Impact-Talk with Dr. Madhav Chavan, CEO - Pratham and Dr. Wilima Wadhwa, Head ASER Centre
Impact-Talk with Dr. Madhav Chavan, CEO - Pratham and Dr. Wilima Wadhwa, Head ASER Centre

By auther pic. CSRBOX

February 6, 2019

CSRBOX media team  interacted with  Dr. Madhav Chavan, CEO - Pratham and Dr. Wilima Wadhwa, Head ASER Cente at the Release of Annual Status of Education Report(ASER) 2017, in IIC Delhi


Dr. Wadhwa speaking with Team CSRBOX


For the last 11 years ASER has been reporting on the learning levels of age group 5-16 years old. This year they decided to look at a slightly older age group for a variety of reasons and to know what older children can do. It was the 1st cohort of post RTE, children who are entitled to 8 years of schooling. RTE came into effect from 2008 and in the next 10 years till present, 2018, the effect has been reflected in the enrolment numbers in standard 8 which has doubled from 11 million in 2004 to 22 million in 2014 and it can be regarded as an attempt to shine the spotlight on these years. These years play an important role in shaping the personality and career of the children because the transition from middle to secondary schools happens in this phase. If one drops out here, they are unlikely to go back to complete their education. Important career choices are made in this phase and the education system in India is not flexible that one can go back, and not a lot of people go back to school.


All options should be open at this point because once a career option is chosen, it becomes clay which is difficult to mould. A lot of studies have been done and it has been found that the government is shifting focus to middle and secondary schooling.


It was necessary, for research and to scale up to the ASER infrastructure which could be used by local household, where youth can be involved and it becomes easy to communicate and implement. Itwas found while piloting question for the research study, that there was very little engagement at anything that involved academics. At the end of the day, everybody has to live their life and perform their duties, therefore ASER decided to go on an assessment which was more functional than academic and study whether young people could do things that they were supposed to do.


It is a pilot study with a sample of 30000. It is hoped that it will start a national conversation. The idea was to show a snapshot of the lives of the young people as there are so many aspects to look at the life of a youth. This study has more variables than the standard ASER study and has engaged volunteers from colleges to speak to the young children which may have been a challenge otherwise. It will be, therefor e a long process which takes time. This project is as of now a pilot project; however there are plans to redo it in the future.


Dr. Chavan speaking about organization's plan to engage youth between 14 and 18 years of age


The organization has been doing the survey report on annual status of education for 10 years, for the age group of 6-14 because it was the age group fixed for the right to free and compulsory education in India. While doing the survey it was continuously felt that while the RTE was only upto 14 years and the legal age of working was 18 years, there was no plans for the age 14-18 years age group and it was needed to understand what was going on in that age group as more and more number of children were coming out of that age group and also the retention had increased yet the learning level were low. It was necessary to know the effect on the children who had completed their schooling upto 8th standard and gone beyond.


It was a pilot to see what could be tested rather than what was normally tested. Experiments were done with skills on vocation however a satisfactory measuring tool failed to come up.  Over a period of time a tool may come up which would be able to measure whether age group 14-16 are learning or not. The organization would continue to work on to scale age group 6-14 and focusing on age 6-10 but will gradually make forage to the group 11-14 and 14-18 but there are no future plans at present to focus on developing new tools for the children aged between 14-18. 



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