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Release of ASER 2008
ASER 2008 also reveals that the number of children going to private schools have increased from 16.4 percent in 2005 to 22.5 percent in 2008. The greatest increase is seen in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka
MONTEK SINGH Ahluwalia released ASER reports of the year 2008 on January 13, 2009, in New Delhi at Triveni auditorium. According to the report Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have shown a major improvement in basic arithmetic learning.

ASER, the Annual Status of Education Report is a survey on the quality of education in India which is conducted each year, since 2005, by an organization known as Pratham. It provides a comprehensive and reliable set of data at national level. The survey made by ASER is based on getting reliable estimate of the status of children’s schooling and basic learning at the district level. After that it measures the change in these basic learning and compares it with that of the previous year’s data.

The fourth Annual Status of Education Report revealed that Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh lead the nation with reading ability of over 60 percent children of standard III can read the text books of standard I and over 36.8 percent children in standard V are able to read at least the text books of standard II. More than 77 percent of children in standard V in Madhya Pradesh can solve a division sum, a high level arithmetic task.

Bihar has shown a consistent data for school going children over the last four years. The percentage of children, deprived of education, has gone up by 1.7 percent in Uttar Pradesh and 0.6 percent in Rajasthan between 2007 and 2008.

ASER 2008 also reveals that the  number of children going to private schools have increased from 16.4 percent in 2005 to 22.5 percent in 2008. The greatest increase is seen in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Only 61 percent of children of standard V, in the nation can tell the time correctly. Karnataka and Orissa are among the states which have recorded progress in reading ability.

"Only 59.6 per cent rural children (standard 3-5) in Gujarat can read standard one text as against the all India average of 66.6 per cent. While only 43.1 per cent could do subtraction against the national average of 54.9 per cent," as mentioned in ASER. "It is startling that Gujarat the fastest growing states in terms of development is worst in the national average even in currency tasks," Mr. Ahluwalia said.

Dr. Madhav Chavan, the head of Pratham, the organization that facilitates ASER said that if the education level of government schools does not improve then resignations could be asked.

ASER is included in the national and state level policy and discussion documents. It is the vanguard of government’s planning and action which have brought forth the challenges to improve the quality of education for children.

(pratham.org and asercentre.org are the websites having further information on ASER.)

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