Sunday, November 22, 2020

 School Educational Quality Index: A Few Observations Arun C Mehta

 Exclusively based on U-DISE Data, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) initiated computing Educational Development Index (EDI) based on a set of 24 parameters in 2005-06 which continued up to the year 2014-15. It was annual practice to compute EDI separately for Primary and Upper Primary levels of education and also a composite index for the entire Elementary level of education. A set of 24 indicators were being used in computing EDI which were re-grouped into the four sub-groups, namely Access, Infrastructure, Teachers and Outcome indicators. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was applied to decide the factor loading and weights. In the case of a few variables, policy options were explored to identify the best values instead of based on the observed values. The EDI in its new avatar, namely School Education Quality Index (SEQI) is computed for the base year 2015-16. The latest document, namely SEQI: The Success of Our Schools was released by NITI Aayog on 30th September 2019 is based on 2016-17 data i.e. reference year which was collected mostly as on 30th September 2016. SEQI is an improved version of EDI as it is more comprehensive in nature and is based on more sets of indicators and unlike EDI; is not confined only to U-DISE data; however, U-DISE still remained the main source of data. In addition to U-DISE data, SEQI has also extensively used learning outcomes data of the National Achievement Survey’s (NAS) conducted by the NCERT on November 13, 2017, apart from a few other data-sets provided by the States & UTs.

While the total number of indicators and sectors which have been used in SEQI is comprehensive but a few of the crucial indicators, like retention rate, ratio of primary to upper primary and upper primary to secondary schools/sections and percentage of schools with female teachers, and a few others, such as, average annual drop-out rate at primary level of education has not been considered which has got significant implications for the Country to achieve the goal of universal school education. It may also be of high importance to observe that enrollment in school education in India during 2015-16 and 2016-17 has shown a decline of about 9 million enrollment of which 6.8 million (Primary, 5.32 million & Upper Primary, 1.51 million) alone declined in case of elementary level of education i.e. Classes 1 to 8 which has got serious implications for the country to achieve the goal of universal elementary level of education but declining enrollment has not been considered as one of the indicators in computing SEQI. It was perhaps for the first time that enrolment at the Upper Primary level of education (Classes VI to VIII) had also declined in 2016-17 from its previous level i.e. 2015-16. Individually also, Class I, V, VI & VII and Class X, XI & XII all declined in 2016-17 which has got serious implications for enrolment at other higher levels of education to grow in years that follow. At least, Net Apparent Entry Rate which is considered crucial for achieving universal enrolment should have been used. Needless to mention that even enrolment in Class I had also declined to 25.29 million in 2016-17 from its previous level, i.e. 27.17 million in 2015-16. 

As many as 30 indicators have been used in computing 2016-17 SEQI which are classified under two categories, namely Outcomes and Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes. Category one Outcome is further divided into four domains, namely Learning, Access, Infrastructure and Equity outcomes which has as many as 16 indicators as against 14 indicators including student and teacher attendance, teacher availability, training, accountability and transparency all which are not part of the regular collection of administrative data but provided by the states and is not available in the public domain and not an easy task to examine the validity of such data sets. Limited information has been provided on how such data set as stated by the States & UTs was validated. On the other hand, as many as 10 indicators from NAS have been used as compared to 9 indicators from the U-DISE sources. The rest of the indicators are either obtained from the GoI portal, namely ShaGun or have been reported by the States & UTs. Depending upon the nature of an indicator, a few indicators have been used for all the schools including Private Aided & Unaided managements while a few others have been used only for Government and Government aided schools/management. Few indicators used in computing 2016-17 SEQI are worth to describe. Over a period of time, it has been observed that percentage of out-of-school children identified and mainstreamed has always been incomplete because of which the same had never been reported in U-DISE publications which is now under SEQI is used but is reported by the States & UTs and is not easy to validate the same. This indicator might have avoided as it has already been captured indirectly in the Adjusted-NER at Elementary and Secondary level of education used in computing SEQI. 

Another important indicator used in SEQI is the percentage of children whose unique Id is seeded in SDMIS. It is mentioned that “States and UTs are encouraged to track their students through the SDMIS as a way to inform UDISE. UDISE is meant to serve as a longitudinal database for tracking the schooling status of students to provide a foundation for evidence-based policy responses”. It is heartening to observe SEQI document mentioning “that all States and UTs have successfully migrated from their existing Management Information Systems (MIS) to the SDMIS”. However, it is unfortunate that SDMIS in-sync with U-DISE launched during the 2016-17 data collection was discontinued in the following year for unknown reasons through which detailed individual student records on 35 parameters in case of 210 million students were recorded the majority of which also had the Unique Ids. Had it been continued, the same would have eventually helped in improving enrolment statistics generated through the U-DISE which would have lead India towards developing a Child-tracking system in view of which the next SEQI, if computed this indicator would have to be dropped. Another indicator that was planned but dropped in the final calculation is GER of CWSN Children (age-group 6 to 18 years) because of unavailability of the published data which at the very first place shouldn’t have been included in the initial list of indicators because of its very definition. Where do we get the CWSN population of age-group 6 to 18 years in 2016-17 whereas the reliable child population in the school age-groups is even not available? The percentage of average daily attendance of teachers recorded in the electronics attendance system is another indicator that has been used instead of indicators that focuses more on what teachers do in the school. Instead of 10 RTE facility indicators, the percentage of schools meeting teacher norms as per the RTE Act has only been used. Instead of using the percentage of teachers provided with the sanctioned number of days of training/in-service training, emphasis should have been given to indicators that capture whether the training provided meets the teacher’s requirement and is need-based?

