ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EDUCATION IN HIMACHAL PRADESH

Sanjeev Kumar

INTRODUCTION

There are four stages in school education structure in H.P. Primary (Age group 6-11) classes I-V; Middle (Age group 11-14) classes VI-VIII, High (Age group 14-16) classes IX-X and Senior Secondary (Age group 16-18) classes XI-XII.  The SCERT has the responsibility of designing the curriculum, developing text books, evaluation criteria and tools and providing training for DIET faculty. The Director of Education is assisted by the Additional Director (Schools), who is assisted by the Joint Director (Elementary Schools). Each district has a Deputy Director. The Grampanchyat has the responsibility of controlling and maintaining the primary and middle schools, providing mid day meal to the students, and providing grants and scholarships to the students. The Grampanchyat reports to the Block Development Committee and Zilla Parishad regarding the requirements and performances. There is tremendous progress of education in Himachal Pradesh since 1990. In 1990 - 91, there were only 7,471 primary schools and 1,066 middle schools. In 2003 - 04, there were 11,013 primary schools. In March, 2006, there were 2,400 middle schools. 

 

ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

There is lack of trained teachers in Govt. sector. In some schools, one or two teachers teach all the five classes. It has been reported that  47.76% male and 34.88% female teachers are working in Govt. primary schools on regular basis and 09.09% male and 7.3% female are working in Govt. primary schools as para - teachers. In the primary schools, along with senior secondary schools 47.02% male and 49.96% female teacher are serving on regular basis in Govt. institutions, and percentage of para - teachers in such schools is very low. In the primary schools, 8.41% are SC male and 3.58% are ST male teachers, while 3.50% are SC female and 1.93% are ST female teachers. The ratio of SC/ST teacher is still low. Himachal Government has made primary education compulsory by promulgating “Compulsory Primary Education Act; 1997” with effect from  April, 1998. To encourage enrollment and reduce the drop out rate in these schools, various scholarships and other incentives are being provided to the students of primary schools in the State which include: IRDP scholarship @ Rs. 150 per student per annum, free writing material and free text books for all students in tribal area, free clothing/uniform to girl students in tribal area, free text books to IRDP/SC/ST and OBC students in non-tribal areas, girl attendance scholarship @ Rs. 20 per student per annum, poverty stipend scholarship @ Rs. 4 per month, scholarship @ Rs. 8 per month on Lahaul-Spiti pattern for all students of tribal area, Rs.150 per month scholarship to the children of army personnel. In the year 2006 -2007, Rs.539.07 crore was spent on the primary school education. The Mid-Day-Meal scheme was launched in the State on 15.8.1995. This scheme was implemented initially in 13 CD Blocks, then, it was extended to 33 CD Blocks and finally, in all the 72 CD Blocks of the state. Initially the Government of Himachal Pradesh provided food grains @ 3 kgs rice per month/ to children in classes I- V in Government and Government aided school with 80% attendance for 10 academic months in a year. However, it was found that distribution of food grain per se would not achieve the professed objective of providing supplementary nutrition, since uncooked rice is either used by other members of the family, or resold in the market for economic benefits. With effect from 1.9.2004, therefore, the Government of Himachal Pradesh provided hot cooked meal of high calorific value and protein content to all children of primary classes, in Government / Govt  Aided primary schools as well as EGS centres of the state. For the year 2007-08, it is expected that 5,30,016 children in classes I-V and  39,229 children in classes VI-VIII in Educationally Backward Blocks  (EBBs) will avail the mid day meal programme for 242 days.  The State Government has made a provision of Rs. 14.40 crores in their budget.

 

To achieve total literacy in the State, a Literacy Mission has been started in each district with the co-ordination between primary school education Department and the District Saksharta Samiti under the Chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner.

 

The State Government has launched an ambitious scheme known as “Saraswati Bal Vidya Sankalap Yojna” under which 13,612 new class rooms are proposed to be constructed in three years in a phased manner. Under decentralization of powers to Panchayti Raj institutions, some powers were devolved to them during the year 1996 which includes inspection of primary schools, repair and maintenance of primary school buildings and monitoring of various incentive schemes being provided to the children of primary schools. Now the ownership of all the primary school buildings has been given to PRIs. The State Government is formulating a policy to recruit Gram Vidya Upasaks under ‘Himachal Gram Vidya Upasak Yojana in view of large number of vacancies in the remote / difficult/ inaccessible areas of the state.  Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan launched by the Government of India for achieving the goal of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) in the country has also been adopted by the State Government. Its objective is to provide elementary education to all children up to the age of 6-14 years. Education of girls and children belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are identified for special focus. In the financial year 2007-08, Rs. 90, 00,000 has been allotted for pre matric scholarships for OBC poor family students of elementary classes and Rs. 594 crores for SC students under Sub-plan. Also Rs. 197 crores on capital works on schools and colleges which include new class rooms, science labs and other infrastructural needs. During the year 2001-02, there were 3,188 middle units i.e. 1,674 middle schools, 978 middle units of high schools and 536 middle units of senior secondary schools were functioning in the Pradesh under the State Govt. management. Up to March, 2006 there were 2,400 middle schools, 850 high schools and 1,150 senior Secondary schools.  

