ASER Report 2021
- November 18, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
ASER Report 2021
Subject – Governance
Context – ‘School enrolment fell during pandemic’
- The sixteenth Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2021 was released online on 17th November 2021
- Every year from 2005 to 2014, and then every alternate year till 2018, ASER has reported on the schooling status of children in the 5-16 age group across rural India and their ability to do basic reading and arithmetic tasks.
- Last year, COVID-19 interrupted this trajectory, along with so much else.
- In 2020, ASER developed an entirely new design, consisting of a phone-based survey that explored children’s access to learning opportunities.
- With the pandemic extending into yet another year, field-based survey operations were still not possible on a national scale. As a consequence, ASER 2021 followed the same format of a phone-based survey.
- Conducted in September-October 2021, eighteen months after the first lockdown, the survey explores how children in the age group of 5-16 studied at home since the onset of the pandemic and the challenges that the schools and households now face as schools reopen across states.
ASER 2021 FINDINGS
- The percentage of rural children who were not enrolled in school doubled during the pandemic, with government schools seeing an increase in enrolment at the expense of private schools, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2021.
- Over a third of children enrolled in Classes 1 and 2 have never attended school in person.
- In 2018, only 2.5% of children were not enrolled in school. In both the 2020 and 2021 surveys, that figure had jumped to 4.6%.
School Enrollment Patterns
- At an all-India level, there has been a clear shift from private to government schools.
- No change in children aged 6-14 not enrolled in school: The proportion of children not currently enrolled in school increased from 1.4% to 4.6% in 2020. This proportion remained unchanged between 2020 and 2021
- More older children in school than ever before: Among older children in the age group of 15-16, an increase in government school enrollment from 57.4% in 2018 to 67.4%.
- Big increase in children taking tuition: At an all-India level, in 2018, less than 30% children took private tuition classes. In 2021, this proportion has jumped to almost 40%. This proportion has increased across both sexes and all grades and school types.
- Tuition is up across the country.
- Increase in tuition-taking highest among the less advantaged: Taking parental education as a proxy for economic status, the proportion of children with parents in the ‘low’ education category who are taking tuition increased by 12.6 percentage points, as opposed to a 7.2 percentage point increase among children with parents in the ‘high’ education category.
Access To Smartphones
- Smartphone ownership has almost doubled since 2018
- Household economic status makes a difference in smartphone availability: As parents’ education level increases (a proxy for economic status), the likelihood that the household has a smartphone also increases
- Smartphone availability does not translate into access for children: Although over two thirds of all enrolled children have a smartphone at home (67.6%), over a quarter of these have no access to it (26.1%). There is also a clear pattern by grade, with more children in higher classes having access to a smartphone as compared to children in lower grades.
Learning Support At Home
- Learning support at home has decreased over the last year.
- School reopening is driving decreasing support: Among both government and private school going children, those whose schools have reopened get less support from home.
Access To Learning Materials
- Almost all children have textbooks: Almost all enrolled children have textbooks for their current grade (91.9%).
- Slight increase in additional materials received: Overall, among enrolled children whose schools had not reopened, 39.8% children received some kind of learning materials or activities (other than textbooks) from their teachers during the reference week.