Citizen-led learning assessments have been one of the most internationally influential educational initiatives of the decade. However, what of impact in their home countries? This blog is written on ASER India’s tenth birthday, prompting us to celebrate its success but also look to the future. ASER in India has been ground-breaking, inspiring participatory learning assessments across the globe:
The global community has failed dismally in meeting the challenge of providing all children with a quality education. This education failure is tragically apparent in Pakistan, the world’s sixth most populous country. This failure of learning is evident both in the results of public sector examinations and private sector citizen-led household-based assessments like ASER Pakistan.
As is common on hot summer afternoons in villages in India, a man lay resting on a string cot under the mango tree. It was a Sunday. His three sons were playing nearby. The father knew that there was a survey of children and education going on in the village. “Yes, they all go to school” he told us as we approached. “May I ask them to read?” I asked. The father looked sceptical. “Yes, you can, but they do go to school” he explained patiently.
From Kenya to India to the United States, world leaders are realizing the global learning crisis that threatens to rob millions of children of the fundamental human right to education, and the knowledge and skills required for well-being and prosperity in the 21st century. Well before Education for All (EFA) was endorsed in 1990, educators recognized that providing access to schooling without also ensuring student learning is an empty promise.