The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022 is a nationwide citizen-led household survey that provides a snapshot of children’s schooling and learning in rural India. ASER 2022 reached almost all rural districts of India, and generated district, state and national level estimates of children’s enrollment status and foundational skills. Information about enrollment in school or pre-school was collected for all children aged 3-16, and children aged 5-16 were tested one-on-one to understand their reading, arithmetic and English skills.
The first ASER was conducted in 2005 and repeated annually for ten years. In 2016, ASER shifted to an alternate-year cycle in which the ‘basic’ nationwide ASER alternated with a smaller survey (1-2 districts per state) focusing on other age groups and dimensions of learning. ASER 2017 reported on the activities and abilities of youth aged 14-18. ASER 2019 explored cognitive, early language, and early numeracy skills among young children aged 4-8. COVID-19 interrupted this alternate-year trajectory, and in 2020 and 2021 ASER pivoted to a phone-based format which tracked 5-16-yearold children’s access to remote learning opportunities in rural India.
ASER 2022 is the first field-based ‘basic’ nationwide ASER after a gap of 4 years. It comes at a time when children are back in school after an extended period of school closure. Evidence on the status of children’s schooling and foundational learning will help us understand how best to support them going forward, and ASER 2022 attempts to address this urgent need.