ASER 2020 reached 584 districts across 26 states and 4 Union Territories in rural India. A total of 52,227 households were surveyed, covering 59,251 children in the age group 5-16. Designed as a companion volume to the main ASER 2020 report released in October 2020, the report ‘ASER Digital Check 2020’ explores the question – Did technology enable inclusive education in rural India in a year of lockdown?
Enrollment in school is a vital potential enabler of children’s access to teaching-learning materials while schools were closed. Changes in school enrollment can only be measured accurately once schools reopen and children are able to return to their classrooms. As compared to 2018, this interim measurement in ASER 2020 shows that:
While schools were closed, children relied mainly on the resources available at home to help them learn. These resources consisted of people who could support their studies (for example, educated parents) and technology based educational inputs (TV, radio or smartphone). We categorized parents’ education as ‘low’ (families where both parents had completed Std V or less) or, at the other end of the spectrum, ‘high’ (families where both parents had completed at least Std IX). All other parents were in the ‘medium’ category where there were many possible combinations.
With learning materials being provided remotely if at all, children relied heavily on family support to engage with their studies during school closures. ASER 2020 data shows that regardless of parents’ education level and the child’s sex, families invested significant effort in supporting children’s learning.
Governments and others have used a variety of mechanisms to share learning materials with students during school closures. These include activities using traditional materials like textbooks or worksheets; online or recorded classes; and videos or other materials shared via phone or in person, among others. ASER 2020 asked whether households had accessed or received any such materials from children’s schools in the week prior to the survey in September 2020.