It is common practice across the Country that DIET receives themes (along with a number of programs to be conducted, program days & number of participants, etc. in each program) of the capacity building programs identified by the SCERT which is generally common to all the districts across the state? It is of interest to observe that many states have reported the percentage of schools that have made school development plans a hundred which is contrary to the situation at the grassroots level across the Country. Rather percentage of blocks and districts used school development plans in the formulation of district elementary/secondary education plans as envisaged in SSA must have been used. One of another interesting indicators used in computing SEQI is average number of days taken by State/UT to release Central/State share to State Societies but it is silent on a number of months delayed by the Central agencies to release the funds to states. Rather, in the case of 9 UTs, there is no provision to release the state share. A total 20 weight-age points have been assigned to states recruited new teachers through online system, but the SEQI is totally silent on the percentage of para/contractual-teachers to total teachers which has grown many-fold in the recent past which is evident in the percentage of contractual teachers being disseminated through U-DISE. In fact, many states have discontinued recruiting regular teachers and instead recruit only para-teachers. It has also been observed that indicators not showing large variations across States & UTs, such as percentage of schools with girls’ toilets, would not have been used in computing SEQI as all the states, small medium and large ones have reported this percentage to be 100. Seeding of UIDs in SDMIS in 2016-17 is another such indicator that also didn’t have any variation in addition, to a few other such indicators. One of the other important points which have been observed is that SEQI is computed for the entire school education as one entity whereas in 2016- 17, SSA and RMSA were two separate programs as Samagra came into the picture during 2018- 19 in view of which there must have been two separate indices, one for elementary (also for primary and upper primary levels) and another for secondary and higher secondary level of education. School Education Quality Index is based on U-DISE 2016-17 data which was collected as on 30th September 2016 has now become almost 3 years old; therefore data used in computing SEQI is termed outdated. The process of data entry of SEQI indicators and submission by the States & UTs began in April 2018 and ended on December 2018 during which the unpublished 2017-18 UDISE data was also available with the States & UTs but the most recent data was not used in computing SEQI. It is hoped that the next SEQI will be based on the latest data i.e. 2019- 20 (30th September 2019 as date of reference) being collected through U-DISE+ which is supposed to be the real-time data but the same is still being collected. It is hoped that the next SEQI data will directly be obtained from the U-DISE+ portal and states will not be required to upload the data on ShaGun or other portal as has been the case with the SEQI 2016-17. It may be observed that the Educational Development Index being computed by MHRD and NIEPA during the period 2005-06 to 2014-15 was more scientific as weights to each indicator was assigned based on Principal Component Analysis and as such no human element was involved in assigning the weights whereas in SEQI weights have been assigned manually in consultation with the MHRD, Sector Experts and even stakeholders, namely States and UTs which may change if different set of experts are engaged in assigning the weights which may dramatically change the SEQI index.

SEQI document mentioned that because of the lack of timeseries information, it was not possible to assign weight-age but EDI which was also based on 4 cross-sectional data used to assign weights which were more scientific than the procedure adopted in computing SEQI. One of the important indicators used is Adjusted-NER which describes children's participation of an age group in the corresponding education level which is based on enrolment and age-specific population. Though enrolment is available from the UDISE but the same is not true for corresponding child population in the absence of which projected population has been used but the same based on 2011 Census is not available in the absence of which all enrolment based indicators such as Adjusted-NER may be treated as provisional and may change once more recent child projected population is available. It is hoped that the NITI Aayog will quickly get the age-specific child population immediately after the 2021 Census is released state and district-specific.

It has rightly been said that SEQI has been developed to provide insights and data-based feedback on the success of school education in India which shall help India achieving SDG by 2030 which cannot be achieved unless SEQI is computed district and within the district block-wise. A state may have high SEQI but all of its districts may not be at par as a few of which may take more years to achieve goals of school education while a few others may be in a position to achieve the same in the near future. From the document, it is not clear whether there is any planning to bring out district-wise SEQI and within the district, block specific SEQIs? It may be recalled that many states attempted computing EDI at the state level and identified districts & blocks which need more attention while formulating district education plans. But because of the lake of expertise at the state and district level, the same could not be attempted across the Country and sustained. District level Planning & MIS Officials must be oriented to ensure that SEQI is computed at the district level, block-wise by the district officers. They are also required to be trained to provide inputs in district plans based on the outcome of district-specific SEQI. Computing SEQI may not be an issue as every bit of information used in computing SEQI must be available online interactive portal at all the disaggregated levels, such as school, cluster, block, district, state, and national level. Rather, the same should have been taken up along with the computation of the State-specific SEQI.

