Pratham



DISTRICTS AND CITIES OF PRATHAM ACTIVITY

 

Watch a video of the ASER process and its impact in India and abroad:



 
In 2008, ASER and Akshara Foundation received the Excellence in Information Integrity Award from the Information Integrity Coalition, a not
for-profit that promotes awareness and understanding of Information Integrity.
 
ASER

Facilitated by Pratham, ASER(meaning impact in Hindi) is the largest household survey undertaken in India by people outside the government. It annually measures the enrollment as well as the reading and arithmetic levels of children in the age group of 6-14 years.

ASER is carried out by a local organization or institution in each rural district in the country, using a common set of tools and a common sampling frame. In 2008, ASER reached over 7,04,000 children in 16,198 villages in 564 rural districts in India. More than 32,000 volunteers from NGOs, colleges and universities, youth and women groups participated in this effort.

The survey is being conducted since 2005 and each year, the entire effort from start to finish takes only 100 days. The report is released in January every year. The findings are disseminated widely within the government and outside at the national, state, district and village levels.

ASER has become an important input in the educational policies of both the Central and State governments.   The findings of the survey have been referred to in the approach paper to the 11th Planning Commission and several state governments use the findings to define their educational programs each year.  Since the last 4 years the report has been released by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

ASER has demonstrated that it is possible to use simple, reliable and scientific methods of sampling and assessment on scale for high impact at low cost. It has also been an excellent example for building nationwide local participation by involving ordinary citizens in understanding the current situation in elementary education. Its significance in setting the quality agenda in education is widely acknowledged in government and policy circles both in India and internationally.

Expanding the ASER vision

Several years' experience of doing ASER all over the country generated some important insights which led to the establishment of ASER Centre in early 2008:

 

 

  • The lack of a culture of measurement and analysis especially with respect to outcomes. Whether within the government or otherwise, the practice of using evidence to formulate plans and strategies and to take stock of progress and development is rare. 

  • The widespread need for basic capacity building with respect to the nuts and bolts of measurement, evidence and analysis. At the district and even at state level, ordinary people --students, citizens' groups, non-government organizations and even mid levels of government-- have limited access to basic technical knowledge and skills of sampling, survey methodology or statistics. Moreover, people with both technical knowledge and field experience are hard to find. 

  • The lack of information on outcomes and how these can lead to action. Unless people and (in the case of schools) parents demand better services, quality is unlikely to improve regardless of government provisioning. At the same time, there is an overall public perception that government delivery of services cannot be improved. There is also a low level of awareness that government programs are actually funded by tax payer money. Thus the demand for improved quality is low. 

The Pratham-ASER approach visualises measurement as the first stage for action.  Both tools and findings are used to propel action at different levels. Involving large numbers of people in identifying and quantifying a problem is the first step in enabling action. The next step is to create a demand for better services at the ground level. The ASER approach, with its simple methods and tools, has the potential to catalyze change at the community level.

ASER Centre was established in January 2008 as a specialized, independent unit within the Pratham network. Its twin objectives are to continue to implement ASER and related assessment activities in the social sectors, and to build the capacity of individuals and organizations across the country to undertake similar initiatives. It is an attempt to institutionalize and strengthen the design and process of ASER and ASER-like initiatives. Read more at www.asercentre.org

Publication

ASER experience in Africa - UWEZO ASER 2011 Main Findings
   
Broad Overview about ASER