The Annual Status of Education Report, better known as ASER, is going to be back this year. The survey held by NGO Pratham will be back after the gap of a year. It is conducted to measure the level of learning and intelligence among the students aged between 3 and 16 residing in the rural parts of the country. The survey was initiated in the year 2005 and was held each year for the next 10 years that is until 2014.

The survey results in 2014 showed that only 47.1 percent Class V students were efficient enough to read the Class II textbooks. As per this, not even half of the students in rural India could read the textbook of a class that was three grades below.

Many raised the question as to why the survey was done away with last year and why it is being conducted again this year. On this the director of ASER Centre Wilima Wadhwa 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.”

Let us hope that the new policy is more effective and benefits the youth of the country.

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