ASER Report 2022: Only 20.5% of Class 3 children can read a Class 2 textbook in rural areas

ASER 2022: The drop in standards is ‘likely due to the pandemic’ which led to schools closing for over a year. It also disrupted ASER Centre’s survey.

ASER 2022 Report: The number of government schools with less than 60 students see steady increase.ASER 2022 Report: The number of government schools with less than 60 students see steady increase.

Atul Krishna | January 18, 2023 | 12:56 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The reading ability of Class 3 children in rural schools across India has seen an alarming dip as only 20.5 percent of children could read a Class 2 textbook, according to the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022.

As per the report, the children’s ability to read has shown a fall of nearly seven percentage points in 2022 as compared to ASER 2018 in which 27.5 percent Class 3 children could read a Class 2 textbook. The reading ability of children has fallen even below the 2012 level when 21.4 percent of Class 3 students could read Class 2 textbooks.

ASER is an annual survey conducted by the education non-profit Pratham in the rural areas of India.

The ASER 2022 report also showed a fall in children’s ability to do basic mathematics. According to the report, only 25.9 percent Class 3 children could do basic arithmetics as compared to 28.2 percent in 2018.

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It also showed that the proportion of government schools with less than 60 students has increased every year over the last decade. In 2022, 29.9 percent of schools in rural areas had less than 60 students as compared to only 17.3 percent of schools in 2010.

The ASER 2022 survey was conducted in 17,002 government schools in 19,060 villages across 616 districts. The survey was conducted among 7 lakh children between the ages of 6 to14 years. This is the first nationwide field-based survey since 2018; surveys in the intervening years were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reading ability

The report showed that states such as Kerala (from 52.1% in 2018 to 38.7% in 2022), Himachal Pradesh (from 47.7% to 28.4%), and Haryana (from 46.4% to 31.5%) showed drops of more than 10 percentage points in reading ability of Class 3 children.

Andhra Pradesh (from 22.6% to 10.3%) and Telangana (from 18.1% to 5.2%) also recorded large drops in the reading ability of Class 3 children.

The report recorded a similar fall in reading levels among Class 5 children showing that unaddressed learning gaps tend to exacerbate over time.

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According to the report, the percentage of Class 5 children, enrolled in government or private schools, who can at least read a Class 2 level text fell from 50.5 percent in 2018 to 42.8 percent in 2022.

Andhra Pradesh (from 59.7% in 2018 to 36.3% in 2022),Gujarat (from 53.8% to 34.2%), and Himachal Pradesh (from 76.9% to 61.3%) recorded a fall of more than 15 percentage points in the ability of Class 5 children to read a Class 2 text.

Among Class 8 children, only 69.6 percent could read a basic text in 2022 compared to 73 percent in 2018.

Arithmetic ability

The ASER 2022 report showed that only 25.9 percent Class 3 children could do subtraction in 2022 compared to 28.2 percent in 2018. Tamil Nadu (from 25.9% in 2018 to 11.2% in 2022), Mizoram (from 58.8% to 42%), and Haryana (from 53.9% to 41.8%) recorded drops of over 10 percentage points in the basic arithmetic ability of students.

The percentage of Class 5 children who could do basic division fell to 25.6 percent in 2022 as compared to 27.9 percent in 2018.

Mizoram (from 40.2% in 2018 to 20.9% in 2022), Himachal Pradesh (from 56.6% to 42.6%), and Punjab (from 52.9% to 41.1%), which topped the education ministry’s performance grading index for schools, recorded a drop of 10 percentage points in basic arithmetic ability of Class 5 students.

However, the basic arithmetic ability of students in Class 8 slightly increased from 44.1 percent in 2018 to 44.7 percent in 2022.

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