Smaller citizens: On the gaps in India’s education system

Source: The Hindu

Subject: Social Justice

Topic:  Education

Issue: ASER 2023: Beyond Basics report

Why in news: Recently released Annual Status of Education Report, titled ‘ASER 2023: Beyond Basics’


  • Civil society Organisation Pratham released Annual Status of Education Report, titled ‘ASER 2023: Beyond Basics’.
  • Based on survey among rural students aged 14 to 18 years.
  • Conducted in 28 districts across 26 States and assessed the foundational reading and arithmetic abilities of

Data Points:

  • More than half struggled with basic mathematics, a skill they should have mastered in Classes 3 and 4.
  • About 25% of this age group cannot read a Class 2 level text in their mother tongue.
  • Boys are doing comparatively better in both arithmetic and language,
  • 8% in the 14-18 year age group are enrolled in an educational institution,
  • Enrollment rate decline with increase in age9% of 14-year-olds are not in school and 32.6% for 18-year-olds are not in school.
  • In class-11, most of the student opt for humanities.
  • Gender based enrollment gap in science in class 11 with only (28.1%) girls compared with boys (36.3%) are enrolled.
  • Only 5.6% have opted for vocational training or other related courses.
  • Children opting for private tuition nationwide went up from 25% in 2018 to 30% in 2022.
  • 90% of the youngsters surveyed have a smartphone; however, most of them are unaware of online safety settings.
 “Achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school by 2025”The National Education Policy 2020 


  • The trends highlight the lag in reading and solving simple arithmetic.
  • The report highlights that all States have made a major push in foundational literacy and numeracy under the NIPUN Bharat Mission.
  • However, the numbers show that in a diverse and vast country such as India, there is a lot of catching up to do.
  • Rising enrollment is good (up to 8th) , however children are not able to cope up with the curriculum of higher classes due to low foundational skill.
  • To cure the current issue we need to implement The Right to Education Act, 2009 in the true spirit of the law.
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