ASER 2009

aserThe Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) on rural India brought out by Pratham, a NGO appreciates the Government efforts in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Pratha volunteers have covered 564 districts, 16,198 villages and 3.35 lakh households. According to the report only 2.7% children in the age group of 7-10 and 6.3% in the11-14 years group are not attending school. In 2007, there was 4.2% of 6-14 age group were out of school and in 2006 this was 6.6%. it is heartening to see decline in the out of school children.

 

Bihar has pushed nearly 8 of its 6-14 age group children into school in the last two years. From 13.1% out of school children in the age group of 6-14 in 2005 now the number is down to 5.7% in the state. Likewise there is a drastic decline in 11-14 age group of out of school children. From 20.1% it has declined to 8.8%. This comes as a sweet news from the most poor state. But one of the richest state – Gujarat has shown a decline in the student enrolement. The state has shown a downward trend in the enrolement, in recognizing basic numbers, identifying sentences, addition and subtraction and other fundamental reading abilities.

 

The report puts Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh in the forefront of reading ability and arithmetic. These states have improved dramatically in the last few years. Class three students reading class one text has gone up from 31% in 2007 to 70% in 2008. Similarly the proportion of class five children who could read class second text has moved from 58% to 75% in 2008. 91% of the children in Chattisgarh are said to be good in basic maths.

 

There is some contradictions between the NCERT survey and Pratham report. While the former survey tests student’s abilities in science, maths, social science and English from they are in, Pratham survey asks student’s to read two classes below they are in. The government surveys on children are actual information provided by the local administration including infrastructures whereas Pratham conducts a sample survey.

 

According to Pratham’ ASER there are primary schools within 1 km of 92.5% rural habitations while 67.1% villages have government middle schools. There are private schools in 45.6% of villages. In fact, as already established by the more rigorous NUEPA survey, there has been a large-scale operation of private schools which saw an upward trend of 16.4% in 2005 to 22.5% in 2008.

 

There is 37.2% increase in the private school enrolment in comparison to the 2005 survey. Kerala and Goa has half of its children in the private schools aided by the government.  95.5% in Kerala and 70% in Goa private schools are government aided.

 

To improve the quality of primary education the Government should not spare any effort. It must pump all resources to bring the out of school into the basic education system and retain them till they complete secondary schooling. All the poor children should be put in vocational training if they are not able to move into the higher education. They should be provided quality job after they come out of vocational training. This can solve poverty in long term.

    

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