For over a decade
now the importance of five to eight years of schooling for all children
has come to be accepted as a societal non-negotiable. Gone are the days
when people, at least in the more educationally backward regions of the
country, questioned the relevance of primary education in the daily battle
for survival of the poor, particularly poor women. The remarkable progress
made in Himachal Pradesh and the growing political importance of primary
education in Madhya Pradesh symbolise a significant departure from the
past, especially in northern India. In the last five years more and more
people have been publicly voicing concerns about the situation of primary
education in the country. The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP)
has not only augmented available resources for primary education, but
has also given primary education the attention and priority it merits
in government. The Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) of Madhya Pradesh
challenged conventional approaches to educational access. For the first
time, the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu showed
willingness to collect information on out-of-school children by setting
aside the ‘official’ data generated by the system and actually enumerating
children who are not attending school. The ball that was set rolling in
the late 1980s in the wake of the National Policy on Education (NPE) has
gained momentum in the last five years. Renewed efforts to make primary
education available to all children in the 6 to 14 age group have made
a difference in many areas of this vast and diverse country.
The important debate
on child labour and primary education in the mid-1980s and the scaling
up of a wide range of non-governmental initiatives, such as those to revitalise
and strengthen primary education in urban areas, has made a deep impact
on the discourse on primary education in the country.
This is not to say
that all is well and we are poised to achieve universal elementary education
in the next five years. What this signals is that, for the first time
in independent India, primary education is receiving some focused attention
by political leaders and administrators. The overall social and political
environment is positive. However, while a lot is happening and there is
intense debate on access, we still have a long way to go with respect
to learning achievements, social inequality and gender issues. All children
who enrol do not complete even five years; a significant proportion of
them go through schooling and learn very little. It is not uncommon to
come across children who have been to school but remain functionally illiterate.
Curriculum and pedagogic issues leave much to be desired. Motivation and
capabilities of teachers remain problem areas. And above all, there are
still a very large number of poor children – especially girls – living
in urban and rural areas who do not have access to quality education.
Researchers and commentators point out that (barring a few states in India)
it is the poor who go to government primary schools: those with even modest
means prefer to send their children to private schools. The economic divide
– particularly with respect to quality education – is getting wider. While
we have started grappling with the complexity of the problem, many systemic
issues continue to elude us.
It is widely accepted
that government should shoulder the primary responsibility for elementary
education, a view that is rarely debated in the dominant discourse on
basic education. The question is whether the government has the capacity
(financial, managerial and human resource) to organise/provide all the
backward and forward linkages that would make meaningful elementary education
a reality for those who are left out of the system. Even if physical access
is ensured, does the system have the capability to ensure good quality
education? Special programmes of the government have tried to reach out
to some sections of the population in some states of the country; but
by and large it is obvious that the government does not have the capacity
to work simultaneously on several fronts – access, quality and relevance.
There is growing public recognition that other players, such as educational
trusts/NGOs, citizens’ groups and corporate bodies, could make a difference
if given the space to do so. Unfortunately, the dominant and bureaucratic
style of functioning of most state and local governments leaves little
space for sustained inputs by non-governmental bodies. Despite enabling
constitutional provisions under the Panchayat Raj Act, local bodies do
not yet have the authority to set their own agenda, and plan and implement
educational programmes. The gap between the stated intentions of the government
and its actual practice continues to be wide.
A review of published
and unpublished research and documentation reports (especially reports
prepared under the aegis of foreign donor aided primary education projects
and the DPEP) makes apparent that while there is no shortage of ‘data’
per se, there is little systematic documentation of programmes that have
made significant impact on primary education. Mobilisation programmes
for out-of-school children, child labour projects and innumerable remedial
education and bridge courses have emerged in the last 10 years. Many of
them have made significant impact on the mainstream. There are pockets
where citizens’ groups, concerned individuals and NGOs have tried to harness
the support of corporate bodies, local business and the community to ensure
availability of basic social sector services – education, training, healthcare,
rural development, water and so on. In some areas, such external inputs
complement existing government programmes; in others, they have successfully
organised alternative channels. There is little documented information
on such initiatives and their potential for replicability in the education
This collection of
case studies is a small first step towards bridging the information gap
in primary education. It captures the different approaches adopted to
meet the primary education needs of out-of-school children and of children
who may be in school but are learning little or are potential dropouts.
Though it was difficult to make a representative selection from the staggering
range of educational programmes across the country, an attempt has been
made to choose programmes and projects that could not only be replicated,
but could influence the dominant discourse in primary education.
