Quality check in ASER

by Shikha Rana, Research Associate
5th October started with Nogeshwar (Master trainer) and I reviewing the survey booklets of Kanker district (Chhattisgarh). We identified some villages for field recheck on the basis of various indicators: scrutiny of survey booklets, district compilation sheets and surveyor’s profile. Recheck is an inevitable part of the ASER process to ensure the quality of the survey across India. Finally, we decided to conduct the field recheck in two villages. There was no public transportation service available to reach these villages in Chhattisgarh, which automatically make them cut off from the various services and resources. On my way to the villages several points which I had read in policy documents struck my mind. One was that it is impossible to achieve inclusive growth which is a loudly announced aim of 12th five year plan in India if this 69% of the population remains cut off under the dark sky. 
We reached the first village and verified the data from the school administration. Through teachers we got to know that two children were tested in the school premises and this was later confirmed by the children. Afterwards, we started walking through the village to understand its geographical area, in order to obtain confirmation that the sample of 20 households had been selected from each section of the village. It is extremely important that the surveyors divide the village and get data from each section so that we get a holistic picture of the village. 

We found that one section was left untouched by the surveyors. We went to this section which was close to 1 km away from the centre of the village; we found that tribal communities live there with very minimal resources. Immediately the Master Trainer stated that “Shikha ji we have to conduct resurvey of this village”. Its pertinent for me to give a short brief on his background; Nogeshwar is a IInd year DIET student who had worked as a Master Trainer with ASER without any remuneration. He performed extremely well in the state level training and was highly motivated. At the end of the day we resurveyed the village. I realized how it is the effort of the entire ASER team to ensure data quality and that is the reason many government officials have told me that they rely on ASER data more than their own.