The number of students enrolled in schools in the 6-14 age-group increased to 98.4% in 2022 from 97.2% in 2018, with a higher number of children enrolled in government schools than private schools. But the number of those taking private tuitions has seen a jump. Also, there is an alarming drop in learning levels in classes 3 and 5, as per the findings of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022 that assesses learning outcomes across rural districts in the country, which was released on Wednesday.
The last such ASER report was released in 2018. The survey findings are important in view of the last two years of the pandemic that saw massive school closures and learning loss across the country. Also, according to the surveyors, the report assumes importance, as it is being released after the new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, which lays major focus on foundational literacy and numeracy.
“Only one in five children in class 3 are able to read a class 2 level text in 2022, down from roughly one in four children in 2018, with huge variations across states,” the report stated.
The findings are based on the survey of 7 lakh children across 19,060 villages, 616 districts. It covered over 17,000 government schools. The survey covers parameters such as school enrolment and attendance, basic arithmetic, reading and writing skills.
“During the pandemic years, no nationally representative data was available. We did phone surveys in the districts to collect data. ASER 2022 learning estimates data will be important to evaluate and understand the impact of the pandemic on children in school. The survey tracks the situation from learning loss to recovery,” Wilima Wadhwa, director, ASER centre, said.
Attendance patterns, both for children and teachers have remained steady over time, ASER 2022 survey reveals. All-India (rural) figures for children’s attendance remains close to 72%, while that for teachers is a little above 85%. “However, there continues to be wide variation across states with UP, MP, Bihar, Tripura among states with lowest attendance rate while Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have over 86% enrolled students attending schoo,” the report states.
There is considerable variation in rural India, in the proportion of children who are enrolled in government schools. However, in almost all states, there has been a rise in government school enrollment between 2018 and 2022. Currently 72.4% children are enrolled in government schools in rural India.
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