Success story of HP Govt Initiative, Manraj Grewal
The HP Human Development Report 2002 records how the state, which had one of the lowest literacy levels (4.8 per cent) in the 1950s, emerged as the fifth most literate state of India in 1991, and now stands next only to Kerala in this field.
But when it comes to universalising education at the level of primary schools, the state is arguably the tops in the country with an enrollment rate of 98.7 per cent, and an unmatched access to primary schools despite its hilly terrain.
The dropout rate, too, is one of the lowest in the country, at two per cent, while the student: teacher ratio stands at a handsome 23:1.
Now the state, whose primary schooling is oft-quoted as a success story by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, is determined to achieve cent per cent enrollment by the end of 2005 with the Education Guarantee Scheme, under which it is setting up mobile and cluster schools, the former for the itinerant communities and the latter for students of construction workers, labourers, et al.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh says the schooling revolution in the state has taken place mainly due to the missionary zeal with which every successive state government has pursued primary education. The state spends around 16 to 17 per cent of its Plan budget on education. At Rs 215, its per capita expenditure on education, according to 1995-96 data, is also much higher than Punjab (153), Haryana (127), Uttar Pradesh (71) and the national average of 137.
Dreze attributes the success to a combination of factors, including
initiatives taken to promote schooling, the egalitarian, gender
society in the hills, and a community that sets great store by
An external review system may well be the next stage towards quality improvement in the unaided school education sector in Tamil Nadu. The Prof. A. Gnanam committee that has prepared a revised curriculum and syllabus for matriculation schools, has
mooted this external quality review (EQR) system to make the institutions strive for self-improvement... The EQR system has been mooted by the Prof. Gnanam committee in lieu of the present 'inspection system' for matric-ulation schools. In a mass education system where the number of institutions is too large and mobility of students is happening across large distances,
an inspectorate type of regulation might not bring in the expected enhancement of essential quality.
The proposed EQR system combines internal responsibilities with external referencepoints and leads the institutions towards self improvement, the report notes. When contacted, Dr. Gnanam said there was indeed a need to have an EQR system oordinated by an external body. "Following the models in higher education system available in Australia or the United
States, schools can come together to form an assessment/ accreditation body at the State level. We can have trained and unbiased assessors from different sectors. The schools can be asked to prepare a self assessment report and send it to the
State-level body which can do the EQR assessment to validate a school's own conclusions," he adds.
- Review system mooted to improve quality of unaided schools, K. Ramachandran, The Hindu, 15/10/2004 /eldoc/n20_/15oct04h1.pdf
The reasons for this dissimilarity are not far to seek: In the intervening decade, Indian education had to struggle against two major assaults, one from the global market forces and the other from communal and divisive forces. While market ideology considerably diluted the notion of social justice and equality guaranteed by the Constitution, the communal forces challenged the multi-ethnic, multilinguistic and multicultural foundation of Indian nationhood.
meet squarely confronted these challenges. It not
took up the education policies of the previous government, but also
into perennial problems pertaining to universal access and quality of
The minister, among other things, said the time had come to review the
1986 policy. He announced the formation of seven committees, each
on a key issue.
DPEP Govt SChools Alternative intervention
a dilapidated building sporting the board
High School' in Alwaye, a prominent town in Ernakulam District, a few
One students are trying to learn the tables of seven by counting the
of the manjadi plant. A few others are reading aloud an
and a 'bhakshanapattu' (songs on kitchen vessels and food) from charts
clipped to a rope tied across the classroom. No text-books and no
down mean-ingless information. The noise is deafening, the scene pure
'The kids have never enjoyed learning better," says their teacher, "but
an official order to cease this kind of
teaching could come any day now."This school is one of the many government-aided schools in Kerala that has undergone a curriculum revision under the DPEP (District Primary Education Programme) intro-duced by the Left government in the early nineties.
...text books were changed. Written content was minimised. Drawing, colouring, group activities, field trips and reading comers in classrooms were the new curricu-lum. Teachers were trained in batches by expert groups. Monitoring agencies comprising of higher-grade teachers and jilla officers toured schools to extend support and tech-nical tips. But it bombed. In just the fourth year of its implementation, the DPEP lost the complete faith of the public and was labelled the greatest fiasco of the Left government.
Off the beaten
track, Shwetha E George,
Girls UEE Govt Initiatives
Now the administration has embarked on an ambi-tious Rs 35 crore primary school education pro-gramme where the focus is
on enrolment of every child. It has also identified areas where schools need to be opened... Girls are being given books and three kg of rice is offered as an incentive every month for attendance in primary schools. The state govern-ment already pays Rs 150 to every child every year under the IRDP but this is not given to failed students.
