The ninth Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), released last week, affirms two of our fears: One, the quality of education in India is abysmal, and, two, Indians are losing faith in Government schools and opting for private institutions and tuitions instead. One would agree that moving from one class to another without acquiring the basic skills required for that ‘promotion’ is not progress, but detaining a child has been ruled out by the Right To Education Act 2009. This has resulted in quantity (a consistent enrolment rate) but not quality (a desired literacy level). The study covered 550 districts and close to 16,000 villages and 6 lakh children in age group of 3-16. The report revealed that while enrolment in the age group of 6-14 remains high, at almost 96 per cent, what is worrisome is that only 40.2 per cent Std 3 students can read at least a Std 1 level paragraph. And only 47 per cent students in Std 5 are able to read a Std 2 level text. The figures are worse in arithmetic. Only 25.6 per cent of Std 5 students can do a three-digit by one-digit division problem that is covered in a Std 3 or Std 4 syllabus.