The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2014

Date: January 14, 2015

ASER report; Tamil nadu; Universal education;sarva siksha abhiyaan

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2014, visited 15,206 government schools with primary sections. Of these 8,844 were primaryschools and 6,362 were upper primary schools which also had primary sections. It finds that only an average 48.1 per cent of Class V children across India can read a Class II-level text. While this is an improvement from the 47 per cent in 2013, the percentage shot up to 46.9 from 31.9 in Tamil Nadu.

Important findings of the report-

■ India is close to universal enrollment for the age group 6-14, with the percentage of children enrolled in school at 96% or above for six years in a row.

■ Nationally, the percentage of children out of school (age group 6-14) remains at 3.3%, the same as the

figure last year.

■ In some states the proportion of girls (age group 11-14) out of school remains greater than 8%. These

states are Rajasthan (12.1%) and Uttar Pradesh (9.2%)

■ Although enrollment levels are very high for the age group covered by the Right to Education Act (i.e. 6 to 14 years), the proportion of 15 to 16 year olds not enrolled in school is substantial. Nationally, for rural areas, 15.9% of boys and 17.3% of girls in this age group are currently out of school.

The proportion of children enrolled in private schools has increased slightly from last year.

■ In 2014, 30.8% of all 6-14 year old children in rural India are enrolled in private schools. This number is

up slightly from 29% in 2013.

■ There are other trends which are quite worrying. For example, the percentage of children in Std II who still cannot recognize numbers up to 9 has increased over time, from 11.3% in 2009 to 19.5% in 2014.

■ Similarly, the ability to do division among Std VIII students has been dropping since 2010. The proportion of Std VIII students who could correctly do a three digit by one digit division problem was 68.3% in 2010.

This number has dropped to 44.1% in 2014.

Tamil Nadu’s success:

The survey says that Tamil Nadu has made highest gains. In Maths, the achievements made by Tamil Nadu schoolchildren are even greater than those in reading. The national average of Class V children who can do division increased from 25.6 per cent to 26.1 per cent between 2013 and 2014. In Tamil Nadu, it leapt from 14 per cent to 25.8 per cent during the period.

Experts say that Targeted teaching with adequate recruitments had resulted in the improvements in the State. In the past two years, 40,000 teachers have been recruited and teachers focus on weaker students. This, along with the incentives and teaching tools, has made a difference.

Tamil Nadu focussed a lot on improving the basics in Tamil and Maths in Classes I and II. It may also be the case that the activity-based learning in government schools is giving results now.