ASER stands for the Annual Status of Education Report and seeks to include an annual report on the basic learning rates of children across the country for each district and state. ASER survey uses the 2011 census as a sample, which is the only annual source that provides information on the results of children's enrolment, schooling and foundation skills in India.
Why in News
The latest edition of ASER directs attention to children between four and eight years of age and suggests that India‘s learning crisis could be linked to the weakness of the country‘s pre primary system.
ASER 2019 surveyed 24 states in 26 rural districts.
For this study, approximately 37,000 children of the age group of 4-8 years were asked about a range of activities to assess cognitive abilities.
As a result, studies found that investing more time in teaching isn't the best solution.
- Studies claim that only 41 percent of children could understand two digits, while nearly 40 percent are unable to identify letters that draw surveyor’s attention to concentrate on cognitive skills that can make a major difference to basic literacy and numeracy skills.
- Social and emotional development was tracked through activities using cards with faces showing happiness, sadness, anger and fear.
- The survey shows that among Class-1 children who could correctly do none or only one of the tasks requiring cognitive skills--about 14% could read words, while 19% could do single digit addition.
- Only 16% of children in Class 1 in 26 surveyed rural districts can read text at the prescribed level.
IMPORTANCE OF EARLY EDUCATION
ASER has been running every five years since 2005 then it switched to an alternate year cycle in 2016 in all rural Indian districts.
The early years that it is considered to be the age of 0-8, it is internationally established that is the most critical phase of achievement in cognitive, sensory and socio-emotional evolution in the period of human life.
The ASER report shows that there are many factors which determine the quality of education received at this point, including the child's home history ,especially that of the mother level of education; form of school, be it anganwadis, government schools or private pre-schools, and age of the child in class 1.
- Children more than eight years of schooling or less are likely to attend anganwadi, these anganwadi centers need to extend and improve the current network and early childhood components of the integrated child development scheme.
- In alternating years ASER focuses on various facets of children's learning and education like in 2017 the emphasis was on youth experience, skills and aspirations.
- There is an immediate need for a reworking of curriculum and the programs for the entire age range from four to eight, cutting through all forms of pre-schools and early grades irrespective of whether the service comes from government departments or private agencies.
- Strengthening the components of early childhood in the ICDS program will be of great benefit in increasing the readiness of young children to learn.
- 2020 is the 10th anniversary of the RTE Act. It is the best time to concentrate on early education and ensure they complete secondary school as well-equipped and well-rounded Indian people 10 years later.