The index attempts to provide a platform for promoting evidence-based policymaking and highlights possible course-corrections in the education sector. It is mentioned in the document that SEQI will be used in formulation of education policy but form the SEQI document one fails to get the information whether the same was shared with the Kasturi Ranjan Committee report of which is now available in the public domain in the form of Draft National Policy of Education 2019. Needless to mention that SEQI is largely based on published data been provided by national institutions such as NCERT (NAS) and NIEPA (U-DISE) but they failed even to get the acknowledgment or even mentioned in the SEQI document. From the document, one gets the impression that these institutions did not play any role or were not engaged in the process of computing SEQI except at the initial stage of identification of indicators.

A close look at the roles and responsibilities reveals that major role is played by the development partner and private parties and the apex national institutions which has got in-house expertise and were engaged in similar exercises in the form of computing EDI which were used to be published by the MHRD through the Elementary Education in India: Flash Statistics were not engaged. Data provided by NCERT & NIEPA were validated by a private agency and the World Bank was the lead agency. However, limited information is provided as to how the data was validated and what was the 5 process of validation. One fails to understand importance being given to these parties rather than its own institutions especially when expertise to undertake such exercises is available in-house. Better would have been if the apex MHRD institutions could have played a leading role but for the unknown reasons they were not involved in the whole exercise. It is hoped that apex institutions will be given a bigger role and SEQI will be institutionalized in years that follow. Even the Interactive SEQI portal was developed by the private developer.

While launching UDISE+, MHRD in its booklet (April 2019) has raised serious concerns about the quality and validity of U-DISE data and mentioned that “there was a big question mark on the quality and reliability of the data, especially on enrolment and infrastructure”, which if true, the entire efforts of computing SEQI may be treated as futile, as SEQI is largely based on UDISE data!! Maybe because of these limitations, U-DISE was dislocated from NIEPA to NICMHRD from the year 2018-19? Even though 2015-16 SEQI is not directly comparable with the 2016-17 SEQI as about 10 indicators were either merged/dropped or modified in 2016-17 because of the issues concerning data, still results reveal an interesting picture.

On the one hand, few states have shown improvement in overall percentage points on the other hand a few others shown declines over the previous year i.e. 2015-16. Improvement both in case of percentage points and rank of Haryana is impressive which needs further analysis as what the state has done in a short period of a year so that other State & UTs may also learn from its experience. Ranking of Haryana amongst major states increased from 8th (51%) to 3rd (69.5%) in 2016-17. An increase of 18.5 percentage points is unexplainable as the information available in the public domain doesn’t specify any major development in the state between 2015-16 and 2016-17. On the other hand, Karnataka has shown a decline in both percentage points and rank as it has gone down from a high rank of 5 (56.6%) in 2015-16 to 13 (52.9%) in 2016-17 which also needs further explanation. Needless to mention that Karnataka is considered as one of the advanced states of the Country and had initiated many state-specific programs towards achieving the goal of school education including enhancing the quality of education which also includes a host of technology-related interventions. In addition to Haryana, states may also like to be benefited based on the experience of two top-ranked states, namely Kerala (1st, 82.2%) and Tamil Nadu (2nd, 73.4%) but the same though on the top of the list are still not the perfect ones in relation to the indicators used in computing SEQI. Needless to mention that until the bottom-ranked states, such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, etc. are improve, India cannot afford to achieve the goal of school education for which district-specific SEQIs and within the district, block-specific SEQIs may reveal interesting picture with regard to the status of universalization and target year of likely realization of goals. For more write-ups please visit Education For All In India


Friday, March 12, 2010

EFA

Please let me know the status of mid-decade EFA Assessment undertaken in India

in reference to: Education for all in India (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NEW DELHI:Government's various initiatives for minorities seem to be paying

The latest figures, part of National University of Educational Planning and Education's statistics, to be released shortly, shows that both in primary and upper primary level, Muslim enrolment has improved. Though it is early, a definite improvement can be seen in north Indian states.

Data collected from 1.29 million recognised elementary schools in 633 districts revealed a total enrolment of 14.83 million Muslim children in primary classes in 2008-09, which is 11.03% of the total 134.38 million enrolment in primary (I to V) classes. During the pervious year, the same was 10.49% and in 2006-07, it was 9.39%. Of the total Muslim enrolment in primary classes, the percentage of Muslim girls was 48.93%, similar to the share of girls in overall primary enrolment (48.38%).

Bihar continued to be among the performing states while Karnataka showed slow decline in Muslim enrolment, both at primary and upper primary level. Kerala remained the undisputed leader as it showed big improvement in enrolment both at primary and upper primary level.

Remarkably, the percentage of Muslim girls to total Muslim enrolment in upper primary classes is 50.03%, which is above the national average of 47.58%.

The highest percentage of Muslim enrolment was observed in Lakshadweep (99.73%) mainly due to the fact that the percentage of Muslim population to total population in the Union Territory in 2001 was as high as 95.47%. In Bihar, Muslim enrolment at primary level improved from 11.27% in 2007-08 to 12.96% in 2008-09. Even Assam showed a big improvement: from 31.94% in 2007-08 to 35.08% in 2008-09. Decline was most evident in Karnataka: from 15.06% to 14.67%. In Kerala, enrolment went up to 26.22% from 21.49% in 2007-08.

