Highlights from Newspaper

Highlights from the ASER 2023 Survey

  • The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023, themed ‘Beyond Basics,’ provides a thorough overview of the educational situation for 14- to 18-year-olds in rural India.

About ASER

  • Policymakers rely heavily on the ASER report, which has been maintained by the Pratham Education Foundation since 2005.
  • It helps people comprehend the state of education and basic learning in various domains.
  • The report is released every two years and is critical in setting education strategies.
  • ASER 2023 included 34,745 youngsters aged 14 to 18 from 28 districts across 26 states.
  • The survey assessed their reading, math, and English skills, as well as how they apply these skills in everyday life, their capacity to comprehend written instructions, and their proficiency in these disciplines.

Positive outcomes were identified

  • Increased Secondary Education Transition: Despite concerns about economic difficulties as a result of the pandemic, ASER 2023 observes a positive trend of more children in India receiving more years of education than ever before. Many people have successfully transitioned to secondary education.
  • High Overall Enrollment Rate: The survey shows an encouraging 86.8% enrollment rate for 14-18-year-olds in educational institutions. This displays a strong commitment to rural education, raising hopes for the realisation of India’s demographic dividend.

Challenges and Failures

  • Foundational Skill Gaps: Approximately 25% of the questioned youngsters struggle to read Grade 2 material, and more than half struggle with mathematical skills required in Grade 5. This highlights a major gap in basic learning, which has an impact on the quality of the country’s labour force.
  • Underutilization of Digital Technology: Although smartphones are widely available in rural households (95%), their application for educational purposes is restricted. This raises worries about the unrealized potential of technology to improve learning outcomes.
  • Gender disparities: The survey reveals differences in reading, math, and digital skills between men and women. Gender differences remain in task performance and STEM enrolment, underlining the need for targeted interventions.

Reasons for low foundational skill gaps.

  • Inadequate teacher-student ratios and training: Nearly 8% of Indian schools have only one instructor, which has an impact on educational quality. Teachers frequently lack training in modern educational methods, limiting pupils’ understanding of fundamental topics.
  • Insufficient Learning Resources: Students’ capacity to practise and reinforce core abilities suffers from a lack of access to textbooks and learning materials outside of the classroom.
  • Socioeconomic Disparities: Students from low-income families encounter obstacles such as inadequate infrastructure, a lack of educational support at home, and limited access to extracurricular activities.

Various government initiatives.

  • Several government programmes seek to solve these challenges:
  • Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) strives for Universal Elementary Education.
  • NIPUN Bharat aims to achieve universal fundamental literacy and numeracy by 2025.
  • PM-POSHAN Scheme/Mid-Day Meal Scheme: Meets the dietary requirements of school-aged children.
  • The SWAYAM Programme focuses on educational access, equity, and quality.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan: Encourages girls’ education and transition at all levels.

Key Recommendations by ASER 2023

  • Grant devolution: Divide central and state grants among local entities for direct transmission to schools.
  • Community Management of Schools: Encourage community-managed schools, with the private sector taking on schools for reform.
  • Regular School-Parent Interactions: Establish relationships with households to increase parental involvement and learning outcomes.
  • Smartphone Use for Learning: Use cellphones to deliver online modules and interactive examinations to enhance classroom instruction.
  • Indoor and outdoor sports, cultural activities, play-based learning, video films, and sound boxes can all be used as innovative teaching methods.
  • Strengthen public libraries to alleviate the paucity of learning resources.
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