The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey conducted by NGO Pratham will be relaunched after a year’s break. The survey, one of the most definitive barometers of learning levels among children between 3 and 16 years in rural India, had been held every year from 2005 to 2014.
In 2014, the last time the survey was held, only 47.1 per cent Class V students were found able to read a Class II textbook. This meant every second Class V student in rural India could not read the text of a class three levels below.
On why the survey was discontinued last year and why it’s being launched again, Wilima Wadhwa, director, ASER Centre, said, “When we started ASER in 2005 we made a commitment to do it every year for five years because we think for data to feed into policy making it has to be reliable, comparable and available on a regular basis. At the end of five years the consensus was that it was too soon to discontinue ASER. In 2014, we completed 10 years and ASER decided to take a year off to reflect and consolidate our learnings. One big reason for restarting ASER after a year’s break is that learning levels remain low and ASER remains the only source of annually available data on learning in the public domain. We have a new government and a new education policy in the works and we hope that ASER 2016 will contribute to the formation of the new policies.”