Enrolment in upper primary classes also improved to 9.13% in 2008-09 from 8.54% in 2007-08 and 7.52% in 2006-07. Of the total 53.35 million enrolment in upper primary classes in the country in 2008-09, Muslim enrolment was 4.87 million. In Bihar, upper primary enrolement of Muslims improved from 8.22% in 2007-08 to 10.35% in 2008-09. Decline in Karnataka was more perceptible: from 16.73% to 13.81%.

The data also revealed a share of 10.49% Muslim enrolment in elementary classes (I to VIII) of which 49.20% were Muslim girls (to total Muslim enrolment).

Preliminary enrolment data for the year 2008-09 also revealed that there were certain pockets in the country with high percentage of Muslim enrolment. There were about 87,690 schools with more than 25% Muslim enrolment (to total enrolment in elementary classes) which was 6.84% of the total schools that imparted elementary education in the country. Similarly, 62,534 (4.88%) schools had above 50% Muslim enrolment as compared to 48,946 schools (3.82%) having 75% and above and 41,300 schools (3.22%) even having a share of 90% and above Muslim enrolment to total enrolment.

Because of the high share of Muslim population to total population in J&K, 12 districts of the state had above 90% Muslim enrolment in 2008-09 in primary classes which was also true for enrolment in upper primary classes. On the other hand, 25 districts in the country had more than 50% Muslim enrolment in primary classes in 2008-09 compared to 20 such districts in case of upper primary enrolment. Fifteen districts of J&K, one each in Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep and Kerala and five districts of Assam had more than 50% Muslim enrolment in primary classes.

Akshaya Mukul
Times of India, January 09, 2010

Monday, December 07, 2009

A very English affair

A very English affair
Rema Nagarajan5 December 2009, 03:54am ISTText Size:|
Dinesh Kumar, a migrant from Vaishali district in Bihar, is an electrician in Delhi. Though making ends meet is a challenge, he is not willing to AT A SCHOOL NEAR YOU: Even small neighbourhood schools such as East Delhi’s Modern Happy (left) and New Titiksha Public (above) teach in both Hindi and English send his two children to a Hindi medium government school where education is free.

The school fees and related expenditure exceed Rs 2,000 per month and form a quarter of the roughly Rs 8,000 that Kumar earns each month. But he is happy to foot the expense. "I want my kids to study in an English medium school. If they don't know English, what future will they have?" asks Kumar. It is such reasoning that helps explain the huge increase in enrolment in English medium schools, making it now the second largest medium of instruction in schools across the country.

According to estimates, just over 10 per cent of the Indian population speaks English. But, it is a growing number and the rate of growth outpaces most vernacular languages. The big exception is Hindi, which, of course, is in a different league with 41 per cent of the country's population speaking in that tongue.

KING OF QUEEN'S

The English numbers are grossly underestimated , according to Professor Arun Mehta of the National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) that collects data on children enrolled in schools across the country. "Lakhs of children studying in unrecognised English medium schools are not counted in most official data as that only includes recognised schools. So, the numbers could actually be much higher," says Mehta.

As many countries enter an 'educational arms race' to acquire and maintain international competitiveness, English assumes even greater significance. A recent British Council report on the growth of English across the world says that Asia, especially India and China , will hold the key to the long-term future of English as a global language. The report warns that China could outdo India in English. China is said to add about 20 million English speakers each year with its new policy to make English compulsory in primary schools.

The report observes: "India has been triumphantly playing the English card in establishing its global leadership in outsourcing and the BPO industry. Furthermore, the capital of the new economy in India, Bangalore, lies in the south where regional languages are, in linguistic terms, more remote from Hindi than English, and where use of English has long represented a political challenge to the linguistic hegemony of the north."

In the southern states in particular - and outside the Hindi belt in general - English has always found greater acceptance. Education is almost entirely in English in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. Over half the enrolment in the other north eastern states, barring Tripura, is in English medium. Hindi does not figure at all in this part of the country.

LIP SERVICE

Some 60 years after Hindi was adopted as the official language - along with English - it has not quite become the country's link language as was envisaged. This is despite the crores that the central government spends every year on promoting the "raj bhasha" . The resistance to Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states, which took the form of language riots during the sixties, is still far from blunted, as many recent events have demonstrated.

Even today, any suggestion that Hindi is the "national language" or "rashtra bhasha" is met with stiff opposition and those who advocate its cause are likely to be given a frosty look and the riposte that India being a multilingual country has no single "national language" . The point was made succinctly when in the early '90s Mulayam Singh Yadav, then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, wrote a letter in Hindi to his counterpart in Kerala, E K Nayanar. Nayanar gave a telling response by sending a reply in his language, Malayalam. While Hindi was not widely spoken in Thiruvananthapuram, in Lucknow, hardly anyone knew Malayalam!

That linguistic feelings run deep became evident recently when Union Railway minister Mamata Bannerjee bowed to pressure from various states, especially Maharashtra, to hold the railway recruitment exams in local languages. Earlier, these exams were administered only in English and Hindi, which non-Hindi speaking states argued, with some justification, gave an unfair advantage to those from Hindi-speaking states.

