Appointment And Tenure Of Teachers Under The Scheme Education Essay

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Before 1994, all public schools were staffed with assistant teachers who are permanent employees recruited by the State government. This cadre is disappearing, indeed in government schools, the replacement of retiring teachers and the creation of new positions or new schools have been covered since 1995 by the recruitment through Janpad Panchayats of a new category of teachers called 'Shiksha Karmis' and now of 'Samvida Shikshaks' (Teachers recruited on fixed contracts). EGS teachers who are also recruited locally and depend on Gram Panchayats; official documents term them 'Gurujis'. Four categories of teachers thus temporarily co- exist within the public sector and differ in employer (State vs. Panchayat), security of tenure (assistant teachers have security of tenure, Shiksha Karmis have by and large obtained it, but Samvida Shikshaks and Gurujis can be dismissed), transfer rules (there has been a temporary ban an transfer of Shiksha Karmis ; Gurujis cannot be transferred), qualification and training (completed higher secondary schooling is required for all categories, but assistant teachers are often better qualified and received more training) and salary. Gurujis get the least amongst the various categories that is Rs 1000 up from Rs 500 at the inception of the EGS. These measures aim to alter the incentives structure of the public sector; teachers belonging to the new categories have weaker bargaining power than assistant teachers vis- a - vis parents, panchayats and the government. It is expected that if there is no security of tenure teachers will teach more 'effectively' as they can be held accountable and even dismissed in case a complaint is filed by parents or the panchayat. [1] 

Overall, government education policies have been more clearly defined in Madhya Pradesh schools than in other North Indian States. They include the creation of primary schools through the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), the alternative schools (AS) programme and specially the implementation of (EGS). The government of Madhya Pradesh has supplemented these measures, promoting primary education with the creation of middle schools (the number of such schools has been referred to earlier) and the 'Padhna Babhna Andolan', an adult literacy programme.

Critical perspectives with regard to various aspects of the scheme

While expanding the supply of primary schools to rural areas of Madhya Pradesh has been an undeniable necessity, the specific reforms implemented by the Government of Madhya Pradesh have sparked much controversy about the features of the resulting school system and the role of the State in the field of education in the long run. [2] The quality of education imparted in Education Guarantee schools, has perhaps generated the most widespread debate with regard to this alternate schooling system. The aim of the government has been to promote teaching learning materials based on the national minimum levels of learning (MLL) or their contextual adaptations, through competent groups. MLL have been identified by an expert academic committee (Prof. R.H. Dave Committee setup by MHRD) MLL defines those minimum skills and competencies in three basic curricular areas of language, math and environment studies that a child should acquire as a result of regular participation in each stage of elementary education. The significance of minimum levels of learning is that they indicate clearly defined competencies that an average child under average conditions of teaching learning should be able to achieve. Further, the new teaching learning materials (TLM) based on MLL are generally designed in a way that helps continuous evaluation of the learner. Such concurrent evaluation would be by the teacher. Besides this there would be a system of periodic evaluation through resource persons, every 6 to 8 months. The use of this 'composite pedagogy': improved TLM, recurrent training based on these TLM and continuous learner evaluation will be the basic strategy to ensure continued participation and achievement of basic learning levels by children. [3] 

Besides the curriculum, other educational inputs in the EGS schools have been found to be lacking. EGS was designed to raise the number of schools without a major increase in educational expenditure. Costs have been cut through the payment of low salaries to gurujis and the absence of systematic finding for building. EGS shalas, it has been contended are 'classes' rather than schools [4] Responding to the same the government position has been that, conceding that the nature of space along with several other attributes, has a role in ensuring quality, the EGS schools may need to be enabled to improve the learning spaces. However, with regard to payment of teachers' salary it has been argued that the great advantage of EGS is that it integrates costs of different critical inputs into a school cost, which reflects it's perception of quality as an integrated approach. It does not split up the school into an artificial and undesirable division of teacher salary as school cost and quality costs as add on. In percentage terms, 82% of the more expensive formal school goes into teacher salary, 1% as training and 16% on furniture and equipment and none to children, whereas in EGS it is 71% on salary, 10% on equipment, 7% on training and 12% on learning materials for children. So the EGS does cost less but improves upon what the present system offers to the child. [5] 

The other critical quality input from on academic perspective is in terms of qualification of teachers. It has been argued that teachers recruited for the EGS are mostly local boys or girls, who are essentially high school dropouts and therefore incapable of imparting quality education to children. The official response to this critique has been two fold. On the one hand it has been argued that "most evaluations of primary education have shown that it is lack of accountability of the teacher to the local community that has been the major cause of poor performance and so the EGS may result in strengthening the primary education sector as a whole by bringing in greater community control". [6] Moreover local recruitment reduces physical and social distance between teachers and pupils.

