One in four teens can’t read basic text, but can work cellphones

Nearly one in four youth, aged between 14-18 cannot read basic text in their own language fluently revealed a survey report on the state on rural education in the country. Called the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for the rural population, the survey was carried out in 28 districts spread over 24 states.

Since 2006, ASER has reported on rural children’s schooling status and their ability to do basic reading and arithmetic.

Examining the worrisome state of education in rural India, the survey found that while a large number of youth are fluent with using mobile phones and 73 per cent had used them within the last one week, over half of them — 57 per cent — struggled with basic division. That’s not all. On being shown a map of India, 14 per cent could not identify it, 36 per cent could not name the country’s capital and 21 per cent could not tell the name of the state they lived in.

In terms of daily tasks, some simple activities were picked up for the survey, such as counting money, knowing weights and telling time. In these exercises, about one-fourth of the youth couldn’t count correctly, 44 per cent could not add weights correctly in kilograms and telling time was also a problem. The survey says that while telling time in hours was still easier for the boy and girls surveyed, over 40 per cent couldn’t say the hour and minutes together.



  • 14% could not correctly identify the map of India
  • 21% could not correctly name their own state
  • 36% could not correctly name the capital of India
  • 42% could not show their state on the map of India


  • About 25% of this age group still cannot read basic text fluently in their own language.
  • More than half struggle with division (3 digit by 1 digit) problems. Only 43% are able to do such problems

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