In the more prosperous village of Kota, down the valley from Pab, Baldev Singh, a ninth standard drop-out, said it was more profitable for him to learn to be a farmer. However, he works for a local NGO and imparts non-formal education to children between the ages of 6 to 14. Madan Sharma who runs Social_ Action for Rural Develop-ment (SARDA), an NGO in Kaffota village, said, " Ear-lier, when we tried to send children to school, we did not succeed. Now with the government incentive of three kg rice per child, chil-dren are going to schools since the rice is given on the basis of attendance."
Kuldeep Verma, of People's Action for People in Need (PAPN), an NGO based in Andheri village in Sangrah tehsil, works in the areas of education, vocational train-ing and NFE. He said women were seldom sent to school and it was only in 1994 that the first girl.
"Mostly girls do not study after metric. However, some did opt for teacher training in the primary school," he said. The school in Andheri is upto the 10th standard and children have, to go to Sangrah for higher secondary and to Nahan for further studies.
In Jablog village nearby, a young girl said,"What is the use of studying. We thought the literacy mission would get us somewhere but nothing has changed. We have so much work— where is the time to study? What will one do with all this learning anyway. If we study too much, it is difficult for us to get married."
PAPN imparts skills like tailoring to girls so that they can fall back on it in times of need. "We believe that learning a skill will at least postpone the marriage-able age of the girls," Mr Verma said.
An India Today report dated October 13, 1997, quoting a PROBE study spoke about how Himachal Pradesh has succeeded in pepping up its literacy rate. The article said, "Not so long ago, Himachal Pradesh was considered a back-ward region of north India. In 1951, child literacy rates were as low as in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. Today the figure stands at about 95 per cent (Public Report on Basic Education (PROBE) estimates), closing in on that of Kerala, India's only fully liter-ate state. A survey of 48 randomly se-lected villages in Himachal Pradesh, by the PROBE team in late 1996, found that 97 per cent of the children between six and 12 were going to school. Universal pri-mary education in the state is only a few years away. How did Himachal Pradesh succeed where its immediate neighbours have failed so abysmally? Part of the credit goes to the state government. Per capita expenditure on education in Himachal Pradesh is twice as high as the all-India average. The number of teachers per pu-pil is also twice as high. For every one teacher there are 25 pupils in Himachal Pradesh.
schooling is considered as im-portant for girls as for boys...
"Finally, Himachal Pradesh appears to have a co-operative social
environment. In many survey villages, parents offered shramdaan
(voluntary labour) to improve the school building. Most villages have
active panchayats and mahila mandals, which are sometimes involved in
educa-tional matters. The rapport between par-ents and teachers too
seems to be better in Himachal Pradesh than in the other states covered
Press reports said that Himachal Pradesh is all set for universalisation of primary education and concerted efforts are being
made to provide a primary school at a dis-tance of less than every 1.5 km, according to the chief minister, Vir Bhadra Singh.
The government is proposing 1,100 new middle schools over the next three years to achieve the goal of universalisation of
'elementary education by the turn of the century. About 1,400 new primary schools have been opened in the last two
years and 700 more are to be opened in the current financial year. Last year alone, nearly 1,000 educa-tional institutions were opened, taking the total number to 12,500 which in-cluded three universities, medical colleges, a dental college, a regional engineering college and Post graduate and degree col-leges.
- Where the Mind Is Without Fear..., Meena Menon, Humanscape, 01/12/1997, /eldoc/n00_/01dec97HUS4.pdf
Hence, the brainwave decrease tuition at the elite graduate schools like the Indi-an Institutes of Management (IIMs) so that
ordinary poor folks can also attend and ben-efit from progress. Surely, this policy is likely to ensure vic-tory for BJP in the forthcoming election. The poor of India would want to vote for the party which has substantially decreased tuition fees at elite schools. The poor will correctly see that in the future, they will be able to afford (and attend) the elite man-agement schools and thereby become rich. There is a minor hitch in Mr Joshi's logic. One needs to graduate from college in order to attend a graduate school. So fees in colleges should be low.
Here, Mr Joshi has done his homework. The socialists in the Congress party of yes-teryear made sure that the poor would be able to afford college education so they made it free.
So where is the hitch? Well, one needs to graduate from high school to get into college, and one needs to graduate from middle school.... This is where the poor lose out, in India and everywhere else that humans live. They obtain lower quality ed-ucation, and being poor, need to work to supplement family earnings. Hence, drop-out rates are higher than average. So in a typical college going cohort, the rich (top 20 per cent of the population) constitute over 80 per cent of the college entrants; in graduate school (like the IIMs) children of the top 5 per cent constitute more than 80 per cent of the students. This hitch means that Joshi's pig is like-ly to crash on take-off. The elite of India are not looking to learn Sanskrit, or as-trology, and are desirous of obtaining in-ternational quality level education. The re-duction of fees in IIMs will only increase the control of government in education, something that is likely to plummet the quality of education, and with it the prospect of India shining graduates. No votes here for Mr Joshi, especially not from the BJP
... What also needs to be changed is the monopoly that the state sector has in providing college education this should be opened up to all providers.... The education minister should recommend that "market clearing" fees be charged at all levels of education, and students made to pay on the basis of a "means" test. And students should be allowed to enter a school or college of their choice (via modern voucher systems). But what about the poor student? The money earned by charging fees from the rich should go towards a two-tier voucher system for the poor — scholarship for the fees and living expenses. Finally, for girl students, at all levels, the scholar-ship is higher.