With regard to educational qualification of teachers, in statistical terms 88% of gurujis are higher secondary, 9% are graduates and 3% post graduates. When compared to the formal government system 55% of the highest paid primary school teachers are not more qualified than the gurujis. Further, while no linear co-relation has as yet been established between salary and incentive to work (as is particularly exemplified in the case of primary school teachers, where high salaries have not reduced the level of absenteeism amongst teachers) the salaries drawn by EGS teachers are comparable to those drawn by teachers in expensive private schools which range from an average amount of Rs. 400 to Rs 4000 per month in Bhopal. [7] 

For assessing quality on both parameters that is education and managerial, the government of Madhya Pradesh enacted the 'Jan Shiksha Adhiniyam' to ensure quality in education. Under the law, both the government and the community have been made accountable for improving the quality of education. People's education report would be prepared at school, district and state level. Reports of the District and School level would be prepared in accordance with the Assembly constituencies for enabling peoples' representatives to access the progress of education in their respective constituencies. The state level people's education report would also be tabled in the State assembly. [8] 

It has been argued that "quality is a relational process and not a sum of inputs." [9] This is particularly the case in education which is why under EGS "…..a set of critical inputs" [10] have been selected which are essential for initiating a primary school particularly so in the local context of Madhya Pradesh. Quality itself is a 'dynamic concept' which evolves over time and is contextually rooted and understood. The guarantee promised under the scheme implies that within a stipulated time the school must be set up. The government cannot delay establishment of the school on the plea that all the requisite inputs for example financial, technical or otherwise are not yet available. EGS essentially represents the idea of a school as an evolutionary institution. Schools are created in response to given demography and geography and is not an issue of imposing a stereotype school as a model. The basic thrust of EGS was universalisation of access, to provide a universal base upon which reform could be gradually planned. [11] 

While the above mentioned debate focuses on the pros and cons of EGS as an alternative system of schooling, from the development perspective, the discussion needs to be extended to the question of externalities created by universalisation of access to primary education. To ascertain the same, field work was carried out in two districts of Madhya Pradesh.

Indices for selection of districts and a comparative study of the same

Two districts were selected keeping in mind that one be backward in terms of development and the other forward. The development indices used for selecting the districts was the Human Development Index, drawn from the Human Development Report of the Government of Madhya Pradesh, 2002. [12] The HDI was used for selecting the districts so that the programme could be studied in both the districts and therefore changes could be mapped individually and by contrasting experiences in the two districts.

On the basis of HDI, 45 districts have been ranked. Out of these the two selected were Bhopal, which has a HDI of 0.663 and ranks second, and other was Vidisha which has a human development index of 0.549 and ranks 27th, figuring below the half way mark in terms of ranking of districts. Looking at individual indicators within HDI, Bhopal has a 0.813 score on education, 0.665 score on health and 0.510 sore on income. For the same, Vidisha has 0.722, 0.495 and 0.431 respectively. While Vidisha lags behind Bhopal in all areas, the results for education are mixed.

Comparison of education related indicators

Looking at various other education related indicators at the primary level, the Gross enrolment ratio in Vidisha is 102.9 while in Bhopal it is 94.4. At the level of the middle schools, Bhopal surpasses Vidisha as the Gross enrolment ratio is 88.2, while in Vidisha it is 59.4. Literacy in Bhopal in 1991 and 2001 was 64.27% and 73.14% respectively. While in Vidisha it was 44.08% and 62.10% respectively. Male and female literacy in Vidisha in 2001 was 66.67% and 32.56% respectively while in Bhopal it was 74.71% and 47.45% respectively. As is evident, female literacy in Vidisha lags behind that in Bhopal much more, as compared to male literacy. However, literacy growth in Vidisha for the decade 1991 - 2001 was 18.02, way ahead of that of Bhopal's at 10.81. Given this high growth in literacy witnessed in Vidisha, the case for studying the success of EGS in the district became all the more meaningful.