A few years back, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal requested that Tamil and Bengali be allowed in their respective high courts. They quoted Article 348(2) of the constitution and relevant sections of the Official Languages Act 1963 that entitle Hindi-speaking states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to use their official language - Hindi - in their respective high courts. The request was rejected.

LINGUISTIC LINK

In 2006, when India asked for Hindi to be included as one of the languages used in the United Nations, saying it was spoken by a substantial proportion of the world population, the biggest opposition to this move ironically came from within India, from the non-Hindi speaking states. There couldn't be clearer evidence of the fact that Hindi is not yet accepted as a pan-Indian "link language" .

Robert Bellarmine, former English Studies Officer of the British Council, South India, feels that in India, which is more like a group of nations, one local language being privileged over another would never be acceptable. "Hence, English is useful, as there is wider political acceptability. It is also the most preferred language for education and in the job market. For the integrity of the nation too, it might be better if English is a link language," says Bellarmine, who is also a fellow at the Center for English and Foreign Language Studies in Hyderabad. It's a logic many Indians would find difficult to refute.

Times Insight Group

Saturday, December 05, 2009

In 3 yrs, English rises to No. 2 medium

Rema Nagarajan, TNN 5 December 2009, 05:03am IST

While the Marathi manoos and various others fight over the supremacy of languages, English has quietly marched on and become the second largest

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medium in India's primary schools, after Hindi.

In 2006, English as a medium of instruction was fourth -- behind Hindi, Bengali and Marathi in that order -- but by 2007 it had climbed to second place and grew even further in 2008, beginning to eat into the Hindi numbers too (see detailed report in the latest edition of TOI-Crest).

Regional language medium schools have witnessed steady erosion in their share over the years, and in some cases even in the absolute numbers, as parents seem to have decided that English is the passport to a bright future for their children.

Data collected by the National University for Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) as a part of DISE, the monitoring system developed for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme, shows that the number of those opting for English medium from class I-VIII has grown by 150% between 2003 and 2008, while the number of students opting for Hindi grew by just 32%.

The count for 2008 is more robust than in previous years, says NUEPA. Of the total number of students surveyed by DISE, about 18.8 crore, data on the medium of instruction was available for over 92%. "The quality of data and its collection has vastly improved. However, the data pertains only to recognized schools. In most states, there are thousands of unrecognized schools, most of which are English-medium schools. Hence, the number of those studying in English-medium schools could actually be even higher," says Prof Arun Mehta of NUEPA.

The states with the highest number of students in English-medium schools have remained unchanged from 2004 till 2008 -- Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. In the two top states, almost a fifth of all enrolled students are studying in English-medium schools. The top three are followed by Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala in that order. Madhya Pradesh is the lone Hindi-speaking state in the list of the top 10 states in terms of enrolment in English medium.

The highest jump in the number of English-medium students between 2004 and 2008 was in Maharashtra, about 11 lakh, followed by Andhra Pradesh (9.7 lakh), Tamil Nadu (9.6 lakh), Delhi (5.5 lakh) and Jammu and Kashmir about 5 lakh.

Earlier, in 2006, most of the growth in English was in the southern states, barring Punjab and Gujarat, which also showed a jump in numbers. However, by 2008, many of the northern states too have joined the rush for English schooling. For instance, Haryana has recorded the highest growth, with the number of children in English-medium schools going up more than seven times between 2004 and 2008, from over 20,000 to 1.6 lakh.

Similarly, in Rajasthan, students opting for English schooling increased more than three times, from over 60,000 in 2004 to nearly 2.2 lakh by 2008. The growth between 2007 and 2008 alone was 130%.

Again, in Madhya Pradesh, the number of students opting for English schooling almost trebled from 1.6 lakh to 4.8 lakh. In Delhi, well over a third (37%) of all enrolled children are in English-medium schools while the proportion of those in Hindi medium has fallen from 76% to 61% between 2004 and 2008. As before, Punjab and Gujarat show substantial growth in English schooling with the number doubling in Punjab and going up more than three times in Gujarat.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Right to Eduation


Right to Education Act 2009 Estimations: A Few Points for Consideration

Arun C. Mehta

November 2009

After long, the mush awaited Right to Education Bill (RTE) has just been passed by the Parliament which would play an important role in achieving Universal Elementary Education in India. The success or failure of RTE would largely depend upon how effectively the act is implemented and whether sufficient funds are allocated for the implementation of the Act.

In this direction, the first major exercise is to reliably estimate funds that would be required for successful implementation of Right to Education Act. Needless to mention that the RTE-estimation should be based upon the latest available data. One such source or rather the only source of information which provides requisite set of data is the District Information System for Education (DISE is jointly developed by the MHRD, UNICEF and NUEPA) which is latest available for the year 2008-09 with 30th September 2008 as its date of reference. Through DISE, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan activities are being monitored and District Elementary Education Plans across the country are being developed annually which is largely based on this rich data-set. The beauty of DISE is that it provides unit-wide/school-specific data in case of all the 1.28 million schools imparting elementary education in the country. These schools are located in about 70,000 clusters in 7,000 blocks spread over 633 districts in 35 States and UTs of the country.

One of the other important considerations is that the RTE-estimation should be attempted at the national as well as for the individual State/UT level in case of all the 35 States and UTs of the country.

