Gaping gaps in Primary Education in Madhya Pradesh
Twenty years after the launch of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) as a major initiative at the national level to revitalise the primary education system and to achieve the objective of universalisation of primary education, the scenario at the primary education front remains rather dismal in Madhya Pradesh, where 5295 of the total 114,444 government schools still do not have even a single teacher and the enrollment for primary classes is continuously on the decline since 2008-09.
Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh, India: There are thousands of primary and upper-primary schools in Madhya Pradesh that do not have even a single teacher, what to talk of classrooms, pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), and the chronic problem of dismal learning levels.
Twenty years after the launch of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) as a major initiative at the national level to revitalise the primary education system and to achieve the objective of universalisation of primary education, the scenario at the primary education front remains rather dismal in Madhya Pradesh, where 5295 of the total 114,444 government schools still do not have even a single teacher and the enrollment for primary classes is continuously on the decline since 2008-09..
According to latest 2014 data available through the District Information System for Education (DISE), the number of Government schools in Madhya Pradesh without even a single teacher is 5,295 (3.71% of schools). Of these the number of government schools is 4,662 (4.07%).
Morena 104, Guna 129, Vidisha 155, Ujjain 110, Dewas 113, Sehore 100, West Nimar 330, barwani 254, Dhar 168, Jhabua 130, Alirajpur 171, Chhindwara 208, Tikamgarh 181, Chhatarpur 220, Mandla 102, Balaghat 101, Satna 217, Rewa 105, Sidhi 108, Singrauli 357.
Coming to single teacher schools, one finds that there are 19,269 (13.49%) single teacher schools in the State. The highest number of single teacher schools are in Rewa district (1,587 schools) and Neemuch is at the bottom of the list with 58 single teacher schools.
Besides Rewa, the other districts grappling with the handicap of single teacher schools are Satna 472, Sidhi 430, Singrauli 499, Shahdol 538
Dindori 401, Mandla 634, Chhindwara 433, Sagar 576, Morena 458, Bhind 321, Shivpuri 367, Ashoknagar 303, Guna 289, Sheopur, 204, Sehore 349, Vidisha 384, West Nimar, 670, Barwani 763, Dhar 933, Jhabua 566, Alirajpur 614.
Besides the lack of teachers in thousands of schools, the gravity of the problem especially when it comes to meeting the challenge of raising the learning curve across the board at the primary and pre-primary school level gets reflected further by the poor pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) in government schools in Madhya Pradesh. There are 17754 government primary schools in the state (21% of the total government schools) have more than 40 students per class. The pupil teacher ratio is even more bleak in higher classes. There are more than 50 students in each class in 30,456 upper primary/secondary/higher secondary schools, which is 29% of the total primary schools.
In terms of student classroom ratio (SCR) in government schools, while 49% Primary schools and 32% Upper Primary Schools are in a comfortable situation with less than 20 students per class, DISE data shows that still there are 9,239 (11%) of primary schools having SCR more than 40 and 3,673 (12%) upper-Primary /Sec. /Hr. Sec. schools with SCR more than 50.
A disturbing trend noticed in recent years is the declining enrollment for primary classes since 2008-09 and the highest decline (4.20%) recorded in 2013-14. For the first time, enrollment also declined at the upper-primary level by 1.04 per cent during the last academic year. The maximum decline in enrollment in primary classes was in Morena district in 2013-14.
It has also come to light that more focus under DPEP has been on building and construction related works. On taking stock of the Status of infrastructure facilities in 1,14,444 Government primary schools in Madhya Pradesh, what gets underscored is that all schools have their buildings, majority of schools have separate toilet for boys and girls, drinking water and kitchen shed but other infrastructural facilities are lacking. With regard to classroom requirement as per the Right to Education Act (RTE) norms, there are huge gaps. There are 31,858 government primary schools lacking classrooms. The scenario vis-a-vis pivate schools is also no different on this front as 40,650 private schools also lack the basic facility of classrooms in adequate numbers. A playground for every school remains a tall order in Madhya Pradesh.
District-wise the national average for transition rate from Upper Primary to Secondary schools in 2012-13 was 91.94%, whereas in Madhya Pardesh it was 81.90%. Wile the transition was maximum in chhindwara district, it was lowest 59.49% in Gwalior.
In the final analysis, what emerges with regard to the status of primary education in Madhya Pradesh is far from satisfactory. in Madhya Pradesh, 55849 primary schools, which is less than 50% of the total 1,14,444 schools managed by the government, have adequate classrooms and teachers. Question arises what about the remaining schools and who will be held accountable for depriving successive generations of the learning experience in a universalised milieu and failing to provide even the basic modicum of what could be called a primary school?
The issue of primary schools and their status was discussed at a workshop on ‘Using social/web media to raise discourse on School Education’ organise by UNICEF at Pachmarhi on April 24. Trevor Clark, Chief, UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh, who underlined the agenda for discussions, laid stress on the need to mobilise resources and partners to ensure protection of ‘right to education’ and the ‘right to learn’. Notwithstanding the progress made on the implementation of the Right to Edication Act in Madhya Pradesh, Clark emphasised the immediate need to evolve a mechanism to evaluate and analyse where we stand vis-a-vis learning levels and the inputs required to bridge the gap.
F.A. Jami, Education Specialist, UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh pointed out through his presentation, based on data released by DISE, the gaps and deficiencies in PTR, school enrollment, distribution of schools and many other crucial areas.
Maria Fernandez, Communication Specialist, UNICEF, India, Shruti Sharma, Digital media Consultant, UNICEF, India, and Anil Gulati Communication Specialist, UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh gave valuable inputs at the workshop while urging media to raise discourse on School Education.
♦The Rajiv Gandhi Prathmik Shiksha Mission was set up in the mid ’90s as an autonomous registered society headed by the Chief Minister of the state to supplement the state government’s efforts to universalize primary education in Madhya Pradesh. Initially set up as a mission for primary education it became a mission for Universalizing Elementary Education (UEE) to meet the goals of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a Government of India’s flagship programme for achievement of UEE in a time bound manner.
♦SSA has been operational since 2000-2001 to provide for a variety of interventions for universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in elementary education and improving the quality of learning. SSA interventions include inter alia, opening of new schools and alternate schooling facilities, construction of schools and additional classrooms, toilets and drinking water, provisioning for teachers, regular teacher in service training and academic resource support, free textbooks& uniforms and support for improving learning achievement levels / outcome.
♦On January 1, 1997, the then Congress Government of Madhya Pradesh had taken leverage from the DPEP and launched the community centred and rights-based initiative to universalise primary education called ‘Education Guarantee Scheme’ (EGS).
♦The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of District Primary Education Programme, DPEP was launched in 1994 as a major initiative to revitalise the primary education system and to achieve the objective of universalisation of primary education with special thrust on providing:
- Access to Primary Education for all children
- Children with access to Primary Education either in formal system or through Alternative Schooling Center
- Reading Writing Materials and free textbooks to all SC and ST children and General girls.
DPEP is an externally aided project. 85 per cent of the project cost is met by the Central Government and the remaining 15 per cent is shared by the concerned State Government. The Central Government share is resourced through external assistance, including credit from IDA and as grant from EC, DFID, UNICEF, and Netherlands.