Table 4.1: Comparing various literacy related indices in the districts of Bhopal and Vidisha

Source: Government of Madhya Pradesh (2002) Third Human Development Report, Madhya Pradesh.

Comparing Tehsils in Bhopal on the basis of urbanization, literacy and health

The district of Bhopal has 2 janpad panchayats, 194 gram panchayats, 2 tehsils and no tribal blocks. Demographic indicators include share of Madhya Pradesh population which is 3.04%. Urban population is 80.5% (2001), while scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population is 13.8% and 3.0% (1991) respectively. With regard to basic amenities all villages are electrified and habitations with SDW facility are 100% Households without access to electricity, SDW and toilet, facilities are 4.45 while 50% of the villages are not connected by pucca roads.

Estimated poverty rate is 36.5%. Share of primary sector is 24.9%, secondary sector is 24.5% and tertiary sector is 50.65% (1991) [13] 

The two tehsils in Bhopal are 'Huzur' and 'Berasia'. The two blocks in these 2 Tehsils are 'Phanda' and 'Berasia'. While Huzur has an urbanization % of 89.6., Berasia has a percentage of 11.4. Agricultural labourers in workers in Huzur are 5.95%, while in Berasia they are 40.14%. While there is a wide gap in terms of agricultural labourers, the % of rural population in the two tehsils is comparable. Huzur has a rural population of 36.42%, while Berasia of 28.55%. Looking at literacy indices, in Huzur total literacy is 78%, while in Berasia it is 51.3%. Contrasting educational infrastructures can be seen in the two tehsils at the level of higher and higher secondary schools. For instance in Huzur there are 166 High schools as compared to only 6 in Berasia. Similarly Huzur has 255 higher secondary schools as compared to only 14 in Berasia. Given that the difference in population of the two tehsils is roughly eight times that is Huzur has a population of 1,623,050 and Berasia of 2,13,734 persons, the contrast in number of educational institutions is rather striking. This contrast is carried further with regard to health related infrastructure, particularly health centers. While there are 34 such centers in Huzur, there is only one such center in Berasia. While comparison on many other indices is possible, in an attempt to create a rough replication of the human development index, three variables were considered, that is, urbanisation, literacy and health infrastructure. On all three counts Huzur tehsil, with its janpad panchayat, 'Phanda' score over tehsil Berasia. As the sample was to be representative of the district, Phanda was chosen as the block panchayat to be studied. Phanda has a total of 236 villages and 87 gram panchayats. The total number of EGS schools is 65, in which the student strength is 3888.

Table 4.2: Comparing tehsils within district Bhopal on the basis of urbanization, health related infrastructure and literacy

Source: Government of Madhya Pradesh (2002) Third Human Development Report, Madhya Pradesh.

Selection of villages in Janpad Huzur

As the villages selected were to be representative of relatively higher developed villages, the two criteria used for determining the same were population and educational infrastructure. Population was considered an important variable, as on the basis of information gathered from the Block Office, higher the population, more the availability of various facilities and greater interest that the political representatives took in such villages, looking at their electoral prospects. [14] Toomda, the first village selected has a total population of 5033 thousand persons and is the most populous amongst the villages in Janpad Phanda. Toomda has a high school, two government primary schools and an EGS school in Rajivnagar. [15] The other village selected on the basis of population was Phanda Kalan which has a population of 2995 thousand persons and has 3 primary schools and one EGS school. [16] Visits were also made to Mugaliyachaap, which has a population of 3165 thousand persons. [17] 

Comparing Tehsils in Vidisha on the basis of urbanization, literacy, health and infrastructure

The District of Vidisha Has 7 Janpad Panchayats, 549 Gram Panchayats, 7 Tehsils and no Tribal blocks. Demographic indicators include share of Madhya Pradesh population which is 2.01%. Urban population is 21.4% while population of Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes is 20.3% and 4.4% (1991) respectively. With regard to basic amenities 1478 villages are electrified out of a total of 1522 inhabited villages. Habitations with SDW facility are 100%. Households without access to electricity, SDW and toilet facilities are 38.91%, while 71% of villages are not connected by pucca roads.

