State students fare much better in English, Telugu reading: ASER

‘Beyond Basics’ survey of the Annual Status of Education Report revealed that 75.4% in the 14-16 age group and 75.8% in the 17-18 age group in AP can read Grade II-level Telugu text.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

NEW DELHI/VIJAYAWADA : According to the latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) ‘Beyond Basics’ survey released on Wednesday, 71.1% teenagers in the 14-16 years age group and 76.4% aged between 17 and 18 years can read Class-II level text in basic English.

The findings were based on a survey conducted in 28 districts across 26 States, covering a total of 34,745 youth in the age group 14-18 years. In Andhra Pradesh, 1,108 youngsters in 1,047 households of 60 villages were surveyed in Srikakulam district.

The report revealed that 75.4% in the 14-16 age group and 75.8% in the 17-18 age group in Andhra Pradesh can read Grade II-level Telugu text. On the other hand, about 25% of teenagers in India between 14 and 18 years of age cannot fluently read a Class-II level text in their mother tongue. When it comes to reading English, about 42% could not read simple sentences.

“A little over half can read sentences in English (57.3%). Of those who can read sentences in English, almost three-quarters can tell their meanings (73.5%),” the report said.

As part of the survey, youngsters were assigned tasks in five categories: Basic ASER test, everyday calculations, reading and understanding written instructions, financial calculations and digital tasks.

‘84.4% of teens in State got access to smartphone at home’

Mathematics was also not a bright spot as of the 34,745 teens surveyed in the country, only 43.3% could solve a mathematical problem that involved dividing a three-digit number by a single-digit number - a skill that is expected of third or fourth-standard students. However, it is an improvement over the findings of the 2017 survey, when only 39.5% could solve a similar problem. Andhra Pradesh fared better in the task as 58.6% in the 14-16 age group and 57.1% teens aged between 17 and 18 could solve maths problems.

When it comes to youth who can solve financial calculations, 75.6% and 77.1% could manage a budget, while only 37.3% and 37.4% could apply a discount. However, 89.6% youth aged between 14 and 16, and 87.6% in the 17-18 age group could not solve the repayment test. While 60.4% in the 14-16 age group and 64.9% in the 17-18 age group in the State could calculate time, 47.3% and 65.1% could add weights. In two tests for measuring the length of a particular object, youngsters in both age groups fared well in the easy category as 91.0% and 93.8% respectively could solve the test. However, in the hard test, only 54.7% in the 14-16 age group and 68.9% in the 17-18 age group could calculate length of the object.

The survey also found that 89% have access to a smartphone at home, while 94.7% males and 89.8% females said they know how to use one. However, only 19.8% of females and 43.7% of males own a smartphone.

Andhra Pradesh, too, noted a big jump in smartphone access as 84.4% of youth in the 14-18 age group have a smartphone at home. While 69.3% could bring a smartphone to do digital tasks, 88.4% could use it. Of the total who could use a smartphone, 32.8% had their own smartphone.

The report revealed that 94.3% of youngsters in the 17 to 18 age group could use any social media in the reference week. Of the total, 75.6% of youth in the same age group did at least one education-related activity in the reference week. However, 88.5% did at least one entertainment-related activity in the reference week.

“One major worry during COVID-19 was that with livelihoods being threatened, older children would drop out. That fear turned out to be unfounded,” said the survey report.

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