New Delhi: More girls
in the 11-14 age group joined school in rural India in 2010 and
more five-year-olds too, but the quality of education, especially
in reading and maths, remained low. The percentage of Class 1
children who can recognise numbers 1-9 has decreased, according to
a study released here Friday.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2010 which was
released here praised Bihar for its student enrolment. "Bihar's
performance has been commendable", the report said. The percentage
of out-of-school boys and girls in the state has been declining
In 2006, 12.3 percent boys and 17.6 percent girls in the age group
of 11-14 were out of school. But the number came down sharply. By
2010, the number dipped to 4.4 percent for boys and 4.6 percent
for girls in Bihar.
Conducted every year since 2005, ASER is facilitated by the NGO
Pratham and is an annual survey of children in rural India. The
report was released by Vice President Hamid Ansari in the capital.
Among its key findings, 5.9 percent girls in the age group of
11-14 were out of school in 2010 nationwide. This percentage has
come down compared to 6.8 percent in 2009.
It also found an increase in the enrolment of five year olds in
school. It increased from 54.9 percent in 2009 to 62.8 percent in
There has also been an increase in enrolment in private schools -
from 21.8 percent in 2009 to 24.3 percent in 2010.
However, as far as the quality of education is concerned, reading
and math ability of children have hardly shown any improvement.
The report said: "Even after five years in school, close to half
of all children are not even at the level expected of them after
two years in school. Only 53.4 percent children in Class 5 could
read a Class 2 level text."
Similarly, on average there has been a decrease in children's
ability to do simple maths. The proportion of Class 1 children who
could recognise numbers from 1-9 declined from 69.3 percent in
2009 to 65.8 percent in 2010.
The report also found that over 60 percent of 13,000 schools
visited had satisfying infrastructure as specified by the Right to
"For rural India as a whole, children's attendance shows no change
over the period 2007-2010. Attendance remained at around 73
percent during this period. But there is considerable variation
across states," it said.
Reacting to the report's findings, Shireen Miller of the NGO Save
the Children, said: "The ASER report clearly shows that despite
huge investments in education, the quality of education has not
improved over the years."
"The focus is still on enrolment, not retention and quality
learning. This is the sorry state of education in India. No number
of ASER reports can make a difference without policy backing to
improve the quality of education. It is not enough for a child to
merely go to school, she must also learn," she added.