Estimated poverty rate is 34.3%/ Share of primary sector is 79.3%, secondary sector is 6.2% and tertiary sector is 14.58%. [18] 

The seven tehsils in Vidisha are Lateri, Sironj, Kurwai, Basoda, Vidisha, Nateran and Gyrasapur. On the basis of urbanization, the two tehsils which have lowest urbanization are Kurwai which has 10% urbanization followed by Lateri which has 12.5% urbanisation. Literacy indices show that Lateri has the lowest literacy amongst the 7 tehsils at 47.1%. It also has the lowest sex ratio at 861. Educational infrastructure is not a good measure here, as even though Lateri has the least number of Primary schools, the population of the tehsil is also second lowest, following Gyrasapur. Health related infrastructure indices are also not very conclusive. Gyrasapur, Nateran, Kurwai and Lateri have no primary health centre, while sub-health centres in Lateri are 18, the same as in Kurwai and higher than that of Gyrasapur which has 16 sub-health centres. Sironj and Lateri however do have the lowest ratio of family welfare centres, i.e. one centre for 90 villages. Another infrastructural index is that of length of roads per 100 sq km. With regard to the same Lateri has the second lowest figure at 7.88, after Gyrasapur which has 7.34. Given these indicators, Lateri was chosen as representative of a backward Janpad in Vidisha District. [19] 

Table 4.3: Comparing janpads within district Vidisha on the basis of urbanization, health related infrastructure and literacy

Source: Government of Madhya Pradesh (2002) Third Human Development Report, Madhya Pradesh

Selection of villages in Janpad Lateri

Lateri has a total population of 1,12,145 persons, 180 villages and 56 gram panchayats. The total number of EGS schools is 72. [20] The two villages selected were 'Tadachak' in 'Semrameghnad' Gram Panchayat and 'Fatehgarh' in 'Tajpura' Gram Panchayat. Selection of villages was essentially on the basis of random unpatterned identification. Fatehgarh has an EGS school which has been functioning since 18th August 1998, there is one Guruji, though in records there is a mention of 3 Gurujis and teaching is done till class five. Children enrolled are 68. The number of children who took the fifth board exam is 8 of which 5 cleared the exam. In Tadachak, the school has been functioning since December, 2001. There is one Guruji and classes are upto fourth level. Total number of Children enrolled is 61. [21] Both Tadachak and Fatehgarh are inaccessible by road. Fatehgarh has a total population of 300 people, of which 299 are scheduled tribes. [22] 

Interrogating functioning of the scheme and generation of education related externalities

The two main thrust areas of the study were the functioning of the EGS schools and impact of education so gained on various other development indicators.

With regard to functioning of the schools, the various aspects explored can be understood in terms of two categories (based on the respondents) that is, perception of parents and the general public on the one hand and perception of teachers on the other. The questions pertained to the regularity of teaching in the schools, availability of reading / writing material, evaluation of the teachers, attendance of students, social categories of students in percentage terms, performance of students, perceptible changes that they might have, noticed in their wards / students an account of EGS and how valuable do they deem education to be.

From the perspective of awareness, there was an attempt to elicit the relation between education and enhanced awareness regarding health, sanitation both in relation to the school going children and their families. Another set of variables constituted relating education to possible enhanced political participation in the Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat (the two institutions of decentralized governance and administration, which have formed the core of the Government of Madhya Pradesh's democratic development strategy). Various aspects of participation were delineated, including attendance in Gram Sabha/ Panchayat meetings, raising individual demands and various community issues and follow up action taken on the demands and issues put forward. Issues of accountability of the Panchayat especially with regard to finances in general and those regarding EGS were sought to be ascertained. Another variable included was that of infrastructural development in terms of roads, drinking water connections, electricity, overhead tanks, tube wells, check dams for irrigation, school building, health centres constructed etc.

Responses were recorded both in the form of structured questionnaires and informal group discussions (primary data was collected at the state, district and block levels for the concerned villages)

Comments on Questionnaire to elicit citizen's response to the EGS scheme and development initiatives in Madhya Pradesh

Objectives of the Questionnaire

To collect field level information on EGS schools on school level variables, teaching working conditions and other external variables mainly political. The latter include decentralization and electoral preferences in terms of political parties.

School level variables include school regularity in terms of conducting classes, student attendance and student performance. Teacher variables include training, salary and supervision. External variables- There are two kinds of variables here: (1) Variables in which the relationship of education and another variable is seen (2) Variables external to education such as political parties.

