It was in the year 2008 that I came to know about ASER. I was doing my Masters in Social Work when our teacher told us that we will be taking part in a survey, we didn’t know what kind of survey but all of us were excited that the organization will pay us for doing it (hahaha).
Luckily I was selected to conduct ASER in my own village and I was sure that with such an easy testing tool the children in my village will be able to do it easily. But to my surprise most of the children had difficulty reading a simple story and maths was a big problem for them (big disappointment for me as I was sure they’ll do well).
After completing the survey in my village I travelled to another village near the border, here I found the same situation as in my own village. So after completing these two villages I left back for Shillong and was wondering what is wrong with the children (though they are in school they can’t read properly and solve maths). I can see children in my own village going to school but why are they not learning?
In the year 2010 after completing my studies I was looking forward to a month or two of enjoying a holiday but that did not happen. Our teacher informed us about an opening in ASER. We applied and I was selected as a State Co-coordinator for Meghalaya. From here I started my journey as a member of the ASER family. I started travelling to all the nooks and corners of my state, from one district to another, from one village to another and sometimes to neighboring states. Some moments are memorable (travelling on the rooftop of a bus because it was the only vehicle available to return back was unforgettable).
I have met many people, some who inspire and some whom I inspire. I have seen many parents who are so happy when their children are doing well during testing and some who get angry when their child cannot solve the subtraction. And then the endless games with the little children of the villages and testing one after the other because everyone wanted to be tested (though a few ran away jumping from the window and climb a tree to escape the assessment). Through ASER I have been able to travel to many places and see and meet many people but what saddens me is the low learning level of the children. ASER has been an eye opener for me not to be happy with only seeing children go to school, but understanding that their learning is what matters the most.
– Khraw is State Manager, ASER in Meghalaya