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The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER-rural) is an annual household survey to assess children’s schooling status and basic learning levels in reading and arithmetic. The 9th ASER 2013 report, facilitated by PRATHAM, covers 550 districts, 15941 villages, 14724 schools, 3.27 lakh households and 5.7 lakh children in the age group 3-16 years.

According to the ASER 2013 report (click link 1, link 2 to download):

Schooling: Enrollment Attendance & School Facilities

Overall Enrollment

•    The percentage of children (age group 6-14) enrolled in school is very high at 96.7% in 2013. The enrollment figures have been 96% or more since 2009. There is hardly any gender difference between the proportions of children who are still out of school.

•    At the all India level, the proportion of girls in the age group 11 to 14 who are not enrolled in school dropped from 6% in 2012 to 5.5% in 2013. The greatest progress is visible in Uttar Pradesh, where this percentage dropped from 11.5% in 2012 to 9.4% in 2013. However, in Rajasthan the proportion of out of school girls age 11 to 14 rose for the second year in a row, from 8.9% in 2011 to 11.2% in 2012 to 12.1% in 2013.

Private School Enrollment

•    The percentage of children (age group 6-14) enrolled in private schools is 29% in 2013. Private school enrolment figures were 28.3% in 2012. This number has risen from 18.7% in 2006. Boys are more likely to attend private school than girls.

•    There are wide variations in private school enrollment across rural India. In Manipur and Kerala more than two thirds of all children in the 6 to 14 age group are enrolled in private schools. Less than 10% are in private school in Tripura (6.7%), West Bengal (7%), and Bihar (8.4%), although these numbers have grown substantially since 2006.

•    As with private schooling, the incidence of private tuition varies across states. In Tripura and West Bengal, more than 60% of children in Std. I-V take paid private tuition. This proportion is high in Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand also. But in Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, less than 5% of children in Std. I-V take paid private tuition.

•    The proportion of children in Std. I-V who receive some form of private input into their schooling (private school, private tuition or both) has increased from 38.5% in 2010 to 42% in 2011, 44.2% in 2012 and to 45.1% in 2013.

•    For the first time, ASER 2013 measured the amount families pay for a child’s private tutoring. Nationally, 68.4% of Std. I-V government school students who go to private tutors pay Rs. 100 or less per month. Among private school students of Std. I-V, 36.7% pay Rs. 100 or less per month and the same proportion pay between Rs. 101 and Rs. 200 per month for private tuition.

Out of School Girls

•    States like Rajasthan (12.1%) and Uttar Pradesh (9.4%), apart from Bihar (4.6%), West Bengal (4.0%), Jharkhand (5.2%), Odisha (5.3%), Chhattisgarh (3.8%) and Gujarat (6.6%), have a high proportion of girls out of school during 2013. 

School Attendance

•    Overall, children’s attendance in school on the day of the visit has gone up from 74.3% in 2009 to 70.7% in 2013 in primary schools but declined from 77% in 2009 to 71.8% in 2013 in upper primary schools. Children’s attendance in school varies across the states with Tamil Nadu as the best performer.

•    Teacher attendance in both primary and upper primary schools shows no change over the 2012 level of 85%. But student attendance shows a slight decline, especially in upper primary schools from 73.1% in 2012 to 71.8% in 2013.

School Facilities (Compliance with RTE)

•    Of all schools visited in 2013, percentage of schools which have drinking water available and useable is 73.8%, toilets available and useable is 62.6%, girls' toilet available and useable is 53.3%, library available and books being used is 40.7%, kitchen shed in school available is 87.0%, and mid day meal served on day of visit is 87.2%.

•    The proportion of schools that comply with RTE pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) norms has increased every year, from 38.9% in 2010 to 45.3% in 2013.

•    The proportions of schools with an office/store, a playground, and a boundary wall have increased slightly over 2012 levels.

Learning Outcomes-Policies, plans and practice-Evidence to action

Reading Ability

•    At the All India level, for Std. III, the proportion of children able to read at least a Std. I level paragraph has risen slightly from 38.8% in 2012 to 40.2% in 2013. This increase is mainly coming from improvements among private school children. Among Std. III students in government schools the proportion of children able to read Std. I level text remains unchanged from 2012 at around 32%.

•    States which show steady improvement in reading ability among Std. III students since 2009 are Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab.

•    Nationally, the proportion of all children in Std. V who can read a Std. II level text remains virtually the same since 2012, at 47%. This proportion decreased each year from 2009 to 2012, dropping from 52.8% in 2009 to 46.9% in 2012. Among Std. V children enrolled in government schools, the percentage of children able to read Std. II level text decreased from 50.3% (2009) to 43.8% (2011) to 41.1% (2013).

•    In 2013, states in which more than 60% children in Std. V in government schools could read a Std. II level text were Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Mizoram and Kerala. Over time, reading levels among government school students in Std. V students have shown improvement in Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat.

•    The reading levels of government school children had declined especially in the period 2010 to 2012. Private school children’s reading levels increased since last year.

•    ASER estimates that the number of children not able to read fluently is substantial in Std. III to V. Indications are that there may be a significant proportion of such children in Std. VI to VIII as well.

Arithmetic Ability

•    The percentage of Std. III students who can at least do subtraction problems has declined from 36.3% in 2010 to 26.1% in 2013.

•    The percentage of Std. V students who can at least do subtraction problems has declined from 70.8% in 2010 to 52.3% in 2013.

•    Nationally, the proportion of all children in Std. V who could solve a three-digit by one-digit division problem increased slightly, from 24.9% in 2012 to 25.6% in 2013. Typically, this kind of division problem is part of the Std. III or Std. IV curriculum in most states.

•    Among Std. V children in government schools, 20.8% children could do this level of division in 2013. The figure for private schools is 38.9%. In arithmetic, a large fraction of children are lagging several years behind where they are expected to be.

•    In 2013, over 40% of government school children in Std. V in three states, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Mizoram could do three-digit by one-digit division problems.

•    In 2010, 33.2% children of Std. III in government schools could at least do subtraction, as compared to 47.8% in private schools. The gap between children in government and private schools has widened over time. In 2013, 18.9% of Std. III students in government schools were able to do basic subtraction or more, as compared to 44.6% of Std. III children in private schools.

Rural Expert

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