ASER 2022 Observes Key Shifts in Rural Education System Pattern

The Annual Status of Education Report [ASER] 2022 was halted post 2018 due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and has been recently released on January 18, with findings showing an improving state education system in rural belts across India.

ASER 2022 Observes Key Shifts in Rural Education System Pattern

ASER 2022 is a nationwide citizen-led rural household survey — that reached almost 700,000 children in over 19,000 villages across 616 districts in India to understand the education system patterns of rural India. Photo by ASER 2022 report.

In the past four years, between 2018 and 2022, a shift has been observed from private schools to government schools. While 30.9 per cent of children were enrolled in private schools in 2018, the figure dropped to 25.1 per cent in 2022. This 5.8 percentage decrease amounts to a sudden 19 per cent drop in private school enrollment, and an 11 per cent increase in rural government school enrollment.

These are some of the key findings of Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022, which was released three days back on January 18. The release of this report marks the resumption of nation-wide field operations for the first time since the pandemic.

The nationwide citizen-led rural household survey — that reached almost 700,000 children in over 19,000 villages across 616 districts in India — aims to understand whether children in rural India are enrolled in school and whether they are learning. This was conducted in partnership with District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs), and its findings are part of the ASER 2022.

The survey also found that mobile phones and smartphones are a recent new normal for rural families, with 95.8 per cent household with a cell phone in 2022, as against 90.2 per cent in 2018. Over the same period, the proportion of households with smartphones has doubled from 36 per cent to 74.8 per cent, with many states going above 90 per cent.

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The survey also observed that contrary to the fears of increased drop-out rate, the already low proportion of not-enrolled children in the 6-14 age group has halved from 2.8 per cent to 1.6 per cent over four years. Additionally, a shift was observed from private schools to government schools, assumed to be due to economic stress.

The National Education Policy of 2020 emphasises the importance of foundational literacy and numeracy [FLN]. ASER 2022 envisages a teaching model in which the school is a place that serves partly as a day-care centre for the 3-8 or 3-10 age group in a village and partly as a place for learning foundational skills and knowledge.

Data samples from the ASER 2022 survey reflect that at the all-India level, 81 per cent schools responded that they had received a directive to incorporate FLN activities in their school and 83 per cent said that at least one teacher in the school had been trained on FLN.

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The report asserted that commitment to children’s education is stronger than ever in 2022 in rural India. It noted that 75.8 per cent of 3-year-olds and 82 per cent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in some form of pre-school, an increase of 7.7 and 6 percentage points respectively over 2018 levels.

Additionally, it indicated that a third of five-year-olds continue to be in primary school. ASER 2022 noted trends showing that the overall proportion of five-year-olds enrolled in primary school (government or private) has hardly changed between 2018 and 2022. Both then and now, approximately one in every three children age five is enrolled in primary school.

A major challenge the report cited are the overburdened Anganwadi Centres (AWC), with a single anganwadi worker responsible for delivery of six different services to mothers and young children. It recorded the implications it could have on the delivery of quality pre-school education, imposing significant additional strain on the system.

Read the full ASER 2022 report here.

Aser report Education RuralEducation 

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