Sampling was in the manner of non-random stratified sample representing various strata of society on the basis of certain socio-economic variables.

Socio-economic profile of respondents interviewed

Socio-economic profile of respondents

Gender

Men

Women

 

 

65%

35%

 

Literacy levels

Illiterate

Upto class 5th

Above class 5th

 

50%

50%

Nil

Age Groups

18-25 yrs

25-45 yrs

45-65 yrs

 

7%

64%

29%

Caste Background

Scheduled Castes

Other Backwards

Upper castes

 

43%

35%

22%

Occupational background

Cultivators

Labour

Misc.*

 

35%

29%

36%

*professional such as pandit, cook, businessman etc.

The data thus gathered through structured interviews and discussions has been analysed in two ways. Firstly responses to individual questions have been looked at and second general themes have been selected and questions clubbed together for a more generalized analysis.

Questions one to three dealt with general level of awareness regarding community projects, benefits of the same, information about EGS, source of that information and whether there was any such school in the village. While 15% of the respondents were aware of certain community projects such as the Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission, they were totally unaware of any benefits that accrued from community projects. 38% were aware of the EGS scheme. Information regarding the same was made available by the Panchayat as reported by 60% of the respondents while 40% came to know of the same through friends and relatives. Respondents were largely unaware about the petition given to the government and the response of the same for the demand of an EGS school. Only one respondent claimed knowledge about such a demand and modalities related to the same and also stated that the school had been set up in less than 90 days of petitioning the government. Responses regarding duration of functioning of the school were variable ranging from 4 to 6 years.

Table1: Awareness of Community based projects

Those who were aware of community based projects

15%

Those who were aware of the EGS

38%

Aware of EGS School in their village

31%

Of those aware of EGS those informed by the Gram Panchayat were

60%

Those who participated in the scheme were

15%

When asked about the nature of teaching, 38% claimed that the teaching was good while 46% claimed that performance of students in exams was average. Primary schooling was viewed as being very important by 77% of the respondents, while 46% also claimed that the government provided books under EGS scheme. When questioned about the existence of a Shala Prabandh Committee or Academic Coordinator which provide an interface between the government and the parents, the respondents claimed to have no knowledge of either of the two.

Table 2: Variables regarding teaching and student performance

Those who felt that the teaching was good were

38%

Those who felt that performance in exams was average were

46%

Those who viewed primary schooling as important were

77%

Those who said that the government provided books under EGS were

46%

When questioned on education and related externalities, 15% claimed that health and sanitation awareness had increased, while 15% claimed that education led to better employment opportunities. The link between education and enhanced participation in Gram Sabha remains unclear.

Table 3: Education and related externalities

Those who felt that education had improved health and sanitation were

15%

Those who felt that education had improved employment opportunities were

15%

Those who felt that education had helped increase per capita income were

8%

While an attempt was made to link education, enhanced employment opportunities to infrastructural enhancement in the village, this link too remains unclear. However 23% of the respondents did refer to improvement in the number of roads, irrigation, drinking water and health facilities. Sanitation remained a neglected area while 8% mentioned improvement in schools. When asked to rate requirements of the village, drinking water was seen as the most important, followed by irrigation and then sanitation, health, education and employment were equally rated.

Table 4: Improvement in various infrastructure related sectors

Improvement in drinking water facilities

23%

Improvement in functioning of health centres

23%

Improvement in condition of roads

23%

Improvement in irrigation facilities

23%

Improvement in school building

8%

Improvement in sanitation facilities

Nil

It is interesting to note that in an open ended question relating to development over the past 10 years, enhancement in schooling facilities is not seen as the greatest contribution of development. Rather construction of a primary health centre / hospital figures first, followed by irrigation facilities in the form of overhead and ground water tank. Electricity, check-dams and schools figure third while roads are very low down at number four. The fifth important aspect of development has been in the terms of community centre and the closing of an illicit liquor shop as suggested by a respondent in Toomda village.