Perhaps the most important factor on which RTE-estimation should base upon is the child population of the age group of 6 to 14 years (5+ to 13+ years). Care should be taken in correctly considering the relevant age group child population in RTE-estimation.

Second most important task is projection of 6-14 year age population in 2009 i.e. 2008-09. The latest Census figures are available for the year 2001 but projected population made available by the Office of the Registrar General of India is available up to the year 2016 which is likely to be revised once the actual 2011Census figures are available in the light of which the existing RTE-estimates will also be required to re-look into. The RTE-estimates should not be considered as a one time affair; rather the exercise be repeated when more recent data is available.

As per the available projections, the 6-14 years children show a declining trend over a period of time. Between 2007-08 and 2008-09, 6-14 years age population in India declined to 188 million from 193 million which has got serious implications for RTE. In view of this, one has to ensure that the RTE-estimates are based on the current year’s child population i.e. 2009-10 (if not, it may significantly affect the total funds for RTE implementation). The decline in the child population is also reflected in the GER and NER as well as in the out-of-school children. Since the RTE-estimation may be primarily based on the child population, utter care should be taken in considering the current child population. The RGI projections are available by single-age population and that too in benchmark years such as 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 etc. which should be carefully used to project child population (6-14 years) in the current year (2009-10) for which RTE-estimates are being made. Compound Growth Rate can be used in projecting population in intermediary years.

The other important issue is the source of information that is been used in estimating funds. So far possible, same source of information should be used in estimating all aspects of RTE Act. One set of estimation can be based upon one source of data. There may be more than one source of information and hence there may be more than one sets of RTE-estimation. The most appropriate one can be retained out of a number of alternatives.

Preliminary estimates based on 2007-08 data suggests that the total funds for RTE implementation during the next 5 years period would be in the tune of Rs. 1.80 lakh crores (1 crore = 10 million, as reported in the Times of India). The same if estimated based on 2008-09 data, would be a little less than what is estimated based on 2007-08 data. Because of the ongoing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme, a lot of improvement has taken place since 2007-08 especially in case of infrastructure in schools which is quite visible if DISE 2008-09 data is carefully analysed. More schools imparting elementary education in the country now have drinking water, toilet and other such facilities in school. Together with this drop out has also declined slightly so as the out-of-school children all which may change the RTE-estimation significantly if the same is workout based on 2008-09 data.

RTE-estimation can be worked out in a number of ways. To begin with 6 to 14 years child population in the current year may be the starting point which should either be link to current enrolment in elementary classes (I to VIII) or be divided by the pupil-teacher ratio as specified in the RTE Act to workout number of classrooms that would be required. Needless to mention that there are a large number of unrecognised schools across the country all which will be closed down (if not recognised). In Andhra Pradesh alone there are about 6,000 unrecognised schools compared to around 7,000 such schools in Punjab. In view of there been a large number of children in all such schools special efforts would be required to make so as to ensure that all these children transit from unrecognised to recognised schools; new schools can be planned in all such locations.

If number of classrooms based on 30:1 PTR is estimated, the same would take care of all children of age 6 to 14 year irrespective of whether they are in the recognised or unrecognised schools. Just projecting number of classrooms that would be required will not serve the purpose unless the distribution of schools by number of classrooms in the existing 1.28 million schools imparting elementary education is carefully analysed details of which is available from the DISE sources for the year 2008-09 in a ready to use form. The number of classrooms so projected can be used to project number of teachers that would be required which can be worked out as per the provisions specified in the RTE Act. Since the number of teachers under RTE Act is linked to number of students in a school, which vary from Primary to Upper Primary school, careful analysis of distribution of teachers in the exiting schools would be of great help in correctly estimating the additional requirement of teachers on account of RTE Act. In a number of states, a good number of teachers’ positions are lying vacant all which should be filled-up (by the states) before the enactment of RTE Act else they be subtracted from the estimated number of total additional teachers.

Like number of schools and enrolment, number of para-teachers has also grown significantly (5.19 lakh para-teachers). The estimated number of additional teachers should be adjusted to the number of para-teachers a state has. Para-teachers with adequate academic and professional qualification may be considered as teacher, others those who don’t fulfill the criteria can be treated as schools without such number of teachers.

By just projecting number of additional classrooms that would be required will serve only the limited purpose. The additional classrooms may be in the exiting schools or new schools would be required to open in view of the projected additional classrooms. RTE Act has specified minimum infrastructure in each school all which would be required to provide to all such new schools. In addition, a good number of exiting schools imparting elementary education lack minimum facilities all which should also be made available by the state before the enactment of the RTE Act or the states be given sufficient time to provide all such facilities in the school. Minimum infrastructure (as per RTE Act) to all exiting schools is the responsibility of the states and the same should not be accounted in the RTE-estimation.

As has already been suggested above that to begin with the RTE-estimation may be based on 6-14 age years’ child population. Though Government’s commitment is of 6-14 years children but a good number of under-age and over-age children are getting enrolled each year in both Primary as well as Upper Primary classes’ provisions for which would also be required to make in the RTE-estimation. Especially Government and Aided schools cannot afford to deny admission to whosoever approach for admission.

