20 Key findings of the annual status of education report

ASER, focusing on the age group 14-18, examined the basic intellect of the youth by collecting their response to simple questions

Picture courtesy: ASER report
Picture courtesy: ASER report

NH Web Desk

Beyond Basics’, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017, conducted by Pratham, was released in New Delhi on January 16. ASER, focusing on older age group this time (14-18), examined the basic intellect of the youth by collecting their response to simple questions.

Picture courtesy: ASER report
Picture courtesy: ASER report

ASER 2017 was carried out in a total of 28 districts of 24 states. About 2000 volunteers from 35 partner institutions, visited more than 25,000 households in 1641 villages, surveying more than 30,000 14 to 18-year-olds in all.

Picture courtesy: ASER report
Picture courtesy: ASER report

Here are the key findings of the report:

  • Overall, 86 per cent of youth in the 14-18 age group are still within the formal education system, either in school or in college.
  • More than half of all youth in this age group are enrolled in Std X or below (54%). Another 25 per cent are either in Std XI or XII, and 6 per cent are enrolled in undergraduate and other degree courses. Only 14 per cent are not currently enrolled in any form of formal education.
  • The enrollment gap between males and females in the formal education system increases with age. There is hardly any difference between boys’ and girls’ enrollment at age 14; but at age 18, 32 per cent females are not enrolled as compared to 28 per cent males.
  • The proportion of youth not enrolled in school or college increases with age. At age 14, the percentage of youth not enrolled is 5 per cent. By age 18, this figure increases to 30 per cent.
  • More than half struggle with division problems. 43 per cent can solve these problems correctly. Division in ASER is practiced as proxy to test basic arithmetic operations
  • 53 per cent of all 14-year olds in the sample can read English sentences. For 18 year old youths, this figure is closer to 60 per cent. Of those who can read English sentences, 79 per cent can explain the meaning of the sentence
  • Even among youth in the age group who have completed eight years of schooling, a significant proportion lacks foundational skills like reading and math.
  • Although reading ability in regional language and English seems to improve slightly with age, the same does not seem to apply to math.
  • 76 per cent of youth could not count money correctly. 90 per cent have arithmetic skills
  • 56 per cent could add weights correctly in kilograms, 76 per cent have basic math skills
  • A substantial proportion of youth in the 14-18 age group are working (42 per cent), regardless of whether they are enrolled in formal education or not. Of those who work, 79 per cent work in agriculture – almost all on their own family’s farm. Also, more than three quarters of all youth do household chores daily – 77 per cent of males and 89 per cent of females.
  • Shown a map of India, 14 per cent couldn’t identify it, 36 per cent couldn’t name the country’s capital and 21 per cent could not answer the state they live in, findings that expose the pathetic state of education in rural India.
  • Mobile phone usage is widespread in the 14-18 age group. 73 per cent of the young people had used a mobile phone within the last week. Significant gender differences are visible. While only 12 per cent of males had never used a mobile phone, this number for females is much higher at 22 per cent
  • Mobile usage rises significantly with age. Among 14-year-olds, 64 per cent had used a mobile phone in the last week. That figure for 18-year-olds is 82 per cent.
  • *86 per cent of youth could calculate the length of an object if it was placed at the 0 mark on the ruler. But when the object was placed elsewhere on the ruler, only 40 per cent could give the right answer
  • Applying discounts: 38 per cent of youth can do computation correctly – how much to pay after discount?
  • 28 per cent had used the Internet and 26 per cent had used the computers in the last week. 59 per cent had never used a computer. 64 per cent had never used Internet
  • Girls have far lower access to computer and Internet as compared to boys: 49 per cent males have never used Internet, close to 76 per cent females have never used done so
  • 75 per cent have their own bank account; 16 per cent used the ATMs, 5 per cent have done transaction using payment apps or mobile
  • 60 per cent want to study beyond class 12. This percentage is almost half among the youth who could not read standard two textbooks fluently
Picture courtesy: ASER report
Picture courtesy: ASER report

According to the report, the most preferred career among the youth is medicine with 18.1 per cent wanting to be either a doctor or a nurse. The craze for engineering is going down with only 11.6 per cent teenagers keen to pursue it. While boys wish to join the Army, or go for police jobs (17.6 per cent), teaching is the most common preference among the females (25.1 per cent). Significantly, however, only 1.2 per cent of rural youth aspire to work in the agriculture sector.

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