The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019 has been released by Pratham – a well known not-for-profit non-governmental organisation. The report features several insights and observations on the state of education in the country and is based on data collected from 596 districts by surveying 546,527 students from 354,944 homes.
According to the report, it has been observed that parents prefer private schools for the education of boys and government schools for girl students when it comes to primary education. Furthermore, in the age-group of 6-8 years, around 61.1 percent girls are enrolled in government schools as compared to 52.1 percent boys. Conversely, 47.9 percent boys are enrolled in private schools as compared to 39 percent girls. Overall, 30.9 percent of students in the age group of 6-14 were in private schools in 2018; the figure was 30.6 percent in 2016 and 30.8 percent in 2014.
It has been found that students in elementary school (Classes 1-8) are not learning well enough. For instance, only 50.3 percent students in Class 5 can read text meant for Class 2 students.
Although there has been some improvement in learning levels of students in Classes 3 and 5, in 2018, as compared to the previous five years, the improvement has not been visible at higher levels such as among students of Class 8.
The deficit across government and private schools is still there. For example, 40 percent of Class 8 students in government schools can do simple division, while the figure is 54.2 percent in private schools.
However, improvement has been observed in some states. For instance, the reading ability among Class 5 students in Kerela has increased about 10 percent in 2018 as compared to 2016. In Himachal Pradesh, the growth has been 8 percent, while in Chhattisgarh and Odisha, the growth has been near 7 percent.
Based on ASER 2019, Pratham has also made some recommendations to improve school-level education in the country. The recommendations include expansion of Anganwadi centres, enrolling students in primary grades at the right age, and undertaking curriculum development based on age groups, among others.