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The ASER report

IFP Editorial: In 2022, the BJP-led government introduced the ‘School Fagathansi Mission’ in a seemingly new perspective in a wider canvas. However, the focus seems to be directed more on development of physical infrastructure rather than overall development.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 19 Jan 2023, 8:58 pm

Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)
Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)

There is something interesting about the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022 released this month, as opposed to the 2021 report. ASER is an annual survey conducted by the education non-profit Pratham in rural areas of India. The survey was last conducted at this large scale in 2018. According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022, Manipur witnessed an improvement in enrolment in government schools in Manipur with the proportion of children (age 6 to 14) enrolled in government school increasing from 28 per cent in 2018 to 32.8 per cent in 2022. This is the highest enrolment recorded in government schools after 2008, where 33.2 per cent of the children across the state were enrolled in government schools.

However, in comparison with neighbouring NE states, Manipur has the lowest government school enrolment as per the ASER report. The ASER report was released on Wednesday, the survey of which was conducted in nine districts of Manipur comprising 262 villages and 4,859 households. The reports are prepared by the Pratham foundation based on a household telephonic survey conducted in rural areas across the country.

ALSO READ: Manipur records increased enrolment in government schools, but lowest in Northeast

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In the 2021 report, government school enrolment has fallen during this period in the northeast region, and the proportion of children not enrolled in school has increased. For Manipur, enrolment in government schools has fallen from 26.8 per cent in 2018 to 13.4 per cent in 2021. This has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the proportion of children currently not enrolled, from 1.1 per cent in 2018 to 15.5 per cent in 2021, as per the report.

The 2021 report was prepared after conducting a survey in 581 districts in 25 states and three Union Territories, between September and October. The state chief minister himself was not amused with the 2021 report, given the government’s push for overall improvement in the government school sector. However, the 2022 report is indeed encouraging for the government as its efforts seem to be paying dividends though marginally. But, one cannot achieve results overnight and it always takes gradual improvement.

What is now more important is identifying the thrust areas which have contributed to the increase in overall enrolment. We would like to reiterate that a holistic approach is always needed in the pursuit of a realistic overhaul of the school education system and the primary objective of the government should rather be on how to impart basic knowledge systems to the school going kids so as to enthral the growing mind and develop capabilities to surprise us with new ideas and imagination while all other approaches should be secondary to the prime objective.

We do not have much to say about the STAR education policy as we are yet to witness the results in real time. But, we intend to discuss the School Fagathansi Mission. In recent times, school education in Manipur has become a fertile ground for experimenting with projects for ‘development’ of government schools. The so-called projects, though well intended, lack a holistic approach for all-round development or for overhauling the school education system in the state which had all along been plagued with so many ailments and inconsistencies.

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The thought process of the policy planners and political bosses always seems to work on piecemeal basis and at the end, it always seems to boil down to development of physical infrastructure. Previous governments and ministers have tried to address the issue in their own way. A few have introduced the idea of model schools in the different districts, equipping the so-called model districts with new infrastructure and facilities and posting good teachers.

Yet, it failed to garner the desired performance of students from these model schools while on the other hand it enriched favoured contractors who were entrusted with repairing and refurbishing the schools, and supplying new furniture besides other items. In 2022, the BJP-led government also introduced the ‘School Fagathansi Mission’ in a seemingly new perspective in a wider canvas. However, the focus seems to be directed more on development of physical infrastructure rather than overall development. The same basic principle of infrastructure development or improvement and infusion of more teachers to the identified schools is at work here. 

EDITORIAL

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Tags:

northeastschool educationschool fagathansi missionschool enrolmentannual status of education reportgovernment schools in manipuraser report

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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