On questions related to participation there was no response to the programmes of Joint forest management or Watershed development as these schemes were not functional in the villages surveyed. With regard to decentralization of powers and functions to Panchayati Raj Institutions 46% said that there was increased participation in planning of programmes. 62% felt that there was greater devolution of funds. 38% of the respondents felt that there was somewhat increased participation of women in Gram Sabhas. 62% felt that there was somewhat increase in the participation of women in Panchayats while 8% felt that participation of women had increased a lot. In terms of the agency that played a greater role in development, 62% responded in favor of representative institutions while 15% answered in favor of the bureaucracy

Table 5: Participation related variables

Somewhat increased participation of women in Gram Panchayat

62%

Somewhat increased participation of women in Gram Sabha

38%

Increased participation in planning of projects

46%

Increased devolution of funds

62%

Panchayat as a preferred agency of development

62%

Bureaucracy as a preferred agency of development

15%

The opinion based questions regarding reasons for the victory of the Congress party in the 1998 assembly elections and for its defeat in the 2003 elections threw up a number of interesting responses. While the promise of free electricity as a poll plank was seen as the most important reason for the victory of the Congress, shortage of electricity featured as the second most important reason for the defeat of the same in 2003. Apart from this the promise of granting land ownership to Dalits, developmental work and fulfilling of earlier electoral promises held equal importance as factors responsible for the victory of the Congress. Again interestingly, the excessive focus on Dalits or the 'Dalit Agenda' of the Congress featured as the most important reason for its defeat in 2003. Corruption was the third most important factor.

The villages surveyed were quite representative of the electoral outcomes seen at the level of the State Assembly. In 1998, 46% said that they had voted for the Congress while 8% for the BJP while in 2003, 31% voted for the Congress, while 23% for the BJP.

Table 6: Electoral preferences of respondents

Party voted in 1998

Congress

46%

BJP

8%

Party voted in 2003

Congress

31%

BJP

23%

Coming to the thematic analysis the broad themes can be looked at as follows:

With regard to awareness of local development / Community based projects in particular EGS, there was less than 40% awareness about the scheme.

On the theme of responsiveness of the government and promptness of response of the people, one person had ever petitioned the government and the government responded to the demand. Considering the low awareness of people regarding EGS as was evident in the earlier question, the fact that only one person was involved in petitioning the government seem to be correlated. One of the main reasons for the above two responses is that EGS is applicable only to a small section of population i.e. those whose children do not go to regular schools. It is an alternative to the formal structure of education.

Again with regard to variables concerning implementation of EGS, very few people had an idea of implementation as well as procedures of EGS.

With regard to the given variable link between education and other externalities many people were positive about infrastructural improvements.

There was an overall positive response of 70% of the people with regard to schools and teaching concerning variables as also 77% of the respondents felt that education is very important.

Variables relating to democratic decentralization such as participation in Panchayati Raj Institutions, devolution of funds, powers and functions also received a positive response from the respondents. Moreover all the respondents preferred representative institutions as development agencies when juxtaposed to the bureaucratic machinery.

While water was seen as the main requirement of the village, respondents were satisfied with development in the village in the past decade.

In terms of electoral preferences, electricity and Dalit politics played a major and recurring role in elections.

Comments on Questionnaire to elicit the response of officials, political representatives and teachers to the EGS

Apart from the citizens' survey, a separate structured survey was conducted for officials, political representatives and teachers involved in the EGS. Responses were both structured and some were in the form of general discussion with the person concerned. As in the earlier case analysis for the same has been done in two ways i.e. question wise analysis with similar questions clubbed together and a more generalized thematic analysis.

The first question was regarding selection of the teacher. While 18% said Panchayat, the other responses were evenly divided between the name being recommended by the community, by the Middle / Higher Secondary school or by a survey conducted by the interested person himself in the village and then seeking permission from and asking the Panchayat to forward his name. This was the case for the Guruji from 'Entkhedichaap' Panchayat, village 'Khamlakhedi'.

Table 1: Manner of selection of teacher

Who suggested your name as EGS teacher

Community

9%

Middle/Higher secondary school recommended

9%

Panchayat survey done by teacher himself

9%

Panchayat

18%

The next question related to regularity of classes in which there was a 45% response i.e. classes were held daily though in the case of 'Toomda' village 2-3 days had elapsed since the last class was held. When questioned on attendance of students, 27% claimed average attendance while 18% claimed above average attendance. With regard to caste wise representation of students, the general response was that the highest representation was of OBCs, followed by the Scheduled caste and Scheduled tribe population, while girls are 50%. Performance of students was said to be average. With regard to the percentage of students who cleared the class fifth exam, 9% of the respondents said more than half the class while the rest 9% said that less than one fourth of the class. When questioned on the value addition through education, all respondents answered positively. There were twin improvements on account of education, firstly in terms of increasing awareness of the outside world and secondly in terms of status.

