ASER report 2017: In villages, as they grow up, more girls drop out of school -Uma Vishnu

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published Published on Jan 17, 2018   modified Modified on Jan 17, 2018
-The Indian Express

The 2017 ASER report focuses on 14 to 18-year-olds, interviewing over 30,000 children across 28 rural districts. Uma Vishnu explains some of its findings.

86% of youth in the 14-18 age group are still within the formal education system

It has been eight years since the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into force in 2010, making elementary education a fundamental right for those in the 6-14 age group. Therefore, the 14-year-olds in the 2017 ASER (Annual Status of Education Report — Rural) survey are among the first to have benefitted from the Act’s provisions of no-detention and free and compulsory education. As the ASER report shows, a direct consequence of the RTE has been that most tend to continue to stay within the formal education set-up, even after the Act folds up at age 14. The data shows that at age 15, 92.1% of the children surveyed continued to be in school/college.

However, the enrolment gap between girls and boys increases with age — at 14, there is hardly any difference (94.3% enrolment for girls, 95.3% for boys), but at 18, the gap widens (71.6% for boys, 67.4% for girls).

Learning deficits carry forward as 14 to 18-year-olds go from being adolescents to young adults

Though their ability to read in regional languages and English seems to improve with age, the same does not apply to math. The proportion of youth who have not acquired basic math skills by age 14 is the same as that of 18-year-olds. “This underlines what ASER has always been suggesting — that you need to have foundational skills in place in time,” says Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham, the organisation that conducts ASER.

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The Indian Express, 17 January, 2018,

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