The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2020 released by non-governmental organisation Pratham revealed that up to 25 percent of students from rural Maharashtra do not have smartphones needed to attend online classes. The report further revealed that as many as 16 percent of students said they do not get academic guidance from their parents because of their poor educational background.The ASER survey, which was conducted to understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak and lockdown on the education system, has revealed that the number of enrolments in government schools has gone up this year by almost 10 percent points compared to the past two years. As per data collected by Pratham from over 6,800 households across 33 districts in Maharashtra in September 2020, 64.4 percent students were found to be enrolled in government schools this year as against 55.25 percent in 2018. An Indian Express report quoting the ASER survey stated that enrolments in private schools have plummeted from 44.7 percent in 2018 to 35.6 percent in 2020.
Speaking about the spike in enrolments in government schools following the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, Somnath Walke, a teacher at Pargaon zila parishad school, said: “A lot of parents who had earlier migrated to cities for work had to return back to their villages due to lack of work opportunities. Many of them enrolled their children in government schools. Similarly, some students who were travelling to private schools in nearby towns also moved to schools in their villages for safety reasons.”
ASER 2020 was conducted by Pratham in 26 states and four union territories across India. As many as 52,227 households and 59,251 children aged five to 16 years were surveyed under ASER 2020.