As per the MOU, these NGOs will work towards improving the teaching aspects in 40 selected BMP schools (both primary and high schools), besides extending other facilities to students for their better performance.
tie up is
aimed at extending quality education in BMP schools,
par with private educational institutions in Bangalore, Mayor R
will be carried out by a 30-member National
Committee under the former University Grants
Commission Chairman, Yashpal, and the NCERT is hopeful of wrapping up the exercise by mid-2005. The NCF was introduced in 2000during the National Democratic Alliance regime.
to review the NCF was taken by the NCERT
Committee in July this year in accordance with the
of a three-member panel of historians assigned the task of undertaking
a quick review of the history books brought out by the previous regime.
review curriculum framework, Hindu,
Just a 3.5% decline in the school dropout rate b a decade, a mere 33% recruitment of teachers, 370 Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV) functioning without permanent buildings. The government's efforts on primary education are nothing more than a lick and a promise.
Parliament's standing committee report on human resource development says "primary education has not really been the priority area of the government". Debunking the government's claim that the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has resulted in an 'outstanding" decline in the number of out-of-school children, from 23 crore in April 2003 to 61 lakh in December last year, the committee said it was an "illusion".
"Proper monitoring of the developments and failures be ensured regularly," the committee has told the government. Lack of teachers and absenteeism where teachers are present are major causes for the high dropout rate, according to the committee report. "Because of this, the dropout rate has come down by just 3.5% during the last decade-from 42.6% in 1991 to 39.1% in 2001." The government's policy to substitute regular trained teachers with under-trained Shiksha Karmis has been criticised by the committee.
"Instead of directly attacking the problem of teacher absenteeism, the department (of education) has created a cadre of semi-trained teachers. Sincere steps should be taken to ensure that only fully trained teachers were into teaching process."
abysmal state of adult education, the committee pointed
out that only 77% of the allocated funds were used. "An increase of a
mere Rs 17 cr from last fiscal year would not be adequate in the face
of the gigantic task before the government," the report said.
Initiative Rural education
chosen to be a supporter rather than a critic of the government,
on the premise that since education is a state subject, it is the state
that should be held accountable. Intervention ought to be directed at
and improvement through consultation and participation of all involved
parties rather than on designing alternative or parallel systems. Since
revitalisation of the government system requires both financial and
resources, Pratham has sought to forge a triangular relationship
community, government and corporate donors. Municipal teachers,
sector personnel, NGOs, social workers and academics have been brought
together in a partnership to rejuvenate the school and help the child.
idea of privately run schools be turned into
An ‘‘education voucher system’’ would represent an ideal
partnership’ which would genuinely improve educational outcomes.
would be free to choose a school, pay with vouchers and the money would
be collected by schools from the government using those vouchers.
running schools would go out of business if their teachers do not
Successful schools would be those that deliver results. An education
system would bring about professionalism, like NIIT or Aptech, to
schools, and eliminate the problem of incompetent political party
being recruited as teachers by government schools. The system allows us
to mix the best of all worlds: more efficient public expenditure on
empowerment of poor parents, choice in the hands of parents and
between schools for attracting students.
Textbook Boards Review Committee, University News,
panel of three
historians entrusted with the task of undertaking
a "quick review" of the history books prepared by the Na-tional Council
of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) today recommended their
the three historians were of the view that the errors and biases were far too many and frequent to be corrected. "It is not advisable to continue with these texts for even a year," said a member of the panel and former Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research, S. Settar.
of the view
that the NCERT's National Curriculum Framework
School Education ought to be reviewed, the historians said that was a
exercise which required more time. Also, they are of the view that
be decentralised and not left to a few individuals but should reflect the collective wisdom of a number of scholars.
The fifth committee will look at ways and means of integrating cultural education in the school curriculum, with a critical focus on the Hindutva thrust. As opposed to Hindutva, the introduction of issues relating to the pluralist character of Indian nationhood will be examined by this committee.
committee will explore regulatory mechanisms for what is
by parallel textbooks outside the government system, e.g., in Saraswati
Shishu Mandirs and madrassas. This is in response to a growing concern
that certain bodies use schools to propagate communal prejudice.
The cess in
cesspool, ILA PATNAIK, Indian Express,