The Annual Status of Education Report–ASER 2015—Punjab (Rural)—was launched here on Thursday, according to which, 15 percent of Punjab’s children aged 6-16 are still out of school while remaining 85 percent of this age group enrolled are not learning much either.
As many as 2,200 volunteers managed by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) along with many civil society /semi-autonomous that include the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD), NRSP, RCDO and others across Punjab conducted the ASER 2015 survey.
According to the organisers, these volunteer citizens, personally visited 21,512 households in 1,079 villages/blocks, and based the ASER survey findings on the information of 59,179 children of age 3-16 years (including 44 percent girls). For the year 2015, the ASER rural survey has been conducted in 36 rural districts and seven urban administrative areas in the Punjab, wherein 5-16 years age cohort 50,686 children were tested for English, Language (Urdu), and Arithmetic competencies.
The report aimed at informing the progress or lack thereof with respect to Article 25-A of the Constitution making education a fundamental right of 5-16 years old children since 2010. To date the implementation has yet to take place as both laws and rules remain in abeyance. The report also notes that despite public demand, the state response at best continues to remain neutral to education as a basic need.
As per report, the proportion of out-of-school children remained the same as compared to 2014. In 2015, 15 percent of children were reported to be out-of-school; 8 percent have never been enrolled in school and 7 percent have dropped out of school for various reasons.
An interesting trend has been observed this year as reflected by ASER Findings. ASER 2015 results illustrate a considerable number of children going to public schools this year as compared to non-state schools; 65 percent children of age 6-16 are enrolled in public schools in 2015 while last year the percentage was 63 percent.
According to the report, student competencies in learning English, Arithmetic, and Language have improved; 30 percent (37% in 2014) of the children from Class V cannot read Class II level text in Urdu. In English, only 60 percent (57% in 2014) of the surveyed Class V students could read sentences, which should ideally be read by students from the second grade. A similar trend has been observed in Arithmetic capabilities of children where only 59 percent (51% in 2014) of class V children could do a two-digit division, something that is expected in second grade curriculum.
The ASER Survey also has identified that children enrolled in private schools are performing better compared to those studying in government schools; 76 percent children enrolled in Class-V in private schools were able to read a story in Urdu compared to 67 percent Class V students studying at government schools; 67 percent Grade V could read English Class II level sentences compared to only 57 percent public sector students. For arithmetic, 64 percent children enrolled in class V and going to private school can do 2-digit division as compared to 57 percent government school children enrolled in class V.
Further, the survey explains that boys are outperforming girls in literacy and numeracy skills in rural Punjab. As many as 56 percent of boys were found able to read at least sentences in Urdu as compared to 54 percent girls; 57 percent boys could read at least English words while 55 percent girls can do the same. For Arithmetic, 54 percent of Class V boys were able to do Class II level subtraction as compared to only 51 percent Class V girls.
The ASER rural survey informs that over all teachers’ attendance in government schools stood at 92 percent as compared to 91 percent in private schools on the day of the survey. Private teachers were reported to have better qualifications at graduation levels; for example, 37 percent teachers in private schools are graduates in comparison to only 28 percent in government schools; however, the reverse is the case for MA/MSc or post-graduate qualifications, whereby larger percentage of public sector teachers have a higher qualification than private sector counterparts.