 

Teacher Empowerment

Himachal Pradesh government has made provision for the short term training courses for primary school teachers under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). As short term in training has been conceived as a continuous program for empowerment of lower primary and upper primary school teachers, short duration training modules are being developed time to time as per the emergence of needs for making teachers abreast of new and relevant skills. At present,  these training programmes are conducting under ADHAAR programme. More emphasis is being given to (CCE) Continuation Comprehensive Evaluation (Samagra Mulyankan). It means that the students are to be evaluated without conducting examinations. Training modules have been developed for teaching of languages (English and Hindi), Mathematics and Science subjects in the light of subject specific needs of teachers and teacher training evaluation study. Training of the teachers in English is important as  it   has been introduced as a subject right from class I. It enabled the teachers to develop the proficiency in English and professional competency for teaching English as well.  Another important training module has also been devised so that the teacher can teach topics of science through experiments and activities in a very simple manner. In addition to subject specific training modules, induction  training for EGS teachers, training modules for BRC co-coordinators and CRC coordinators have also been developed so that the implementation, monitoring and supervision would take place in a co-coordinator manner. The implementation is largely the responsibility of the State Project Director (SSA), District Institute of Education and Training (DIETs) - 12 DIETs in 12 Districts and Deputy Director of Education. All the districts have educational blocks and each block has a Block Resource Centre (BRC) with self sufficient facilities for the training. Teachers from each block are identified and trained to function as Resource Person (RP). The batches of 35-40 teachers undergo training together in an identified school Cluster Resource Centre (CRC). The same group selects one of the teachers as coordinator or sometime these duties are carried out by the CHT. The coordinator decides all the formalities for the training.  The training programmes aim is to include all the teachers in the training turn by turn. Every teacher has to attend the training programme sessions for 15 times in one academic year. There are 6 special training lectures on the specific subject and 9 general lectures on teaching learning strategies and teaching aids. At intervals, the feedback is taken by the coordinator of the BRC/CRC. The training programme sessions are arranged in the vacation periods so that the regular teaching is not affected.

 

Students’ Enrolment

In the year 2003 - 04, there were 590139 students in Govt. primary schools and 16128 students in private primary schools. In  primary rural Govt. schools, there were 568009 students and 14390 in students were in private primary rural schools. In Govt. primary with middle, high and  senior sec. school, there were 5,195 students while such Private schools, there were 67,440 students.  In such rural Govt. schools, there were 2,331 students while in Private schools; this number is again very - very high, that is, 42,202. The most of the parents prefer Private Public schools for providing their children better quality education (English medium). The percentage   enrolment of SC students in primary schools was 30.2% and middle school was 26.3%. The SC girl students were 48.7% at primary level and 48% at middle level. But, the enrolment of ST students was very low - 5.5% in primary and 4.7% in middle schools. ST girl students were enrolled 49.1% at primary and 46.2% at middle school level.

Drop Out

There is very low drop out rate compared to previous years. In 2003- 04, the total drop out rate for classes I - V was 16.98% in which 15.87% were boys and 18.15% were girls. The drop out rate for class I - VIII was 14.28% in total, in which 13.29% were boys and 15.32% were girls. This drop out rate was 26.28% in 1993 -94 for classes I-V and 19.74% for classes I - VIII.

 

Infrastructure

In 2003-04, there were  11,013 primary and 2,076  middle schools. In 11,013 Govt. primary school buildings, 6,758 were cemented and well equipped, while 943 were partially cemented. 815 buildings were kuchha and 2,278 buildings were of multiple types. Some schools had no building. These are located in remote villages in some houses or in rented buildings. In most of the villages, schools are located at reachable distance except in remote snowy areas located in Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnour and Chamba districts.

 

Drinking Water and Toilet Facilities

During 2003 - 04, 85.6% primary schools had drinking water facilities and 96.8% primary + senior secondary schools had this type of facilities. 28.2% primary schools had common toilets and 70.9% primary + senior secondary schools had this facility. Only 12% primary schools had girls’ toilets and 88.1% primary + senior secondary schools had this facility.

 

Education of Children with Disability

A number of awareness programmes are advertised with the help of Grampanchyats and Anganwadis (pre - primary schools). 12,525 disabled were enrolled at primary school level out of which, 7,475 were boys and 5,050 were girls. 3,898 boys and 2,753 girls were enrolled at middle school level and there were total 11,373 boys and 7803 girls enrolled at primary school and middle school level. Assistance is being given to children in the form of books, stationery, free transport facility, escort allowance for blind children.

 

Literacy Programme

As per Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti, there are 4, 97, 974 people who are illiterate. The  Samiti has taken the task of  making  these people literate.

 

CONCLUSION

Many new schools are going to be opened under SSA and Govt. Special quota. Special funds are being provided for taking care of quality.  H.P. Govt. is now focusing on the remote areas and snowy areas. Activities are being undertaken to make people aware of their responsibility in respect of the education of the deprived group. Let this march continue towards the peak of excellence.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Divya Himachal, March, 08th, 2008.

Himalya Kesri, September 4, 2007.

H.P. Bhasker, January 25th, 2007.

Selected Educational Statistics, 2002 – 03.

Ministry of Finance (2006)  Economic Survey, 2006.  Govt. of India, New Delhi.

NIEPA (2004) State Elementary Report Card, NIEPA, New Delhi.

NCERT (2002) Seventh All India Education Survey   NCERT, New Delhi.

Times of India, March, 08th, 2008.