Backward and Forward Linkages
It is widely acknowledged
that a significant proportion of children (especially children from underprivileged
backgrounds and girls) either drop out before they reach class V or, even
if they continue to attend school, learn very little. This phenomenon
is far more pronounced among children from the most disadvantaged sections
of our society, most of whom rely on the government primary school system.
It is common knowledge that there is a wide gap in learning achievements
between government schools (rural and urban) and private/aided schools.
The experiences of
NGO projects, government programmes and other collaborative ventures reveal
that good quality bridge or condensed courses have been effective in encouraging
children to re-enter the formal stream. Similarly, remedial courses and
special learning camps/programmes have made a tremendous difference, not
just in preventing dropouts but also in improving the learning achievements
of children in school. Discussions with policy-makers, administrators
and education workers reveal that universalisation of elementary education
(UEE) would not be possible unless we address three important areas, namely:
pre-school education, remedial education and bridge programmes for children
who drop out or are unable to cope, and post-primary education. While
the importance of early childhood care and education (known in India as
ECCE) has been established beyond doubt, the same cannot be said for the
other two areas. It is in this context that education workers across the
country are talking about backward and forward linkages that strengthen
The active participation
of children in primary education hinges on a plethora of factors. Physical
access is just one dimension. Children do not attend school regularly,
and even if they do, they do not learn very much because of a range of
supply and demand issues. Let us begin with the systemic issues of access,
dysfunctional schools, motivation and commitment of teachers and quality
of schools. Once children reach school, a variety of factors determine
whether they will continue or drop out, whether and how much they will
learn and whether they will acquire the interest and the skills to pursue
formal education. If and when children do drop out due to poverty/migration,
rigid gender roles or other economic factors, the presence or absence
of programmes that enable them to get back into the formal system determines
whether or not they can get back to school. All these factors are mediated
in the larger context of social and gender relations in the community,
the employment situation in the area and the prevalence of child labour.
shown that the presence of a group of demoralised/disillusioned youngsters,
who may have either completed primary schooling or dropped out, who
are underemployed or have no employment or productive work, act as a
disincentive for education of other children in the family/community.
Younger children and their families see the writing on the wall – primary
education does not always improve the situation of the poor unless what
they learn is perceived as being relevant to their life situation. This
is particularly true when education does not lead to any material gain
(employment/self-employment), or for that matter even unquantifiable
value addition (nowadays called social capital). Increasing adolescent
crime, violence and general social unrest among the literate youth (or
educated youth if you like) further reinforces negative attitudes towards
the youth and towards education (especially if the cohort has completed
This phenomenon is
often referred to as the vacuum or suction effect, where absence of
identifiable role models among the educated youth leads to general disinterest
in the population towards formal education. Conversely, the presence
of strong role models and positive images among the educated youth acts
as a propelling force, encouraging the community to invest in the education
of their children. This phenomenon is particularly evident in urban
slums and among the lower middle-class. High dropout rates, urban violence,
crime, have all been well documented in the west. Investing in meaningful
education of the youth and giving them a reason to hope and opportunities
to develop as individuals and as a community ultimately influences the
value communities place on primary education.’1
These issues are
critical for elementary education. So far, policy-makers and education
administrators have been focusing on the formal school system and trying
to address the issue of physical access. Despite these efforts, there
is growing evidence of resistant groups/pockets/areas. Reaching out to
children on the margins has proved difficult. It is in this context that
‘backward and forward linkages’ are today seen as being essential to create
an environment where every child not only goes to school but also benefits
from schooling. The importance of acknowledging the significance of other
inputs, especially to establish the right of education and create educational
opportunities for child workers2 was driven home by the pioneering
work of M V Foundation in Andhra Pradesh.
When M V Foundation
started working with child workers and bonded children with the objective
of pulling them out of employment and bondage and enabling them to get
back into schools, it was confronted with a problem – slightly older children
were not happy joining class I! And, given their background, their educational
and counselling needs were not being met by the formal school system.
As a result, the foundation hit upon the idea of organising camps to facilitate
the children to catch up with their peer groups in formal schools. These
camps also served to help the children make the transition from work to
schooling and motivate their parents to acknowledge the right of every
child to basic education. The first ‘camp’ was organised in 1991. The
foundation was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and learning pace of the
children – most of them in the 9-15 age group. There was no turning back.
Today, M V Foundation runs a large number of bridge courses camps for
girls and two for boys.
