Highlights of ASER 2022

Pratham’s Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2022, the first comprehensive report since the pandemic, has now been released.


  • This is an annual survey (published by the education non-profit Pratham) aimed at providing reliable estimates of children’s enrolment and basic learning levels in each district and state in India.
  • Since 2005, ASER has been held in all rural districts of India. It is India’s largest citizen-led survey.
  • It is also India’s only annual source of information on children’s learning outcomes.
  • The survey is usually conducted every two years.

How is the survey carried out?

  • Pratham’s research and assessment arm, ASER Centre, creates ASER tools and procedures.
  • The ASER Centre coordinates the survey, which is made possible by the Pratham network. It is carried out by approximately 30,000 volunteers from partner organisations in each district.
  • ASER works with a wide range of institutions, including colleges, universities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), youth organisations, women’s organisations, self-help groups, and others.
  • The ASER model has been adopted in a number of countries around the world, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Pakistan, Mali, and Senegal.

Parameters of evaluation

  • ASER, in contrast to most other large-scale learning assessments, is a household-based survey rather than a school-based survey.
  • This design allows all children to be included, including those who have never attended school or have dropped out, as well as those who attend government, private, religious, or other schools.
  • Each rural district has 30 villages sampled. Twenty randomly selected households are surveyed in each village.
  • Information on schooling status is collected for all children aged 3 to 16 living in sampled households.
  • Children aged 5 to 16 are tested in basic reading and arithmetic. All children are given the same test.
  • The highest level of reading tested corresponds to what is expected in std 2; this test was given in 16 regional languages in 2012.
  • In recent years, this has included information on household size, parental education, and some household assets.

Highlights of ASER 2022

The ASER 2022 report, which surveyed 6.99 lakh children aged 3 to 16 across 616 rural districts, however, bears some good news. School-level enrolment continues to grow strong and fewer girls are now out of school.

(1) Enrolment

  • India has recorded a 95% enrolment for the last 15 years in the 6-14 age group.
  • Despite the forced school closures caused by the pandemic, the figure increased from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022.
  • Only 1.6% of children are currently not enrolled.
  • Enrollment in government schools (6-14) is rising across states, rising from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022.
  • This is in contrast to the 2006-14 trend, which saw a steady decline in government school enrollment for children aged 6 to 14.
  • From 10.3% of 11-14 year old girls not enrolled in school in 2006 to 4.1% in 2018 and 2% in 2022, the proportion has decreased. Except for Uttar Pradesh, where it is 4%, the figure is lower across the board.

(2) Learning Loss

  • The ASER 2022 report says that children’s basic reading ability has dropped to ‘pre2012 levels, reversing the slow improvement achieved in the intervening years’.
  • The decline is seen across genders and in both public and private schools, and it is more pronounced in lower grades.
  • The percentage of children in Class III in public or private schools who can read at the Class II level has fallen from 27.3% in 2018 to 20.5% in 2022.
  • The proportion of Class V students who can read at least a Class II level text has decreased from 50.5% in 2018 to 42.8% in 2022.
  • In 2022, 69.6% of Class VIII students nationwide can read at least basic text, down from 73% in 2018.

(3) Arithmetic abilities

  • Students in Class III who can perform at least one subtraction operation fell from 28.2% in 2018 to 25.9% in 2022.
  • Students who can do division in Class V have also decreased from 27.9% in 2018 to 25.6% in 2022.
  • Class VIII performed better, with an increase in the proportion of children who can do division from 44.1% in 2018 to 44.7% in 2022.
  • According to ASER, this increase is driven by improved outcomes among girls and children enrolled in government schools, while boys and children enrolled in private schools show a decrease over 2018 levels.

(4) Tuition dependency

  • Rural India has seen an increase in Class I-VIII paid tuition classes, rising from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022.
  • The proportion of children receiving paid private tuition increased by 8 percentage points in UP, Bihar, and Jharkhand.

(5) English proficiency

  • ASER last recorded English abilities in 2016, and the trend has remained consistent to this day.
  • The ability of children to read simple English sentences was 24.7% in 2016 and is expected to be 24.5% in 2022.
  • Class VIII has improved slightly, rising from 45.3% in 2016 to 46.7% in 2022.
  • Children’s basic reading ability has reverted to pre-2012 levels, reversing the slow improvement seen in the intervening years, while basic maths skills have fallen to 2018 levels nationally.

(6) Schools improvement

  • Average teacher attendance rose from 85.4% in 2018 to 87.1% in 2022, while average student attendance remained unchanged at 72%.
  • In 90.1% of primary schools and 84.4% of upper primary schools, textbooks had been distributed to all grades.
  • The percentage of schools with usable girls’ restrooms increased from 66.4% in 2018 to 68.4% in 2022.
  • There were 76% of schools with drinking water facilities, up from 74.85% in 2018, but there are interstate differences.
  • In 2022, 68.9% of schools would have a playground, up from 66.5% in 2018.

Way ahead

  • We’ve seen progress in the last ten years, but it’s been incremental. As a result, we really need to shake things up.
  • It is critical for increasing the country’s productivity. Business as usual will not suffice.
  • Again, this is not a new message, but it is one that must be repeated.
  • Anganwadi centres can be found everywhere, and enrollment has increased. Integration of the Anganwadi and school systems is critical because the work begins there.
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