‘7 out of 10 teens can use cellphone but not read basic text’

New Delhi: More than seven out of ten children in the age group of 14-18 years can use a cellphone, but cannot read basic text fluently in their language, says the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER).

The report also says that females have reduced access to cellphones.

While only 12 per cent males have never used a cellphone, the corresponding number of females is much higher at 22 per cent, it says.

The report released here today is based on a survey which was carried out in 28 districts of 24 states, with four domains in focus, namely what are the children of this age group (14 to 18 years) doing, their ability, awareness and aspirations.

“While 25 per cent in the 14-18 age group still cannot read basic text fluently in their own language, more than half struggle with division problems. As for English sentences, 53 per cent can read them. It has also been found that the proportion of youths, who have not acquired basic math skills by 14 years, is the same as that of 18-year-olds,” the report says.

ASER 2017 has focused on 14 to 18-year-olds, who have just moved beyond the elementary school and are the first batch to pass out of class VIII after the implementation of the Right to Education Act, 2009.

According to the report, the number of students enrolled in school systems once they move out of the protection of the Right to Education Act, has drastically decreased particularly of girls.

The survey this year has attempted to analyse what do the children do after they move out of the security of the Right to Education Act, how much of what they learnt can be applied in their daily lives, what kind of exposure and familiarity with technology they enjoy, and what kind of career or educational goals they nurture as they get closer to adulthood.

However, the report has found that enrolment in schools or colleges among children at 14 years of age is a lot more than among those at 18 years of age.

The report also observes that the enrolment gap between males and females increases with age. It shows that at 14 years, while 4.7 per cent males and 5.7 per cent females are not enrolled in schools or colleges, at 18 years that gap increases with 27.8 per cent males and 32.1 per cent females out of schools or colleges. PTI

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