Table 2: Student attendance and school performance

Regularity of classes

Daily

45%

Attendance of students

Above average

18%

Average

27%

Performance of students

Average

36%

% of students who cleared 5th class exam

Those who said that less than 25% cleared the exam were

9%

Those who said that more than 50% cleared the exam were

9%

When questioned on regularity of salaries of those who responded, 60% said that they regularly received salaries while 40% answered that they received salaries after 2-3 months. With regard to training programmes, 50% said that they were held more than once a year while the rest said that they were held less than once a year. One respondent said that he had attended the training programme. He was the guruji from 'Entkhedichaap' village. With regard to the question of monitoring by the State / District / Block / Cluster Coordinator, the guruji of 'Entkhedichaap' village claimed that the Cluster Coordinator came every month. However in none of the cases had a Shiksha Panchayat been convened. With regard to maintenance of various records, 50% had a village education register, attendance register and school facilities register. All of them maintained a Guruji Diary.

Table 3: Teacher concerning variables

Regularity of payment of salaries

Of those who responded to this question

Those who said yes were

60%

Those who said no were

40%

Organisation of training programmes

More than once a year

40%

Once a year

40%

Participation in such programmes

Yes

20%

No

80%

Maintenance of various school related records

Village education register

20%

Attendance register

20%

Learning register

nil

Guruji diary

40%

School facilities register

20%

Shala Prabandh samiti register

nil

School development plan

nil

With regard to impact of education and given externalities another host of questions were asked.

On the question of impact of education on various other social indicators, health awareness, sanitation and women's empowerment were said to have been overwhelmingly benefited by 18% of the respondents. Another 18% claimed average impact of education on the first two social indicators quoted above. 27% claimed average impact of education on participation in Gram Panchayat / Gram Sabha while 9% claimed overwhelming impact.

Table 4: Education and related externalities

Impact of education on enhancing

Overwhelming

Average

Health awareness

18%

18%

Sanitation

18%

18%

Women's empowerment

18%

9%

Participation in Gram Panchayat/Sabha

9%

27%

Involvement of the Panchayat was seen as total by 27% of the respondents while 18% said that the Panchayat was somewhat involved in the scheme. With regard to devolution of powers, functional autonomy and fund devolution to Panchayati Raj Institutions, the results were evenly divided with 18% saying yes and the rest saying no. The Gram Sabha was not seen as involved in greater decision making. Further 9% of the respondents claimed that the Gram Sabha was involved in auditing the Gram Panchayat accounts while 18% denied the same. There had however been no recalling of any elected member of Panchayat by the Gram Sabha.

Table 5: Variables regarding functioning of Gram Panchayat

Involvement of panchayat in the scheme

Totally

27%

Somewhat

18%

Impact of the Panchayati Raj Act

Yes

No

More powers to the Panchayat

18%

18%

Greater functional autonomy

18%

18%

Enhanced fund devolution

18%

18%

Gram Sabha involvement

Yes

No

Geater decision making powers

nil

18%

Auditing Gram Panchayat accounts

9%

18%

Recalling members of Gram Panchayat

nil

18%

With regard to infrastructural gains made under the aegis of the Panchayat, quite surprisingly drinking water and education were rated first while irrigation and housing were rated second. Sanitation and health facilities were third. No gains had been made with regard to employment opportunities and electricity. The opinion based question on development in the past ten years led to 45% saying that there had been some development, while 9% denied the same.