A number of provisions have been made in the RTE Act with regard to teachers and infrastructure in schools. Minimum academic and professional qualifications of teachers under RTE Act will also be specified. A careful analysis of information would reveal that a good number of teachers do not fulfill minimum requirements. What would happen to all such teachers and also schools those are lacking in infrastructure. Will all such schools be closed down, naturally not or how much time would be given to all such schools to match the RET requirements. Whether teachers recruited are as per the qualifications laid down. Which body would monitor and decide upon all such aspects of RTE Act. Definitely, an independent body, if created can monitor all aspects of RTE Act on long term regular basis for which the exiting information system would also be required to further strengthened. Making available information concerning RTE Act under the public domain will also be of great help.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DISE 2007-08 Publications

The following publications based on DISE 2007-08 data are expected to be released shortly. If interested, please send your complete mailing address:

Elementary Education in India: 2006-07, Analytical Report
Elementary Education in India: 2006-07, Analytical Tables
Elementary Education in Rural India: 2006-07: Analytical Tables
Elementary Education in Urban India: 2006-07: Analytical Tables
District Report Cards: 2006-07, Volume I
District Report Cards: 2006-07, Volume II

Publications would aso be made availabe at
http://educationforallinindia.com
http://dise.in
http://schoolreportcards.in

Education For All in India Team

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Visit to Lakshadweep

Recently along with Mr. Shalender Sharma (of DISE Project) I visited Kavaratti, the capital of UT Lakshadweep having a population of 8000 only. The total population of the entire island is around 60 thousand which is much lower than the population of Adchini and Katwaria Sarai, the localities in South Delhi. About 98 percent of the Lakshadweep population is Muslim and they speak Malayalam.

First thing first, reaching Kavaratti is not simple। One has to first reach Cochin and from Cochin, Agatti, a small island of Lakshadweep having around 5000 population. In the monsoon season, one can reach Kavaratti from Agatti only by Helicopter. In the fair season, other mode of transportation such as ship, steamers and boats are also available. The Helicopter service is actually the medical ambulance and hence can be diverted any time to Cochin to ferry patients. Because of this we too had to stay overnight in Agatti. Fortunately, Agatti has a brand new State Guest House which is under expansion and have all facilities like, AC, TV etc. The mobile signals are generally found to be weak in the island. Getting all such facilities in such a small island is like five star accommodation in any big city. The cook served us reasonably good Dinner and Breakfast, the next morning.

Practically within half an hour we moved around Agatti and came back to the Guest House। We were still not sure about our flight to Kavaratti, the next morning. Initially we were told that the Helicopter may not come to Agatti, as it is still in the Cochin. Than we were informed that it would first go to Kavaratti, take fuel and then would be under maintenance. We were worried about the Workshop (on DISE, 3rd of August 2008) in the afternoon at Kavaratti. The DC, Agatti was helpful in ensuring that we would get the seats in the first sortie. Finally, we could able to reach Kavaratti by 1 pm. It took only 12-13 minutes to reach Kavaratti by Helicopter. By this way we lost half day as we could start the Workshop only by 2 pm. We in Delhi are habitual of frequent power cuts but power in the Lakshadweep is very consistent. Electricity in the island is generated through the Generators. Everything, except fish and coconut comes from the mainland and therefore is costly compared to the same in the mainland. For example, petrol is around 85 Rs./Lt. We were welcomed with the fresh coconut water in the comfortable State Guest House. Unlike in other costal cities, one need not go far to reach sea beach. In Kavaratti, both sides of the road have beach. Off late many resorts have come up and most of them are fully booked for the coming season starting September.

Now let me come to the point, the purpose of our visit to the island, was to conduct the Workshop on District Information System for Education, a system developed by NUEPA and MHRD/GoI to collect information from all the recognized schools imparting elementary education across the country. Each district and the state has been covered under the system; they collect, feed, use and disseminate information through various modes (http://www.dise.in/) and (schoolreportcards.in). But for Lakshadweep, we at NUEPA, New Delhi used to feed the information at the national level, as it was difficult for the UT to manage data feeding at their end. Unlike UP, Lakshadweep has only 34 schools, compared to 1.70 lakh such schools in UP. Lakshadweep has only 3 blocks, 8 islands and one district. All the officers and a few Principles of Kavaratti and Agatti participated in the Workshop. It was first time that we interacted directly with the School Principles, the respondents in the DISE operation. We found that Principals are well aware about educational development in the UT. In case of a school, the Principal reported that the information filled-in through the format is supplied by the CRC Co-coordinator but agreed that the same is correct. We are hopeful that the Date Entry Operators would now handle data entry and we need not to feed the data at the national level. We too visited a few schools and seen mid-day (coked one: rice, dal, papadam and pickle) meal been served which was started in the UT way back in 1956; earlier than Tamil Nadu. The School Principal informed us that he too had mid-day meal during his school days. However, the quality of food in those days was much better them the same these days. Most of the children in the UT are enrolled and schools are better equipped than the same in the mainland. Every school has 6-7 teacher and equal number of classrooms. There is hardly any space/land available for expansion. Lakshadweep doesn’t have DIET and are heavily dependant on Kerala. The UT is also using Kerala’s textbooks.

