With reference to children's learning outcomes, how the ASER survey and National Achievement Survey (NAS) are different from each other? Critically comment on the quality of education in the light of these survey findings.
ASER survey and National Achievement Survey (NAS) are two sources of primary data on learning outcomes of Indian children. However, these two surveys are different from each other in following respects:
- While ASER is a household survey, NAS is a school based survey.
- While ASER conducts its assessment one-on-one, NAS is a pen-paper test.
- While ASER is aimed at a representative sample of all children (whether in in school or out of school), NAS takes into account the children enrolled in government schools.
- ASER focuses on foundational skills such as reading and math, while NAS looks at wider verity of skills.
Although both these surveys are different but both of them point to important trends in children’s learning. The crux of both of them is that though India moved to universal education 9 years ago with enactment of RTE, quality of education is questionable and needs focus. The exams are testing more of the memory of children than their understanding and ability to apply the learning’s in the surroundings. Thus, the need of the hour is to take corrective measures towards improving quality to ensure that vast human capital of the country transforms into human capital aiding in reaping the benefits of demographic dividend in the coming decades or else there would be disastrous situation. [2018-CGS-07]