Enrollment rate rises in Bihar schools- ASER

In 2010, girls in the 11-14 age group joined school in rural India besides a huge number of five-year-olds, but the quality of education, especially in reading and mathematics, remained low. The percentage of Class 1 children who can recognize numbers one to nine has decreased, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2010 which was released in Bihar praised the state for its student enrolment. “Bihar's performance has been commendable”, the report said. The percentage of out-of-school boys and girls in the state has been declining since 2005. In 2006, 12.3 per cent boys and 17.6 per cent girls in the age group of 11-14 were out of school. But the number came down sharply. By 2010, the number dipped to 4.4 per cent for boys and 4.6 per cent for girls in Bihar. Conducted every year since 2005, ASER is facilitated by the NGO Pratham and is an annual survey of children in rural India. The report was released by Vice President Hamid Ansari in the capital. Among its key findings, 5.9 per cent girls in the age group of 11-14 were out of school in 2010 nationwide. This percentage has come down compared to 6.8 per cent in 2009. It also found an increase in the enrolment of five year olds in school. It increased from 54.9 per cent in 2009 to 62.8 percent in 2010. There has also been an increase in enrolment in private schools – from 21.8 per cent in 2009 to 24.3 percent in 2010. However, as far as the quality of education is concerned, reading and math ability of children have hardly shown any improvement. The report said, “Even after five years in school, close to half of all children are not even at the level expected of them after two years in school. Only 53.4 per cent children in Class 5 could read a Class 2 level text.”