Imphal, Jan 17
Free and compulsory education to all children in the country seems to have no significance in the state of Manipur as enrolment of children in pre-school is considerably lower than any other districts in the country.
The fourteenth Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2019 ‘Early Years’) released in New Delhi on January 14 this year says that only 13.3% of 4 year olds and 1.2% of 5 year olds are enrolled in Anganwadis (pre-school) in Bishnupur district of Manipur. This number is considerably lower than the all-districts average of 44.2% children enrolled in Anganwadis in age 4 and 26.2% in age 5.
The finding was conducted in 26 districts across 24 states in India using Probability Proportional to Size survey methodology. The survey covered a total of 1,514 villages, 30,425 households, and36,930 children in the age group of 4-8 years. Sampled children’s enrollment status in pre-school or school was collected. Children did a variety of cognitive, early language, and early numeracy tasks; and activities to assess children’s social and emotional development were also undertaken. All tasks were done one-on-one with children in their homes. In Bishnupur, a total of 1,202 households in 60 randomly selected villages were surveyed. 1,305 children in the age group of 4-8 were covered in this survey.
The report said that ability of the children between age 4 to age 5 to do all tasks is comparatively poor . It said, while 31% of 4-year-olds enrolled in anganwadis or government pre-primary classes were able to do a 4-piece puzzle, 45% of 5-year-olds attending these institutions could do so. In Bishnupur, almost none of the children in the age group of 4-5 years could correctly answer the listening comprehension questions. Only 1% of 4 year olds and 0.6% of 5 year olds could correctly do this task.
Enrolment of children as per the Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE) are not appropriates in Bishnupur district. The ASER report said that the RTE mandates age of 6 years for entry to Std I. In Bishnupur, 62.6% of the children enrolled in Std I are of age 7 and 8 and 17.8% of the children are of the age 4 and 5. This shows that a major chunk of children in Std I in Bishnupur are not of the appropriate age.
The ASER report said that 47.2% of the children in primary grades at the age of 8 could identify all the four primary emotions compared to an all districts average of 60.5% covered in the survey.
In Bishnupur, in the emotion identification task, children found identifying the emotion ‘happy’ the most difficult among 4 primary emotions .