Category Archives: Publication & Reports

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.

The ‘Best of UNICEF Research 2019’ awards were announced on the UNICEF website 

The Indian Early Childhood Education Impact (IECEI) Study: Longitudinal research study in the States of Rajasthan, Assam and Telangana

 

Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED) at Ambedkar University Delhi and ASER Centre, with support from UNICEF India, conducted an Indian Early Childhood Education Impact (IECEI) study, a longitudinal, mixed method research study which is perhaps the first of its kind in India in several respects. The study was conducted in three very different states ofthe country: Assam, Rajasthan and Telangana (erstwhile Andhra Pradesh), and followed a cohort of 12000 four year old children about 12,000 four-year-old children in rural India for four years, from age 4 to age 8. The study aimed to estimate the immediate impact of early childhood education experience on school readiness levels (assessed in terms of cognitive and language concepts and psycho-social skills) of children at the age of entry to grade one and the sustained impact (of preschool experience) on children’s educational and behavioural outcomes during primary grades.
The study followed a mix method design. While the largest fraction of data collectionemployed survey methodology, a significantproportion involved the use of comprehensiveobservation tools to collect detailed informationon the quality of preschool and school facilities,staff andclassroom processes. In addition, case studiesand qualitative interviews at different pointsduring the study provide a rich and layeredunderstanding of some key ingredients of agood quality preschool, how parents think aboutwhat their young children should be doing andthe decisions they take with respect to theirchildren’s education.
The study was coordinated by CECED in partnership with Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Centre. It is multi donor study and largely funded by UNICEF
Some of the key findings were that seven out of every ten sampled four-year olds were already attending a preschool program. Participation in good quality preschools leads to higher readiness levels, which in turn lead to better early grades outcomes, but the school readiness at age 5 during school entry, the children’s school readiness is far below expectations. It was also seen that from” multi-tasked Anganwadi worker to a ‘Demand-driven private schools, the quality of preschool education is not developmentally appropriate for children. The study report was launched in 2017 by UNICEF at Central and Regional levels.
Each year, UNICEF offices around the world – including country offices, regional offices, national committees, and headquarters – are invited to submit their best and most recent examples of research for children. The aim is to bring attention to work that contributes to shifting policy agendas and has a high potential for impact on policies and programmes that benefit children. Recently, the study has been acknowledged as one of the three research projects for special recognition among the 10 finalists in the ‘Best of UNICEF Research 2019’ awards. Rigorous international selection process is followed to identify three top studies from among ten finalists.

Showcasing some of the most innovative and rigorous research coming out of UNICEF, this year’s winners cover a range of topics, locations, cultures and levels of economic development, including education in India, violence in the Middle East and North Africa, humanitarian aid in the Democratic Republic of Congo, migration, child rights, sanitation and more. This year, UNICEF Innocenti identified 10 finalists which were then independently reviewed by an external panel of international experts.

Acknowledging their originality, strong conceptualization, sound methodology, and high potential for impact, the 2019, the panel commended the rigorous nature of this research as well as the methods adopted to assess the quality of early childhood education programs.

It has been stated while announcing the award, “the choice of measures and assessment tools are considered appropriate and clearly highlight the links between school readiness and subsequent early grade outcomes.”

The ‘Best of UNICEF Research 2019’ awards were announced on the UNICEF website: https://www.unicef-irc.org/article/1921-best-of-unicef-research-2019-winners-announced.html

In 2019, CECED has also published a book on IECEI study in collaboration with ASER based on further analysis of data and findings of this study. The title of the book is “Going to school but not ready: Early childhood education and school readiness in India” and the publisher is Springer Publication. The Editors of the book was are Venita Kaul and Suman Bhattacharjea.

This book has been conceptualized primarily around the concept of school readiness which emerges as a very potent factor in the study, particularly in the context of addressing the decline in learning levels of children which is becoming a national concern.

It considers school readiness from a threefold perspective of:

(a) Are children ready for school?

(b) Are schools ready for children and

(c) Are families ready for preparing children for school?

Link of the book: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9789811370052

IECEI Quality & Diversity Report

IECEI-Study-1 Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is emerging as an area of high priority in most countries across the world. A growing body of research in the field recognizes the range of social and economic benefits from it such asbetter child well-being and learning outcomes as a foundation for lifelong learning, more equitable outcomes and reduction of poverty, and increased intergenerational social mobility. But these positive benefits are directly related to the “quality” of Early Childhood Education. The current report is based on a comprehensive survey of the quality of Early Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is emerging as an area of high priority in most countries across the world. A growing body of research in the field recognizes the range of social and economic benefits from it such as better child well-being and learning outcomes as a foundation for lifelong learning, more equitable outcomes and reduction of poverty, and increased intergenerational social mobility. But these positive benefits are directly related to the “quality” of Early Childhood Education. The current report is based on a comprehensive survey of the quality of Early experiences of children on their levels of school readiness at age 5, and subsequently on their cognitive and socio emotional levels, through the next three years. The depiction of the design of the larger study is annexed with this report (Annex 1). This report is limited to and based on data generated on quality of the ECE programmes during the pre-test phase of the larger longitudinal research.
The survey was undertaken in two istricts of each of the three states, covering a sample of 298 Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres. These centres were purposively selected on the basis of regular attendance rather than on the basis of enrolment of the children. This sample selection, thus, also indirectly reflects the emerging trends in parental choices and preferences. The sampled preschools or early childhood education programmes for 3 to 6 year olds are thus spread across public, private and voluntary sectors. The sample also includes some low-budget innovative programmes referred to as “known practices” in the report, which serve as a reference point for assessing not only “what is”, but “what is possible”, given economic constraints.For Full Report, VIEW PDF