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Key findings of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011, are as follows: 

Very high enrollment figures for rural India

• 96.7% of all 6-14 year olds in rural India are enrolled in school. This number has held steady since 2010.

• States that had a high proportion (over 10%) of 11-14 year old girls out of school in 2006 have made significant progress. For example Bihar out of school numbers have dropped from 17.6% in 2006 to 4.3% in 2011. Rajasthan shows a decline from 18.9% in 2006 to 8.9% in 2011. Uttar Pradesh has shown the least progress with 11.1% 2006 and 9.7% in 2011.

• Substantial numbers of five year old children are enrolled in school. The All India figure stands at 57.8% for 2011.  This proportion varies across states, ranging from 87.1% in Nagaland to 18.8% in Karnataka.

Private school enrollment is rising in most states

• Nationally, private school enrollment has risen year after year for the 6-14 age group, increasing from 18.7% in 2006 to 25.6% in 2011. These increases are visible in all states except Bihar.

• In states like Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur and Meghalaya there has been an increase of over 10 percentage points in private school enrollment in the last five years.

• According to ASER 2011 data, between 30 to 50% of children in rural areas of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are enrolled in private schools.

Basic reading levels showing decline in many states

• Nationally, reading levels are estimated to have declined in many states across North India. The All India figure for the proportion of children in Std V able to read a Std 2 level text has dropped from 53.7% in 2010 to 48.2% in 2011. Such declines are not visible in the southern states.

• In a few states there is good news. In Gujarat, Punjab and Tamil Nadu the numbers for 2011 are better than for 2010.  Several states in the north-eastern region of India also show positive change. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh numbers remain unchanged from last year

Arithmetic levels also show a decline across most states

• Basic arithmetic levels estimated in ASER 2011 show a decline. For example, nationally, the proportion of Std III children able to solve a 2 digit subtraction problem with borrowing has dropped from 36.3% in 2010 to 29.9% in 2011. Among Std V children, the ability to do similar subtraction problems has dropped from 70.9% in 2010 to 61.0% in 2011.

• This decline is visible in almost every state; only Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu show improvements from 2010 to 2011.  Several states in the north-eastern region of India also show positive change. There is no change in arithmetic levels in Gujarat.

Main findings from school visits:

Children’s attendance has declined

• At the All India level, children's attendance shows a decline from 73.4% in 2007 to 70.9% in 2011 in rural primary schools.

• In some states, children's attendance shows a sharp decline over time: for example in primary schools of Bihar, average attendance of children was 59.0% in 2007 and 50.0% in 2011.  In Madhya Pradesh this figure has fallen from 67.0% in 2007 to 54.5% in 2011 and in Uttar Pradesh from 64.4% (2007) to 57.3% (2011).

More than half of all Std 2 and Std 4 classes are sit together with another class

• During the school visit, ASER focuses on Std 2 and Std 4 and observes whether children in these classes are sitting together with children from other classes.

• Nationally, for rural government primary schools, data suggests that over half of all classes visited are multigrade. For example, all India Std 2 was sitting with one or more other classes in 58.3% of Std 2 classes in primary schools were sitting with another class. This figure is 53% for Std 4.

• Schools get their grants, but not on time

Main findings: Tracking RTE Indicators

Not much change in compliance on Pupil-teacher ratio and Classroom-teacher ratio

• At the All India level, there has been a marginal improvement in the proportion of schools complying with RTE norms on pupil-teacher ratio, from 38.9% in 2010 to 40.7% in 2011. In 2011, Kerala stands out with 94.1% of schools in compliance, and in Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland and Manipur, more than 80% schools are in compliance with these norms.

• At the All India level, there has been a marginal decline in the proportion of schools with at least one classroom per teacher, from 76.2% in 2010 to 74.3% in 2011. In Mizoram, 94.8% of schools comply with the teacher-classroom norms and in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra more than 80% of schools are in compliance.

No major changes in buildings, playgrounds, boundary walls or drinking water

• All India figures for 2011 show no significant improvement in the proportion of schools with an office cum store.  This figure remains at 74%.  Similarly, for the country has a whole, about 62% of visited schools had a playground, both in 2010 and in 2011.   However, there has been an increase in the proportion of all schools that have a boundary wall, from 50.9% in 2010 to 54.1% in 2011.

• Nationally, the proportion of schools with no provision for drinking water remained almost the same – 17.0% in 2010 and 16.6% in 2011. The proportion of schools with a useable drinking water facility has remained steady at about 73%.  Kerala has the best record with 93.8% schools that have a useable drinking water facility.

Better provision of girls’ toilets

• The proportion of schools where there was no separate girls' toilet has declined from 31.2% in 2010 to 22.6% in 2011.  Also, there has been a substantial improvement in the proportion of schools that have separate girls' toilets that are useable.  This figure has risen nationally from 32.9% in 2010 to 43.8% in 2011

More libraries in schools, and more children using them

• The proportion of schools without libraries has declined from 37.5% in 2010 to 28.6% in 2011. Children were seen using the library in more schools as well-up from 37.9% in 2010 to 42.3% in 2011.

Rural Expert

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