Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019

14th January 2020

 

At least 25% of school children in the 4-8 age group do not have age-appropriate and essential cognitive and numeracy skills, which then makes for a massive ‘’learning crisis” at a very early stage, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2019 released on 14th January 2020 in New Delhi.
Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development, Ambedkar University appreciates the ASER Centre for the Early years Survey 2019 focusing on the status of early childhood education in India, and is pleased with the fact that with the release of the survey and recognition of the early years in the National Education Policy alongwith the mention of the Índia Early Childhood Education Impact Study’ in the policy with rightly highlighting the early stage from 3 to 8 years as the foundational stage, early childhood care and education is likely to get its due.
This year the conference was focused to address the child as a whole and to bring all fields together to have new thinking, new skills and strengths so that the synergy will strengthen programs and practices and create opportunities for children to grow and develop to their fullest in whichever context they are.
CECED at the same time, shares the concerns with the findings of the report on how the lack of age-appropriate skills is alarming as this gap at an early age and how this can impact the entire education supply chain in India. The entire age band from 4 to 8 needs to be seen as a continuum, and curriculum progression across grades and schooling stages designed accordingly. For an effective and implementable curriculum, the process of designing, planning, piloting, and finalizing needs to keep ground realities in mind.
CECED, also agrees on some of the findings which suggest how Lack of school-preparedness, too little curricular emphasis on foundational literacy and numeracy, teacher capacity and health and nutrition are the primary factors of the learning crisis in India. Research has shown that the significant opportunity of interventions is lost if we miss out the early years especially under 3 age group. There is also an essential need to leverage the existing network of anganwadi centres to implement school readiness.
Focus and factoids of the report
  1. Only 16% of children in Class 1 in 26 surveyed rural districts can read text at the prescribed level, while almost 40% cannot even recognise letters
  2. Only 41% of these children could recognise two digit numbers.
  3. Only 41% of these children could recognise two digit numbers.
  4. Many Indian parents choose government schools for girls in the age group of 4 to 8 years while they favour private schools for boys.
  5. More than 90% of children in the 4-8 age group are enrolled in some type of educational institution. This proportion increases with age, from 91.3% of all 4-year-olds to 99.5% of all 8-year-olds in sampled districts.
  6. Children from less advantaged homes are disproportionately affected. Although almost half of all 4-year-olds and more than a quarter of all 5-year-olds are enrolled in anganwadis, these children have far lower levels of cognitive skill and foundational ability than their counterparts in private LKG/UKG classes.
  7. Overall, 41.7% of children in class I are of the RTE-mandated age.
  8. Also, what was interesting to note was the Role of mothers and their education in impacting the learning of the children: Among the pre-primary section, children with mothers who completed eight or fewer years of schooling are more likely to be attending anganwadis or government pre-primary classes. Whereas their peers whose mothers studied beyond the elementary stage are more likely to be enrolled in private LKG/UKG classes.