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Updated January 17th, 2024 at 16:19 IST

26% of children aged 14-18 years fail to read class 2 books in their regional language: ASER 2023

Over 26% of children aged 14-18 struggle to read a Class 2 textbook in their regional language, and 42.7% cannot read basic English sentences.

Reported by: Nandini Verma
ASER 2023 Out
ASER 2023 Out | Image:PTI
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The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023 has been released today. The ASER Report sheds light on the education landscape in rural India, highlighting concerning trends. The report discloses that over 26% of children aged 14-18 struggle to read a Class 2 textbook in their regional language, and 42.7% cannot read basic English sentences. Additionally, 51.6% face challenges in solving basic arithmetic problems, and 56.7% struggle with basic division, according to the survey conducted by Pratham, covering 34,745 children in 28 districts across 26 states.

Enrollment rate declines 

Enrollment rates show a decline with age, with 96.1% of 14-year-olds enrolled, dropping sharply to 67.4% for 18-year-olds. Notably, 86.8% of surveyed students in the 14-18 age group are enrolled in educational institutions. Arts and humanities courses are favored by the majority in rural areas, with 54% of students in Classes 11 and 12 opting for these, compared to 9.3% in commerce and 33.7% in science. However, only 28.1% of girls are enrolled in the science stream, compared to 36.3% of boys.

44% boys but less than 20% girls students own smartphones 

The report also delves into the prevalence of smartphones, revealing that over 92% of surveyed children can use a smartphone, with 89% reporting having one at home. Despite this, girls are less likely to have their own smartphones, with almost 44% of boys having one, compared to less than 20% of girls. While over 90% of students use smartphones for entertainment, only 66.1% utilize them for educational purposes. Practical skills with smartphones, such as accessing online services and using Google Maps, present challenges for a significant portion of the surveyed children.

The gender gap extends to practical tasks, where male students outperform female students in various aspects. Although the number of out-of-school children remains similar for both genders, indicating more girls are enrolled, the report highlights that boys seem to absorb practical skills better during this time.

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The report concludes with insights into household responsibilities and employment. Notably, 85.8% of girls are involved in household work, while 65.9% of boys contribute. However, 40.3% of boys have jobs beyond household work, compared to 28% of girls. The multifaceted ASER 2023 report underlines the need for comprehensive efforts to address educational disparities and equip students with essential skills.

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Published January 17th, 2024 at 16:19 IST

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