unchanged from 2016.
The survey’s arithmetic test assessed whether children could recognise numbers from 1 to 9,
10 to 99, do a two-digit subtraction problem, or solve a three-digit by one-digit division
problem. The all-India figures for Class 3 children who could do at least subtraction were
27.8 per cent in 2016 and 28.1 per cent in 2018. Among the Class 8 students surveyed in
2018, 44 per cent could solve a three-digit by one-digit division problem correctly.
At the all-India level, the proportion of girls who could read at least a Class 2 level text was
very similar to that of boys – around 77 per cent. However, 50 per cent of all boys in this age
group could correctly solve a division problem, compared to 44 per cent of all girls.
Nationally, in 2018, 4 out of every 10 government primary schools that ASER surveyors
visited had less than 60 students. The percentage of such schools increased every year over
the last decade – from 26.1 per cent in 2009 and 43.3 per cent in 2018.
Since the Right to Education (RTE) Act was implemented in 2010, substantial improvements
are visible at the national level. The number of schools with usable toilets for girls doubled
(reaching 66.4 per cent in 2018); schools with boundary walls increased by 13.4 per cent
(reaching to 64.4 per cent in 2018); and schools with textbooks and other kinds of books
increased from 62.6 per cent in 2010 to 74.2 in 2018. However, national averages hide major
variations across states, with marked deficiencies in Jammu and Kashmir and most of the
ASER 2018 also surveyed sports infrastructure in schools. It found that around 8 out of every
10 schools had a playground for students, either within the school premises or close by. But
only 5.8 per cent of all primary schools and 30.8 per cent of upper primary schools had a
physical education teacher. Around 55.8 per cent of primary schools and 71.5 per cent of
upper primary schools had some kind of sports equipment.
Focus and Factoids by Ajay Srinivasmurthy.
ASER Centre, New Delhi
15 Jan, 2019