General Studies Paper 2 (Social Justice)
Question:- 172. Bring out the methodology followed in Annual Status of Education Report 2022. Briefly analyze the various observations of ASER survey. Answer in 250 words.
Jan 23, 2023


The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey is carried out by Pratham foundation and it generates estimates of schooling and basic learning levels for all children in rural India in the age group 5 to 16. This includes children enrolled in different types of schools (government, private, and other kinds) as well as children currently not in school.

ASER remains the only annual source of data on children’s learning outcomes available on scale in India. It is also the only large scale assessment that focuses on children’s foundational skills.




ASER 2022 reached almost 700,000 children in over 19,000 villages across 616 districts in India, and generated district, state, and national level estimates of children’s enrolment status and foundational skills.

Unlike most other large-scale learning assessments, ASER is a household-based rather than school-based survey. This design enables all children to be included – those who have never been to school or have dropped out, as well as those who are in government schools, private schools, religious schools, or anywhere else.

Information on schooling status is collected for all children in the age group 3-16 living in sampled households.

Children in the age group 5-16 are tested in basic reading and basic arithmetic.




  • 1. The report is being brought out after four years and records the impact of school closures in 2020 and 2021, as well as the return to school of children in 2022. The proportion of children in this (3-16 years) age group who are not currently enrolled also dropped to its lowest level ever to 1.6% from 2.8% in 2018, when the last full-scale ASER survey was conducted.
  • 2. There are more children who have enrolled in schools in the 6-14 age group in the last 4 years. Which means the dropouts that were seen after the pandemic, due to COVID were temporary.
  • 3. Government school enrolment: The proportion of children (aged 6 to 14) enrolled in government schools increased sharply from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022. This means that the economic pressure brought in by the pandemic has led people to move their children out of private schools.
  • 4. But the ability to read texts and solve basic arithmetic problems among such children seems to be on a decline, as per the findings of the Annual Status of Education Report 2022.
  • 5. The percentage of children in Class 3 in government or private schools who were able to read at the level of Class 2 dropped from 27.3% in 2018 to 20.5% in 2022. This decline is visible in every State, and for children in both government and private schools.
  • 6. Nationally, the proportion of children enrolled in Class 5 in government or private schools who can at least read a Class 2-level text fell from 50.5% in 2018 to 42.8% in 2022.
  • 7. Nationally, children’s basic reading ability has dropped to pre-2012 levels, reversing the slow improvement achieved in the intervening years. Drops are visible in both government and private schools in most states, and for both boys and girls.
  • 8. Nationally, children’s basic arithmetic levels have declined over 2018 levels for most grades. But the declines are less steep and the picture is more varied than in the case of basic reading.
  • 9. Nationally, children’s ability to read simple English sentences has stayed more or less at the 2016 level for children in Standard V (from 24.7% in 2016 to 24.5% in 2022). Slight improvements are visible for children in Standard VIII (from 45.3% in 2016 to 46.7% in 2022).
  • 10. While, families withdrew students from private schools to save money spent on tuition fees, they also invested in private tuition classes, which increased as the proportion of such students rose further from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022 in both private and government schools. This may also be the reason why learning gaps are sharper in reading because students typically choose to study Maths and Science in tuition classes.
  • 11. The report also lays to rest apprehensions about the pandemic forcing families to withdraw girls from schools and force them into early marriages. It finds that the percentage of girls in the age group of 11-14 years who were out of school declined to 2% from 4.1%. The decrease in the proportion of girls not enrolled in school is even sharper among older girls in the 15-16 years age group, which stood at 7.9% in 2022 as compared with 13.5% in 2018.




ASER data tells us where most children are getting stuck, so that resources can be allocated accordingly. Children from different grades who are at the same level of reading ability can be grouped together i.e. ‘Teaching at the Right Level’. ASER has had a major influence in bringing the issue of learning to the centre of the stage in discussions and debates on education in India.

ASER data has been used in many reports such as NITI Aayog’s 3-Year Action Agenda for 2017-18 to 2019-20, Economic Survey of India 2021-22, and World Bank’s World Development Report 2018.