Table 6: Infrastructural gains made as a result of Panchayati Raj

Infrastructural gains made as a result of Panchayat Raj Act

Housing

18%

Education

27%

Health

9%

Drinking Water

27%

Irrigation

18%

Sanitation

9%

Employment Opportunities

Nil

Roads

18%

Electricity

Nil

Any development in the past 10 years

Yes

45%

No

9%

The opinion based question on political parties i.e. on why the Congress party won the 1998 assembly election led to varied reasons being put forward. The overwhelming reason advanced was the reduction of electricity charges and the promise of free electricity. The other reasons advanced were development, education, employment and that the Congress party stuck to its promises. Reasons advanced for the defeat of the Congress in the 2003 election were equally varied. These were that the 'Patta' distribution or titles to land were only given to the Harijans, while the upper caste was ignored which also has a number of landless labour amongst their ranks. Moreover the distribution was made on a discriminatory basis by the Tehsildar. Further for the distribution of land, grazing or common village land was confiscated under the Grazing Land Act. It is also argued that there was no free distribution of electricity. Moreover excessively frequent meetings of the Gram Sabha were also criticized and Digvijay Singh was said to have been rather dictatorial in his style of functioning. It has also been said that employment opportunities became rare, as the Congress removed regular employees in school and replaced them with daily wagers or contract employees.

Electoral preferences for the officials / political representatives were quite interesting as 36% had voted for the Congress in 1998 while all those surveyed 45% voted for the Congress in 2003.

Table 7: Electoral variables

Why Congress won 1998 elections*

Electricity charges reduced/ Free Electricity

36%

Enhanced employment

9%

Development & Education

9%

Stuck to it's promises

9%

* These categories are based on responses received and were not a part of choices given in the questionnaire

A thematic analysis of the questionnaire for political representatives, officials and teachers reveals the following:

With regard to school and teaching concerning variables (School attendance, regularity of classes, performance of students etc.); overall school attendance is termed average. The performance of students is termed average or below average in exams, but there has been increasing demand that each one of the students should be passed in the class fifth exam as this would fulfill the criteria of basic education. With regard to working condition concerning variables of teachers, overall teachers are satisfied with the remuneration paid to them though it is quite delayed at times. However there is definitely a gap in terms of quality check and supervision procedures.

In terms of education and externalities people definitely understand the need and value of education and they felt that it had led to an improvement in health. With regard to variables concerning political decentralization and education 45% of the respondents answered positively with regard to Panchayat involvement. This definitely augurs well for the grass root delivery system. Apart from recommending a name for the Guruji, the Panchayat also provided infrastructure in the form of a school building (This was the case in village Mugaliyachaap).

In general it can be said that the Congress government's stress on education has definitely led to greater understanding of the importance of education and related externalities. However people are unable to distinguish between regular primary schools i.e. government aided or established under the Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission on the one hand and EGS schools on the other. In the case of Lateri too, education was highly rated, though developmental work was seen as meager.

In 'Lateri ', in the case of both the villages of 'Fatehgarh' and 'Tadachak', the name of the Guruji had been recommended by the Panchayat. This was particularly the case in 'Tadachak' where the Gram Sabha had recommended the Guruji's name. In both cases classes were said to function regularly, while student attendance was classified as above average. Caste wise representation of students varied in the two villages as 'Fatehgarh' had a 100% Adivasi population while in the case of 'Tadachak' 60% of the students were Adivasis, while the rest belonged to the Other Backward caste category. Students' performance was classified as average in both cases. When asked regarding the % of students who had cleared the class fifth exam, it was quoted as more than 50% by the Guruji in 'Fatehgarh' while in 'Tadachak' as EGS had been initiated only in 2002, students had as yet not taken the class fifth exam. Education was said to have contributed to the capabilities of students in many ways. These were in terms of increasing general awareness, hygiene and health. In both cases it was said that regular salaries were paid and they were deemed to be adequate. With regard to training programmes, in the case of 'Fatehgarh', the cluster education officer visited the EGS school twice a year, while in 'Tadachak' such an inspection had been held once since the establishment of the school. Shiksha Panchayats had not been convened in either of the cases and attendance registers were maintained in both cases. The Gram Sabhas which were convened on a monthly basis were discontinued since the Congress lost power. This was particularly the case in 'Tadachak' village while they were regularly held in Fatehgarh.

Lack of roads was a major development issue in terms of accessability in both the villages. In the case of 'Tadachak' there had been no electricity supply since the past one year as it was unaffordable. There was no health centre either.

Quite interestingly then, an EGS school in 'Tadachak' was quite successful as the teacher was locally recruited. In the case of primary schools, most of the teachers resided outside the village which made the school inaccessible to them. Moreover the school too was located far away from the village. In the case of 'Fatehgarh' too, the EGS school was quite popular and the number of students had increased from 6 to 68. However one of the shortcomings was that there were no girl students.

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