When it comes to basic arithmetic, boys seem to hold a substantial advantage over girls. Nationally, 50% of all boys in the age group 14 to 16 can correctly solve a division problem as compared to 44% of all girls, found out the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018.
While this gender gap exists at national-level in solving mathematical problems, several states showed otherwise. In states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, girls are doing better than boys in arithmetic.
Girls have continued to outperform boys in all most all other findings of the report.
This year's ASER report reached out to 596 districts, 354,944 households and 546,527 children in the 3-16 age group. The survey took into account three major aspects:
1. School enrolment and attendance
2. Basic reading and math abilities
3. School facilities with sports infrastructure
For the first time in 2018, the number of children in the 6 to 14 age group who are not enrolled in school fell below 3% and stood at 2.8%.
“In 2006, the all India proportion of girls in the age group 11 to 14 who were out of school stood at 10.3%. In that year, 9 major states had out of school figures for girls (age 11-14) above 10%. In 2018, the overall proportion of girls in the 11 to 14 age group out of school has fallen to 4.1%. This figure is more than 5% in only 4 states. Further, ten years ago in 2008, nationally, more than 20% of girls in the 15 to 16 age group were not enrolled in school. In 2018, this figure has decreased to 13.5%,” stated the report.
Reading abilities of children have also shown gradual improvement. The percentage Standard III children who can read Standard II level text increased from 21.6% in 2013 to 27.2% in 2018.
However, the percentage of children being able to solve arithmetic problems remained nearly stagnant. Percentage of children in Standard III who can do maths problem went up from 27.6% in 2016 to just 28.1% in 2018.
Gender differences in reading and arithmetic in the 14-16 age group are not much. Figures for both boys and girls stood at around 77%. However, girls outperform boys in many states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.
The survey also looked at schools. “Nationally, in 2018, 4 out of 10 government primary schools visited had less than 60 students enrolled,” said the report.
This number witnessed a gradual increase from 26.1% in 2009 to 30% in 2011, 33.1% in 2013, 39.8% in 2016, and finally 43.3% in 2018.
ASER, the autonomous research and assessment unit of Pratham Education Foundation. The ASER 2018 report was released on Tuesday.