Why more kids are going to school but learning less

Despite school closures during the pandemic, overall enrolment figures have increased from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022, recording the highest enrolment for the 6-14 age

group, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022. The annual status of education in rural India also highlighted that almost one-third of the students from

Classes I to VIII are now taking paid private tuitions. The big turnaround during this period is the rebound of enrolment in government schools. Government school enrolment

in the 6-14 age group had seen a steady decline from 2006 to 2014 to record 64.9% and remained around that figure till 2018. In 2018, it increased to 65.6% and thereafter reached

72.9% in 2022. This is visible in all states and Union territories. Another improvement marker highlighted in the report released on January 18 is the lowest ever

rate for the proportion of girls out of school — down to 2% from 4.1% in 2018 and 10.3% in 2006. This becomes significant as nationally now a lesser number of girls in the 15-16

age group are out of school. However, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh present causes for concern since they continue to have more than 10% of these older age group

girls out of schools. ASER returned after a gap of four years, reaching 616 rural districts. The 2022 data comes after schools reopened following prolonged closures due to

the Covid pandemic. The latest study surveyed a total of 19,060 villages in rural India, which include 3.74 lakh households and 6.99 lakh children in the 3-16 age group.