Our return journey was also quite uncertain. It took almost 12 hrs to reach Delhi but it was worth visiting the UT. We were told that we were the first from NUEPA to ever visit and conduct a Workshop in the island.

You may like to visit the island.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

DISE: District Information System for Education

Through the DISE information from all the schools imparting elementary education across the country is being collected every year. As a part of this activity, school report cards of each and every schools for the year 2007-08 were launched recently which is also available for the years 2005-06 and 2006-07. for this and other DISE publications, please visit

http://educationforallinindia.com
http://schoolreportcards.in
http://dise.इन

Arun C. Mehta

Monday, May 19, 2008

English gains as Medium of Instructions

With English giving India a huge advantage in the global economy, it is only natural that more Indians are opting to educate their kids in English-medium schools। What may come as a surprise is the pace at which this is happening. Nationwide enrolment in the upper primary section of English-medium schools rose 74% during 2003-2006. In actual figures, this is a rise from 54.7 lakh students in 2003 to 95.1 lakh in 2006. Data collected by the

National University for Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) show that over the same period, enrolment in Hindi (the dominant language) medium schools grew by 24% from 6.3 crore to 7.8 crore. The growth of English is more in non-Hindi speaking states, mostly the southern states which account for over 60% of the students enrolled in English-medium schools in the three-year period। Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, in that order, account for the highest jump in numbers in enrolment. TN, which had the largest number of students enrolled in English-medium schools in 2003, was outstripped by AP by 2006. In AP, the number of students enrolled in English-medium schools nearly doubled in this period — from 10.6 lakh to 20.9 lakh. In TN, the numbers jumped from 14.7 lakh to 17.2 lakh; and in Maharashtra, from 10.6 lakh to 11.9 lakh. English-medium also accounts for well over 90% of the enrolment in the northeastern states. However, up north, the growth of English has been sluggish except in Punjab and Gujarat where enrolment went up by over 93,000 and 60,000 respectively — not so high when compared with the southern states Data collected by the National University for Education Planning and

Administration (NUEPA) show that over the same period, enrolment in Hindi (the dominant language) medium schools grew by 24% from 6।3 crore to 7।8 crore। The spurt in schooling in English also means it is now the third biggest medium of instruction for upper primary students after Hindi and Marathi. In 2003, there were more students enrolled in Tamil medium, Telugu medium and Kannada medium schools than in those that taught in English. This would be the case for Bengali too but since the figures for Bengal have been dismissed by NUEPA as incomplete, a comparison is not possible. In 2006, over half the students at the upper primary level in the country were enrolled in Hindi medium schools, about 8% in Marathi medium schools, and over 6% in those that teach in English. Clearly, the growth of Hindi is mostly confined to the Hindi-speaking states, while English is growing across all states. The share of regional languages too has remained more or less the same or declined, mainly due to more people opting to educate their children in English medium. Among regional languages, the biggest fall in enrolment among the southern states happened in the Telugu medium in AP. Telugu medium enrolment in the state fell from 83% of the total enrolment in 2003-04 to 78% in 2006, even though it has increased by 6.78 lakh in terms of numbers. In TN, enrolment in Tamil medium has dipped from 82% of overall enrolment to 81%, though in absolute numbers it has gone up by 60,000. In Kerala, the proportion of enrolment in Malayalam has fallen from 90% to 87% and the numbers too have fallen. Then again, overall enrolment in the state has fallen by over 3 lakh. In Kerala, both in numbers as well as in terms of proportion of overall enrolment, students opting for English medium have increased, even though the overall enrolment in the state has decreased. The proportion increased from 7% to 10% and in numbers it has gone up to 3.2 lakh from 2.4 lakh. Karnataka is the only state where the number of students who enrolled for English medium went down. But then, the overall enrolment in the state has come down by 9.6 lakh. In terms of the percentage of total enrolment in the state, enrolment in English medium has increased from 16% to 18%. In Arunachal, Sikkim and Nagaland, enrolment in English medium is touching nearly 99% in the case of the first two states. In Manipur and Goa, nearly half the students up to upper primary are enrolled in English medium and over half of them are in English medium in Chandigarh. In the north, Punjab and HP have recorded an increase in enrolment in English medium by four percentage points each, and in absolute numbers the increase has been over 93,000 in Punjab. Other than these two states and Gujarat with an increase of over 60,000 students, no other northern state has seen any substantial rise in enrolment in English. On the whole, the Hindi heartland’s contribution to the rise in enrolment in English medium schools is negligible. Among the large Hindi-speaking states like UP, Bihar, MP and Rajasthan, only MP and Rajasthan have seen an increase of more than 30,000 in enrolment. In the other states, it has gone up by just a few thousands. In the case of enrolment in Hindi medium, the Hindi-speaking states have witnessed a substantial increase in terms of numbers, but the percentage of Hindi enrolment in the overall enrolment in these states has remained more or less the same. All three states that have seen an increase in enrolment in English medium — HP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh — have recorded a fall in proportion of enrolment in Hindi medium enrolment. In fact, in HP, even in terms of numbers the enrolment in Hindi medium has fallen by nearly 24,000 and by proportion it has fallen from 94% to 90%.