Daily News Analysis

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey

19th November, 2021 Society

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Context:

  • Recently, the 16th edition of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2021) survey was released. The surveyanalysed the impact of Covid-19 on learning.

Finding of the Survey:

  • Enrollment of children in government schools has leaped from 65.8 per cent to 70.3 per cent over the last one year.
  • 2% of students depend upon the private tuition up from 32.5%.This is seen as a natural outcome of families seeking external support due to the prolonged closure of schools.
  • the enrollment in private schools has dipped, for the first time in recent years, from 28.8 per cent in 2020 to 24.4 per cent in 2021.
  • there are wide variations among states, with the rise driven mainly by large northern states and all southern states, except Telangana.

 

Concern of Digital Divide:

  • 1 per cent children with smartphones at home having no access to the device.
  • Younger children are more deprived when it comes to access to smartphones, with as many as 40 per cent having no access despite having devices at home.

 

Issue of Falling Behind:

  • 4 per cent teachers flagged the problem of children being “unable to catch up” as one of their biggest challenges .
  • While the ASER survey does not shed light on learning outcomes, a sample assessment done in Karnataka in March 2021 that covered 20,000 children ages 5-15 found “steep drops” in foundational skills, especially in lower primary grades.

Silver Lining:

  • The report captured a decline in the proportion of children not currently enrolled in the 15-16 age group — the one in which the risk of dropping out is the highest.
  • The survey also found that 91.9 per cent of enrolled children have textbooks for their current grade. 
  • only about a third (33.5 per cent) of children in grades I-II of yet-to-reopen schools reported having received learning materials — print or virtual worksheets, online or recorded classes, or learning-related videos — from schools.

 

About the Report:

  • The report was prepared based on a phone survey covering 75,234 children aged 5-16 across 581 rural districts in 25 states.
  • It primarily focused on enrollment, access to learning material, digital devices, and support to children at home. 
  • As many as 76,606 households in 17,814 villages were covered under the survey.
  • It is facilitated by Pratham Education Foundation.
  • It is the oldest survey of its kind in the country.
  • It is well regarded for the range of insights it provides on levels of foundational learning at the elementary level.
  • It uses Census 2011 as the sampling frame and continues to be an important national source of information about children’s foundational skills across the country.

 

Government Steps to Promote Online Education:

  • In order to promote online education, UGC has notified necessary regulation, which facilitates the Universities to offer full-fledged Online Program.
  • Further, the current provisions of 20 per cent Online courses in a programme, as per provisions of UGC SWAYAM and ODL Regulations to be enhanced up to maximum 40 per cent for implementation considering “National interest during COVID-19” and also to ensure effective utilization of e-resources.
  • Various digital initiatives are also undertaken by Ministry of education viz. SWAYAM ("Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds"), SWAYAM Prabha, National Digital Library (NDL), Virtual Lab, e-Yantra, NEAT (National Education Alliance for technology), FOSSEE (Free Open-Source Software for Education) etc to ensure quality education to the students. 
  • To improve the internet connectivity in rural areas the CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd (CSC-SPV) of MEITY has been assigned the task of providing Fibre to the Home (FTTH) connectivity to the Government Institutions, including schools.
  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has launched a ‘Cyber Security Handbook’ to ensure safe and healthy digital habits among students.