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Primary education in a mess across Rural India

"Siksha Sahayaks (contractual subordinate teachers) are put at the primary schools with a very low salary. That's why no good student with best teaching abilities and professional commitment shows interest in this job. Therefore, the primary education is running with most teachers of average competencies whose objective ends at making some bucks at the end of the month..."

HNF Bureau : May 30, 2007

Basic education to all is considered one of the major indicators of development. A country should provide adequate facilities to ensure basic education for all its children as the first step on the road of development. But in India where lots of industrial developments are taking place and  the country claims to be ahead of many others on the road of development, the state of primary education is in a mess, as revealed in the report based upon the survey made by Pratham - a civil society group associated with government's education policy. The survey has covered rural primary schools of India.

As per the survey, nearly 93 per cent of children between 6 to 14 are literate. However, the report admits that nearly 40 per cent of rural children who have cleared class 5 are unable to recognise the first three letters of the alphabets or even numbers one to three. The major cause that has led primary education in the country is "poor rate of mothers' literacy. Nearly 50 per cent mothers cannot read class one text books. This is the biggest problem to be addressed", comments the report.

Recruitment of temporary or contractual teachers at a low salary would be the other reason of it. As in case of Orissa, appointment of permanent teachers is almost stopped and Siksha Sahayaks (contractual subordinate teachers) are put at the primary schools with a very low salary. That's why no good student with best teaching abilities and professional commitment shows interest in this job. Therefore, the primary education is running with most teachers of average competencies whose objective ends at making some bucks in a month and who hardly bother to produce good students or shape some of the finest minds.

The report based on the survey in 30 states and 300 districts reveal the shift of choice towards non-government schools in 18 states, a trend especially marked in Punjab, Haryana and Karnataka. This could be the result of continuous degradation of education standard in the state run primary schools.

More then 2 lakh crores rupees have been spent on primary education over the last five year plan period and the literacy levels have climbed over 90 per cent, as the government officials claim. But literacy of what standard? If I recollect the facts of my child hood, many village people used to visit my father and ask him to teach them how to write their names. The reason was to enlist them in the list of literates and apply for the passport to go to Iraq as an unskilled labourer. So, only with the skill to write the name one is declared literate. And, the whole system of the government believes this. So how many of the 90% are literates to the limit of their names only? The quality of this literacy is always being debated. So, the planning commission needs to change the focus for better as well as quality results.

 

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