ASER 2022 findings – ASER report has significant pointers on reversing post-pandemic educational losses

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Flip the page to the chapter on middle schoolchildren” published in The Hindu on 20th January 2023.

“ASER report has significant pointers on reversing post-pandemic educational losses” published in the Indian Express on 20th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.

Relevance: About the recent ASER findings in 2022.

News: Recently, the Annual Status of Education Report(ASER) 2022 was released by Pratham, a non-governmental organization. This is the first nationwide ASER survey in four years.

What are the key findings of ASER 2022 findings?
Read here: ASER 2022: ASER Report flags widening learning gaps

Note: The assessment is done one on one with each sampled child in the household. The child is marked at the highest level that she/he can comfortably reach. The same tasks are used for all children aged 5 years to 16 years.

What are the advantages of the Indian education system as per ASER 2022 findings?

In 2018, the all-India rural enrolment figure for the age group 6-14 years was 97.2%. In ASER 2022 data, this is now 98.4%. This means that a) More students can benefit from schooling for longer, sustained periods, b) The proportion of out-of-school girls has fallen to 2%, c) Completion of the entire cycle of eight years of schooling for 25 million students is a significant achievement, and d) Most schools — even in rural areas — “attempted to keep learning going with digital resources.

A comparative analysis of learning outcomes during the pandemic and post-pandemic years in West Bengal, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh highlights a) States have reversed their learning losses significantly in 2022,

What are the key concerns associated with the Indian education system as per ASER 2022 findings?

-More and more students going through middle school and attending secondary schools. So, there is increased competition for post-secondary opportunities.

-Acute examination stress, grade inflation in school-leaving examinations, difficulties in gaining admission into college, and lack of appropriate jobs for many school-leavers are all consequences of high enrolment and completion rates.

Low levels of reading and arithmetic skills among children: ASER evidence suggests that basic learning levels of middle school children have remained low and stagnant for over a decade. The “value” added each year of middle school is small.

Unless children have strong foundational skills, they cannot acquire higher level skills or develop advanced content knowledge.

What are the reasons highlighted by ASER 2022 for the dismal performance of the Indian education system?

Firstly, an “overambitious” curriculum and the linear age-grade organisational structure of Indian schools result in a vast majority of children getting “left behind” early in their school career.

Secondly, low motivation to learn and a lack of self-confidence are also a reason for dismal performance.

Thirdly, our school system is driven by preparations for Board examinations. Academic content transacted in schools does not mean that the students are ready for college. Further, a college degree is neither relevant nor possible for most students who finish secondary school.

What should be done to improve the Indian education system?

It is time to rethink and rework children’s educational plans once they grow past the foundational stage of schooling to fulfil the National Education Policy targets and NIPUN Bharat missions.

Middle school children urgently need support for learning recovery and “catch up”.

Empowering teachers and reaching out to students in their homes can significantly improve learning outcomes.

Overall, India needs to frame a system that synergises the roles of the home and classroom is the key to improving the Indian educational system.


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