Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is a citizen-led, household-based survey. It was conducted in 2021 during Covid-19 across 152 rural districts of Pakistan assessing the learning outcomes of children aged 5-16 while also collecting information on the impact of the pandemic on learning and other household indicators . The survey gives an overview of the learning competencies (grades 2/3-lower primary) of Pakistan’s children whether in-school or out of school.
This survey was conducted by Idara E Taleem O Aagahi in partnership with local partners and volunteers. It reached 247,978 children 3-16 in 87,415 households, 4420 villages and 5698 schools (4096 government) through 11,000 volunteers and 20 civil society organizations. This survey is unique as it was conducted during a rare window of relative stability when schools remained more or less opened between September to November 2021.
Summary of Key Findings of ASER 2021(National Rural)
- In 2021, 81 percent of 6-16 year old children in rural Pakistan were enrolled in schools whereas 19 percent children were out-of-school. Amongst the enrolled, 81 percent of children were in government schools and 19 percent were in non-state institutions (18 percent private schools, 1 percent Madrassah, 0 percent others).
- In ASER 2021, amongst the 19 percent out-of- school children (age 6-16 years), 10 percent were males and 9 percent were females. This gap has narrowed compared to the last ASER cycle (7 percent males and 9 percent females). However, this time more boys are out of school as compared to girls.
- AJK, GB and Punjab all recorded fall in enrolment ranging between 2 percent to 5 percent. ASER rural results over the years illustrate a decline in the number of children going to non-state schools; 19 percent children of age 6-16 are enrolled in private sector in 2021, while in 2019 the percentage was 30 percent.
- Pre-school enrolment (3-5 years) in 2021 stands at 38 percent as compared to 39 percent in 2019.
Quality of Learning
- Learning levels in two competencies, i.e. Language (Urdu/Sindhi/Pashto) and Arithmetic have declined since 2019. However, English learning levels have improved marginally.
- In ASER 2021, 55 percent of Class 5 students were reported as being able to read a story in Urdu/Sindhi/Pashto. Similarly, 51 percent of Class 5 students were able to do 2-digit division. For English this year, 56 percent of class 5 students could read Class 2 level English sentences as compared to 55 percent of Class 5 students who could do so in 2019.
- The top scorers for Language: Urdu are AJK (72 percent), Punjab (68 percent), Islamabad-ICT, (74 percent), GB (52 percent), and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (50 percent); English: AJK (86 percent), Punjab (73 percent), GB (65 percent) and Islamabad-ICT (62 percent), and for Arithmetic: Punjab (69 percent), AJK (72 percent), GB (61 percent), and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (50 percent).
- ASER Rural Survey 2021 highlights as per past trends, children enrolled in private schools are performing better in literacy compared to government counterparts, whilst for numeracy they performed at par.
- Mothers’ Education (National Rural): In 2021, the percentage of mothers’ having completed primary education has declines (32 percent) as compared to 2019 (35 percent).
School Facilities & Other Indicators
- ASER 2021 surveyed 4,096 Government and 1,602 Private schools in 152 rural districts of Pakistan. Private sector still reports better school facilities but with progressive improvement in government schools.
- Overall teacher attendance in government schools was 90 percent compared to 92 percent in private schools. Overall student attendance in government schools was 80 percent compared to 87 percent in private schools.
- 32 percent teachers of government schools have done bachelors compared to 37 percent teachers of private schools. Whereas, 52 percent teachers of government schools have done Masters as compared to 38 percent teachers of private schools.
- 70 percent of the surveyed government primary schools have toilets in 2021 compared to 59 percent in 2019. Similarly, 71 percent surveyed private primary schools have toilet facility in 2021 compared to 89 percent in 2019.
- 57 percent of the surveyed government primary schools have drinking water facility in 2021 compared to 61 percent in 2019; 77 percent of the surveyed private primary schools have drinking water facility in 2021 as compared to 93 percent in 2019.
- Multi-grade Teaching: The trends in multi-grade teaching across schools are as follows. ASER 2021 National-Rural reveals that 40 percent of government and 23 percent of private schools have multi- grade teaching at Class II level; whilst at the Class VIII level, multi-grade teaching is stood at 6 percent in government schools and 19 percent in private sector schools.
ASER Findings on Technological Access and Learning Support Received During COVID-19
ASER 2021 also included a wide range of questions from the households on technological access, recipient of social safety nets, earning and psychological well-being affected during COVID-19, learning support received by children during COVID-19, etc. Few important findings are shared below:
- 77 percent of households across all rural districts of Pakistan have mobile phones and 62 percent have smart phones. Amongst mobile users, 89 percent use WhatsApp services, whilst 64 percent use SMS facility.
- 23 percent have internet connection and 18 percent have computer/laptops. 65 percent households have TV and 18 percent have radio.
- Only 16 percent of the households stated that they have received support from social safety nets (Categories: Ehsaas, BISP, PSPA, Akhuwat, etc.)
- 30 percent of the households stated that their psychological well-being was substantially affected during COVID-19.
- 16 percent of the households stated that their earning during COVID-19 got affected by more than 50 percent.
- From a high of 68 percent support from family members, 57 percent availed PTV TeleSchool sessions, 37 percent had access to smart phones, followed by 29 percent with access to computer, 27 percent to paid tuition, 14 percent digital learning resources and 6 percent accessed radio programmes for learning support.
(1) ASER Survey 2021
(2) Education Chapter- Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-2022