The percentage of all children in standard 3 who can read at standard 2 level has climbed up slowly over the past few years, according to the government’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018.(HT file)
The percentage of all children in standard 3 who can read at standard 2 level has climbed up slowly over the past few years, according to the government’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018.(HT file)

ASER 2018 : More than half of children enrolled in Class 5 can read at least a standard 2 level text

The percentage of all children in standard 3 who can read at standard 2 level has climbed up slowly over the past few years, according to the government’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)2018.
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By Rajeev Mullick
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2019 01:54 PM IST

The percentage of all children in standard 3 who can read at standard 2 level has climbed up slowly over the past few years, according to the government’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), a biennial nationwide survey of children’s ability to read simple text and do basic arithmetic.

This figure has increased from 21.6% in 2013 to 23.6% in 2014 to 25.1% in 2016, and finally to 27.2% in 2018. From 2014, the survey is carried out every alternate year.

Among children enrolled in standard 3 in government schools, six states (Punjab, Haryana, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Kerala) have shown an improvement of more than 5 percentage points over 2016 levels.

These were the findings of the 13th annual report of ASER 2018 that was released in New Delhi on Monday. In 2018, ASER officials visited 15,998 government schools in 596 districts in rural India. A total of 354,944 households and 546,527 children in the age group 3 to 16 were surveyed.

According to ASER 2018 report, slightly more than half of all children enrolled in class 5 can read at least a standard 2 level text. This figure has inched up from 47.9% in 2016 to 50.3% in 2018.

For government school children enrolled in standard 5, states showing an increase of 5 percentage points or more from 2016 to 2018 are Himachal Pradesh, UP, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram; with Punjab and Andhra Pradesh close behind.

ASER 2018 data indicates that of all children enrolled in standard 8 in India, about 73% can read at least a standard II level text. This number is unchanged from 2016.

The ASER arithmetic test indicates that all India figure for children in class 3 who are able to do at least subtraction has not changed much, from 27.6% in 2016 to 28.1% in 2018. For government school children, this figure was 20.3% in 2016 and 20.9% in 2018.

However, government school children in some states are doing significantly better, with an increase of 3 percentage points or more over 2016. These include Punjab, Haryana, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Kerala.

The proportion of children in standard 5 across India who are able to do division has inched up slightly, from 26% in 2016 to 27.8% in 2018. But among government school children, some states have shown significant improvements of 5 percentage points or more over 2016 levels. These include Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

The overall performance of standard 8 in basic arithmetic has not changed much over time. Currently about 44% of all children in standard 8 can solve a 3-digit by 1-digit numerical division problem correctly.

While this figure has gone down from 2016 to 2018 in many states, government school children in some states show substantial improvements in the last two years: for example, Punjab (from 48% to 58.4%), Uttar Pradesh (from 25.5% to 32%), Maharashtra (from 32.4% to 41.4%), and Tamil Nadu (from 42.6% to 49.6%).

Gender differences in reading and arithmetic the 14-16 age group: For the age group 14 to 16, the all India figure for the proportion of girls who can read at least a Std II level text is very similar to that of boys. Both are around 77%. However, girls outperform boys in many states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

In basic arithmetic, boys seem to hold an advantage. Nationally, 50% of all boys in the age group 14 to 16 can correctly solve a division problem as compared to 44% of all girls. But in states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, girls in this age group are doing better than boys in arithmetic.

Girls out of school:

In 2006, the all India proportion of girls in the age group 11 to 14 who were out of school stood at 10.3%. In that year, 9 major states had out of school figures for girls (age 11-14) above 10%. In 2018, the overall proportion of girls in the 11 to 14 age group out of school has fallen to 4.1%. This figure is more than 5% in only 4 states. Further, ten years ago in 2008, nationally, more than 20% of girls in the 15 to 16 age group were not enrolled in school. In 2018, this figure has decreased to 13.5%.

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