Kerala Teens Shine: Proficient in English and Digital Skills, Leading the Nation

By Consultants Review Team Friday, 19 January 2024

As the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2023: Beyond Basics) highlighted substantial educational disparities among rural teenagers aged 14 to 18 in India, the findings brought positive news for Kerala, where teens demonstrated exceptional proficiency in English language skills and widespread smartphone access.

Conducted by the NGO Pratham, ASER 2023 surveyed teens across 28 districts in 26 states, selecting Ernakulam as the representative district in Kerala. Kerala stood out on the national scale, with an impressive 95% of surveyed teens demonstrating the ability to read sentences in English, surpassing the national average of 57%.

The survey revealed that one-third of teenagers nationwide in the 14-18 age group struggled to fluently read a class-II level text in their regional language. In contrast, only 14% of Kerala students fell into this category. Additionally, the state excelled in mathematical proficiency, with 57% of surveyed teens successfully performing tasks like division, outperforming the national average of 43%.

Notably, over 73% of Kerala's surveyed teens demonstrated competence in budget management tasks, 43% in applying discounts, and 23% in calculating repayments. Nationally, these figures stood at 61%, 37%, and 11%, respectively.

The state boasted a high smartphone penetration rate, with 99.5% of surveyed teens confirming smartphone availability at home, surpassing the national average of 89%. Kerala also led in the number of teens (90.3%) who brought a smartphone for the survey to complete prescribed digital tasks, compared to the national rate of 67.1%.

Kerala's teens showcased exceptional digital literacy, topping the national charts in tasks like finding and sharing specific videos on YouTube, with over 90% adeptly performing these activities.

Beyond educational achievements, the survey delved into teens' aspirations and work patterns. More than 93% of Kerala's teens in the 14-18 age group were enrolled in schools or colleges, ranking the state among the top three in this category. However, only 3.2% of surveyed teens in Kerala pursued vocational training, falling below the national average of 5.6%. Moreover, only 4% of Kerala's teens worked for 15 or more days, excluding household responsibilities, compared to the national rate of 34%.

In terms of career aspirations, nursing emerged as the top choice for girls (33.4%), while boys (35.5%) preferred the 'other' category, which excluded conventional job preferences. Intriguingly, a significant percentage of teens in the state (21.2% boys and 13.1% girls) responded with 'don't know' when asked about their career aspirations.

Current Issue