Only 64% of Young Rural Indians Can Identify the Capital of India

India is failing to train adolescents in rural schools. Most are not able to retain skills learnt in earlier classes

Published
India
6 min read
One in every five adolescents had not completed eight years of schooling. The rate was about the same for men and women.
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India is failing to train adolescents (14 to 18-year-olds) in rural schools, with most not able to retain skills learnt in earlier classes, reveals the 2017 edition of the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) brought out by education advocacy Pratham.

One in every 10 and every four rural Indians aged 14-18 years could not read class 1 and class 2 (meant for children aged 5 to 7 years) text in their own language, said the ASER report, released on Tuesday, 16 January.

Only 64 percent of rural adolescents could name India’s capital, with some unable to grasp the question, identifying the capital as “Pakistan” or “China.”

Female adolescents in rural Indian schools are better at recognising numbers up to 99, but lag behind men in many parameters, including financial knowledge, using an ATM, or telling the time.

Only 43 percent of adolescents in rural schools were able to divide a three-digit number by a one-digit number, a primary level skill. Only 23 percent were able to subtract and only 66 percent could not recognise numbers below 99. Women were better than men.

The share of 125 million Indians aged 18 enrolled in an educational programme had risen to 70 percent in ASER 2017 from 44 percent in 2011, the report said. The ASER survey interviewed 28,323 adolescents in 23,868 households in 26 rural districts across 24 states during October to December 2017, and collected information on activity (calculation and daily tasks), ability (reading and numeracy skills), awareness, and aspirations.

Overall, 86 percent of adolescents aged 14 to 18 were enrolled in the formal education system. While 54 percent of youth in this age group were enrolled in class 10 or below, 25 percent were either in class 11 or class 12, and 6 percent in undergraduate or other degree courses. Only 14 percent were not enrolled in any form of formal education.  
Enrolment in an educational institution among 14 to18-year-olds in rural India.
Enrolment in an educational institution among 14 to18-year-olds in rural India.
(Photo Courtesy: Indiaspend)

More Women Drop Out as Age Increases

The enrolment gap between men and women increased with age. At age 14, the difference between the male and female non-enrolment is 1 percentage point, with 4.7 percent males not enrolled against 5.7 percent females; it rises to 4 percentage points by age 18, with 32 percent females not enrolled against 28 percent males.

One in every five adolescents had not completed eight years of schooling. The rate was about the same for men and women.

Only 43 percent were able to divide a three-digit number by a one-digit number. At 39.5 percent, fewer women were able to divide than men (47 percent). Only 23 percent of adolescent students were able to subtract, and there was no difference in the performance of men and women. Only 34 percent recognised numbers below 99, though more women (38 percent) could than men (30 percent).

While 86 percent could solve an easy problem measuring length (men: 90 percent, women: 83 percent), only 40 percent could solve a harder problem (men: 48 percent, women: 32.5 percent). Only half of the sample could apply the unitary method (men: 59 percent, women: 43 percent) – finding the value of one unit from the given value of a multiple to find the value of another multiple (finding the cost of one napkin from the cost of 10 napkins to finally find the cost of 13 napkins) – and 39 percent could tell time (men: 43.6 percent, women: 34 percent).

While 58 percent of adolescents in the sample could read an English sentence (explain at least two of the four sentences given in the ASER test in their local language), more men (61 percent) could do so than women (55.5 percent).

While three in four adolescents could count money, far more men (82 percent) could do so than women (70 percent). Yet, more women (76 percent) had a bank account than men (72 percent).

However, men were ahead of women on all other measures of financial participation: depositing or withdrawing money (men: 54 percent, women: 48 percent), using an ATM (men: 22 percent, women: 10 percent) and using internet banking (men: 7 percent, women: 2 percent).

Men were also better at financial tasks, such as managing a budget (men: 67 percent, women: 60 percent) or making a purchase (men: 67 percent, women: 61 percent).

Men Want to Be Soldiers or Engineers, Women Want to Be Teachers or Nurses

The ASER survey found that 17.6 percent of adolescent males said they wanted to join the army or the police and 11.6 percent wanted to become engineers; while 25 percent of females wanted to teach and 18 percent wanted to become doctors or nurses.

No more than 13 percent of adolescent males and 9 percent of women sought a government job. Only 1 percent of all adolescents in the sample wanted to work in agriculture.

Almost 40 percent reported having no role models for the occupation they aspired to join.

While 60 percent wanted to study beyond school, 8 percent didn’t know till what level and 4 percent did not “want to study any further.”

Aspirations among 14 to 18- years-olds in rural India.
Aspirations among 14 to 18- years-olds in rural India.
(Photo Courtesy: Indiaspend)

Of the 5 percent of the youth enrolled in vocational training, 59 percent were in courses of less than six months, 24 percent in year-long courses, 12 percent in two-year courses, and 6 percent in courses more than two years long.

Among those studying, 38.5 percent were working and 60 percent of those not studying were working. Most helped in their family’s agriculture work: 76 percent of those studying and 56 percent of those not studying.

Working youth among 14 to 18 year olds in rural India.
Working youth among 14 to 18 year olds in rural India.
(Photo courtesy: Indiaspend)

India’s Capital: Pakistan, China or Delhi?

While 86 percent in the sample could recognise India’s map (men: 89 percent, women: 83 percent), only 64 percent could name India’s capital (men: 69 percent, women: 60 percent). Some even thought Pakistan or China were India’s capital, Manju, one of ASER’s surveyors in Rajasthan, said during the launch of the report.

Only 42 percent could identify their own state on a map (men: 49 percent, women: 36 percent).

More Women Could Not Answer Questions Than Men

For every one of the 24 assessment tasks administered in the survey, more women than men did not even attempt a response.

Asked to identify their state on the map, 21 percent of adolescent males did not attempt an answer, against 32 percent of females.

Asked to calculate the amount to be repaid on a bank loan after a year, 21 percent of men did not answer against 29 percent of women.

Asked to calculate the total weight from a picture with a set of six weights (the kind used to weigh vegetables in the market), 4.8 percent of men did not attempt an answer against 13.5 percent of women.

To a question that asked them to total the amounts in a picture of four currency notes, 2.5 percent of men did not attempt an answer against 5 percent of women.

(This article was first published on Indiaspend)

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