Expressing concern over government policies and the Right to Education Act, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2013 has found that while more children are enrolling in schools, they are not learning as much. The report was released in New Delhi on Wednesday by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of Planning Commission.
According to the report, the enrollment rate in the country is 96% for fifth time in a row but the proportion of children in standard V who could solve a three-digit by one-digit division problem is only 25.6%. ASER, which is facilitated by Pratham, surveyed over 6 lakh children from 550 rural districts in the age group of 3 to 16.
The proportion of girls in the age group 11 to 14 who are not enrolled in school dropped from 6% in 2012 to 5.5% in 2013 with Uttar Pradesh registering greatest progress where this percentage dropped from 11.5% in 2012 to 9.4% in 2013. However, in Rajasthan the proportion of out of school girls rose for the second year in a row, from 8.9% in 2011 to 11.2% in 2012 to 12.1% in 2013.
There has been no significant improvement in the children’s ability to read. At the national level only approximately 40% of the class III students can read a class I level paragraph as compared to last year’s 39%. “Government schools are becoming schools for the poor. This segregation of children is bad and causes demoralisation of the education system,” said Madhav Chavan of Pratham education foundation.
Percentage of out of school children
Rajasthan (highest): 5.8
Kerala (lowest): 0.1
Percentage of children in private schools
Manipur (highest): 70.5
Tripura (lowest): 6.7