Only 42.8 per cent children between four and eight years of age are able to identify simple emotions, reveals the ASER ‘Early Years’ 2019 report on pre-schooling or schooling status of children in Mehsana district.
While only 53.3 per cent of eight-year-old children can identify sadness, while the ability to identify four basic emotions — happiness, sadness, anger and fear — declines to 9.6 per cent as the age goes down to four years. The process of evaluation involved showing the child four cards each with a different emotion and asking the child to identify the card that corresponds to each emotion.
As many as 1,442 children in the age group of 4 to 8 from 1,200 households of 60 villages in the northern district of Mehsana, were surveyed in the ASER Early Years’ 2019 report released on Tuesday. The report highlights schooling status along with a range of important developmental indicators for young children across 24 districts over 26 states in the country.
On the pre-schooling or schooling enrollment status of children in the age group four to eight, ASER ‘Early Years’ report on Mehsana district reveals that at the age of five, 4.4 per cent of children were never enrolled anywhere or have dropped out. In Class 1, children from age five to eight were enolled against the eligible age of five plus mandated by the state government. It included 16.8 per cent children of age five, 69.4 per cent of age six, 25.8 per cent of age seven and 3.7 per cent of age eight. Also, most children are enrolled in government schools (88.3 per cent).
The report also explores children’s performance on competencies identified by international research categorised in four domains — cognitive development, early language, early numeracy, and social and emotional development.
In early numeracy, only 22 per cent and 31.3 per cent of children of age four and five respectively can count objects. The ASER ‘Early Years’ national data shows that children’s performance on tasks requiring cognitive skills is strongly related to their ability to do early language tasks and early numeracy tasks suggesting that focusing on play-based activities that build memory, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities is more productive than an early focus on content knowledge.
However, in Mehsana, despite a better cognitive development where 75.3 per cent five-year-old children can do sorting and 62.9 per cent have spatial awareness, among children in Class I, 38 per cent children cannot even read letters, 38.9 per cent can read letters but not words or sentences, 12.6 per cent can read words but not a Class I level text or higher and 10.6 per cent can read a Class I level text or more.
Among children’s ability to recognise numbers within each grade, 37.3 per cent cannot even recognise numbers up to 9, 49.3 per cent children can recognise numbers up to 9 but not up to 99.
Children in Class I, 27.3 per cent can do a one digit oral word addition problem, 20.3 per cent can do a one digit oral word subtraction problem, 42.2 per cent can do one digit relative comparison. Similarly, in Class III, a little half 58.4 per cent can solve two digit relative comparison while only 39.3 per cent can do two digit numeric addition and 24 per cent two digit numeric subtraction.
ASER 2019, Early Years was conducted in 24 districts over 26 states in India, 1,514 villages, 30,425 households and 36,930 children in the age group of four to eight.