The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2016, released by Pratham Education Foundation has listed Assam, the lowest in its ranking of primary education in Northeast India.

The annual survey, which measures the enrollment status of children between 3-16 years, has revealed that more than 10 per cent of grade III students in rural Assam can neither read nor recognize alphabets and numbers. This figure has declined from 12.8 per cent in 2015 to 10.7 per cent in 2016.

It is evident from an exhaustive ASER report of 2012-16 that ‘primary education is a dismissed segment in rural schools of Assam’. The reports also highlight the lack of basic infrastructural and other necessary developments in the state like drinking water, toilet, and library.

The report states that only 66.7 per cent of all the schools has proper drinking water facility. While 21 per cent schools lack in such facility, only 12.4 per cent schools do have water facility. However, they have no clean water to drink!

Similarly, only 61.6 per cent of schools have toilets in a usable state. While 3.6 per cent is completely devoid of the facility, 34.8 per cent of schools have toilet facilities in an unusable state. In addition to this, 11.7 per cent of primary schools in Assam has no separate toilet facility for girl students.

In the case of availability of library and computers for students’ use in primary schools, 40.8 per cent and 98.5 per cent schools don’t have library and computers respectively. 

Also, 45.3 per cent of grade I students in Assam’s government and private schools can’t read a single letter in their mother tongue. Only 17 per cent of students can read a single word.

A disturbing 40.5 per cent of grade I students can’t even recognize numbers from 1 to 9. And, only 28.6 per cent and 33.1 per cent of grade VIII students can divide and subtract respectively.

Moreover, in terms of reading and comprehension in English, 54.2 per cent of grade I students in government and private schools can’t read capital letters. The report further added that even in class VIII, 2.7 per cent of students can’t recognise a capital letter.

The survey, which covered 771 villages in 26 districts of Assam, is a crystal clear evidence of the failure of state government’s efforts in reforming education.