While more than 96 % children in the 6-14 age group are attending school in India, there are some worrying signs as reading and mathematical abilities fall short. The 10th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2014) paints a pathetic picture situation of learning achievement levels across schools in India.
As per the report, only one in four children of class 3 can read a class 2 text fluently. Even in class 5, only 1 in every two students can read the class 2 text. The percentage of class 2 children who cannot recognise numbers up to 9 has increased from 11.3% to 19.5% in 2014. But the figures for rural Indai in terms of proficiency in basic arithmetic have remained unchanged --- in 2012, 26.3% of class 3 students could do a two digit subtraction, the figure has come down to 25.3%.
The enrolment levels are 96% or higher for the 6-14 age group. The proportion of children currently not in school remains at 3.3%. India is close to universal enrolment for the age group 6-14. The proportion of children in private schools has increased slightly as in 2014, 30.8% of all 6-14 year old rural children are enrolled in private schools. This number is up slightly from 29% in 2013. A higher proportion of boys go to private schools as compared to girls as 35.6% of boys are enrolled in private schools as compared with 27.7% of girls. Five states in India now have a more than 50% private school enrolment --- Manipur (73.3%), Kerala (62.2%), Haryana (54.2%), Uttar Pradesh (51.7%), and Meghalaya (51.7%).
Overall, the situation in terms of basic reading is extremely disheartening as in 2014, in Std III, only a fourth of all children can read a Std II text fluently, a number whcih rises to about half in Std V. Even in Std VIII, close to 75% children can read Std II level text only. Besides, Maths continues to be a serious, major source of concerna as the All India (rural) figures for basic arithmetic have remained unchanged. In 2014, 25.3% of Std III children could do a two digit subtraction. For Std V children, the ability to do division stands at 26.1% in 2014.
Since 2010, there has been significant progress in the availability of useable toilets as in 2014, 65.2% schools visited had useable toilets. The girls' toilets were available and useable in 55.7% schools in 2014. On computer availability, the 2014 figure stands at 19.6%. Similarly, the proportion of schools with libraries has increased to 78.1% in 2014.