School education

Low on quality

Print edition : July 08, 2016
Primary enrolment rates remain very high across the nation, but there is room for improvement in other metrics in several States.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for 2014 from Pratham, a non-government organisation that has been publishing such reports since 2005, paints a mixed picture of the state of education in the country in terms of quality of instruction and learning and availability of essential amenities such as drinking water, toilets and library books.

The report says that India is close to universal enrolment for the age group 6-14, with enrolment levels at 96 per cent or more for the sixth year in a row in 2014. Encouraging as that is, the survey’s findings on metrics such as children’s ability to read and do basic arithmetic remain worrisome, with the number of children who pass muster still remaining dishearteningly low.

The report says: “Overall, the situation with basic reading continues to be extremely disheartening in India. In 2014, in Std III, only a fourth of all children can read a Std II text fluently. This number rises to just under half in Std V.”

The report also found that several States were poor performers in the areas of providing drinking water and usable toilets and library books.

ASER 2014 reached 577 rural districts across India. The survey was carried out in 16,497 villages, covering 341,070 households and 569,229 children.