The results of the survey conducted in Punjab’s Bathinda as part of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for Rural India has shown that still majority children attend pre-primary classes in private schools despite government starting pre-primary in the state’s government schools in 2017.
The report is brought out annually by the ASER Centre, an autonomous research and assessment unit of Pratham Education Foundation. It was released Tuesday. This time the report is titled ‘Early Years’ and it also studied the pre-schooling status of children from 4 to 8 years.
Nationally, the report is based on household survey conducted on 37,000 children from 26 rural districts across 24 states. In Punjab, the survey was conducted in one district — Bathinda — and reached a total of 60 villages, 1207 households and 1,468 children in age group 4 to 8.
The report is important for Punjab as it is among the few states providing pre-primary schooling in government schools launched two years back in November 2017.
On the states starting pre-primary sections (PPS) in government schools, the ASER Early Years report 2019, observes, “There have been some government efforts across the country to introduce PPS in primary schools but these have been mostly in municipal corporations (Pune, Chennai, Mumbai) or small states (Delhi, Sikkim).
Some large states like Assam, Haryana, West Bengal and mostly recently Punjab have provided for one year of PPS, but multiple questions loom around quality and modality of implementation. Civil society organisations working in these geographies report that the provision in most cases lacks structured curriculum, a dedicated teacher, adequate instructional time, or in most cases, all of the above.”
Fit for pre-primary, enrolled in higher classes
The survey result for Bathinda in Punjab (for kids aged 4 studying in pre-school) in ‘Children aged 4-8 enrolled in different types of schools and pre-schools category’ says that 20.9 per cent children are enrolled in government pre-primary, 5.3 per cent in aangwandis, 61.6 per cent in private LKG/UKG and 2.7 per cent are not enrolled in any school.
Similarly for kids aged 5, only 10.6 per cent are enrolled in government pre-primary and 49.6 per cent in private LKG/UKG.
While according to Right to Education Act, kids aged 6 or above should be enrolled in Class I, the survey says that 7.7 per cent children aged 4 were found studying in ‘government school’ (not pre-school) and 1.9 per cent in ‘private school’. Similarly, 23.4 per cent children aged 5 were found studying in ‘government schools’ and 14.1 per cent in private schools, indicating they were in higher classes whereas they should have been in pre-primary.
In ‘school status and age grade distribution category’, of all 4-year-olds, 2.7 per cent children were not found enrolled anywhere, 87.7 per cent were in pre-primary classes, 6.1 per cent were in Class 1 and 3.5 per cent in Class 2 or above.
Of all 5-year-olds, 0.4 per cent were not enrolled anywhere, 62.3 per cent were in pre-primary, 30.7 per cent in Class 1, 5 per cent in Class 2 and 1.7 per cent in Class 3 or above.
Of all 6-year-old kids surveyed, none were found out of school. 24.2 per cent were still enrolled in pre-primary, 45.6 per cent in Class 1, 26.1 per cent in Class 2 and 4.2 per cent in Class 3 or above.
Overall, for the children studying in Class 1, 2 and 3, it was found that 36.7 per cent kids in Class 1 were aged 4 to 5, likewise 8 per cent enrolled in Class 2 were aged 4 to 5 and 2.2 per cent enrolled in Class 3 were aged 4 to 5 — all studying in classes above their age level.
How kids fared in early learning tasks
In ‘Early Learning Tasks’ for 4-year old kids, 44.1 per cent could do seriation, 48.8 per cent could recognise patterns, 41.5 per cent could do puzzles, 40.7 per cent could count objects and 48 per cent could do relative comparison of objects.
Only 20 per cent of 4-year old kids could recognise all four emotions (happy, sad, angry, afraid). Similarly, 30 per cent five-year old kids, 48.9 per cent six-year old kids, 59 per cent seven year old kids and 60.8 per cent eight-year old kids could recognize all four emotions.
Of all Class 1 students surveyed, 40.9 per cent were in government schools and 59.2 per cent in private schools. In Class 1, 61.1 per cent kids could do seriation, 65.5 per cent could recognise patterns and 58 per cent could solve puzzles. Only 44.6 could do listening comprehension.
For Class 1 kids, 25.5 per cent children could not read letters, 40.9 per cent can read letters but not words or higher, 22.8 per cent can read words but not Class 1 text or higher and only 10.8 per cent can read Class 1 level text or higher.
In the same class, 20.4 per cent children cannot recognise numbers from 1 to 9, then 27.4 per cent can recognize numbers up to 9 but cannot recognise numbers up to 99 and 52.2 per cent can recognize numbers up to 99.
In Class 2, nearly 5.3 per cent kids could not recognize 1-9 numbers and in standard-3, nearly 3.2 per cent kids could not recognize basic numbers.
Key Takeaways in Punjab
Only 20.9 per cent enrolled in government pre-primary classes, 61.6 per cent in private
Nearly 6.1 per cent enrolled in class-1 and 3.5 per cent in class II or above
40.7 per cent could count objects and only 14.4 per cent could do listening comprehension
20 per cent could recognise all four emotions
30 per cent could recognise all four emotions
10.6 per cent enrolled in government pre-primary classes, 49.6 per cent in private
36.1 per cent could do listening comprehension
56.9 per cent could count objects
40.9 per cent were in government schools and 59.2 per cent in private schools
36.7 per cent were aged 4 and 5; 34.8 per cent were aged 6; 24.5 per cent were aged 7 and 4 per cent were aged 8
25.5 per cent could not read basic letters
20.4 per cent could not recognize basic numbers (1-9)
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