Motivation to enrol
out-of-school children starts in the villages. The foundation runs small
motivation centres where child workers and other out-of-school children
are invited to come for a few hours. The motivators-teachers interact
with the families and talk to them about their dreams and aspirations.
They also dialogue with parents and elders in the family. Within a few
weeks, children in these centres are ready to go to the camp. Many boys
get so impatient that they refuse to wait for their parents’ permission
– they just run away and join the nearest camp. However, in the case of
girls, motivating the families takes a little longer. On reaching the
camp, the children first learn the ways of community living. They are
taught basic hygiene, personal grooming and, of course, made to feel that
as children, they have a right to enjoy childhood. Children are encouraged
to express their feelings through games, music and theatre – all essential
components of the camp.
Within a period of
6 to 18 months, children complete class VII. Since some children learn
more quickly than others, they are grouped according to their pace of
learning. The teachers, who are all trained by M V Foundation, live with
the children and interact with them all the time. While they adhere to
strict timings for classroom work, teaching and learning are round-the-clock
activities. As and when the children achieve class VII competency, they
are encouraged to take the entrance tests for residential schools or are
enrolled in the middle school near their village. A large number of children
from the camps have successfully cleared the entrance examinations conducted
by the government for enrolment into residential schools. Children and
their families are motivated to acknowledge the right of education of
every child and also recognise the inherent value of education. The government
of Andhra Pradesh has recently scaled up this approach in the DPEP districts
and made it an integral part of its strategy to reach out to out-of-school
While M V Foundation
has indeed inspired many organisations across the country, the question
before us is whether all children in schools are free from ‘labour’? How
do we come to grips with the heavy work burden of girls – before and after
school? What about children labouring during peak agricultural seasons
or artisan children who absent themselves during peak business season?
Obviously there are no simple answers to such complex situations and problems.
The ‘Appropriate Education Programme of The Concerned for Working Children’,
which attempted to address the issue through the eyes of children and
their families, is another trendsetter.
Let us unpack two
scenarios and analyse the impact on the ground.
– The starting point
is the conviction that all out-of-school children must be brought into
schools, thereby eradicating child labour.
– Emphasis on the responsibility of the state towards the fundamental
right of every child to basic (not just primary) education.
a campaign against child labour – in the media, at the policy level, with
the administration and the community. Declare products ‘child-labour free’,
especially those meant for export.
– Identify and institute
cases against people who employ children.
– Starting with contact centres in the village/wards,organisebridge courses
(transitional education programmes designed for a fixed duration) and
enable children to get back into the formal system.
– Lobby with the government to admit children from bridge courses into
primary, upper-primary, middle and senior schools and where possible into
– Declare villages ‘child-labour free’ and encourage the government and
the community to take pride in this achievement..
– The accent is on social mobilisation and educational access, coupled
with highlighting the duties and responsibilities of the government towards
primary education. Teachers and social activists focus on enrolling every
out-of-school child and leave the quality and achievement issue to the
education system. There is also no formal visibility or recognition of
work done by children before and after school (especially girls and those
from small peasant families) and seasonal agricultural and non-farm work.
They make efforts (at the policy and administrative level) to ensure children
are admitted at higher levels; but where the ratio of primary to middle
school and further to secondary schools is poor there is little they can
do after the primary stage. As their primary focus is eradication of child
labour, most of them they do not have the organisational capability to
take care of the educational needs of these ‘rescued’ children beyond
a point. They lobby with the government to take responsibility – right
up to the secondary education stage.
– Start by talking
to and gaining the confidence of the children and the community.
– Map the range of work that children are engaged in, both school-going
and out-of-school children.
– Mobilise and organise working children into a self-managed association/organisation.
Educate them (and their families) about their rights, enable them to map
the work children do and encourage them to set their own priorities for
– Simultaneously, work with teachers and the educational administration
to improve the quality of education and take a close look at what is happening
inside the school. How are children treated (girls, children from disadvantaged
groups, children in difficult circumstances)? What are children doing,
what are they learning and why do some of them drop out. In short, focus
on both the pull and push factors that affect children’s access to and
retention in schools.
– Children’s union/association to educate the community, set up a help-line
and interfaces with local administration and panchayat. Create awareness
about the rights of children (based on the convention on the rights of
the child), namely right to education, freedom from exploitation, hazardous
and non-hazardous work, shelter, nutrition and emotional and physical
well being of children.
–Older children are encouraged to talk about their future – training,
employment and self-employment opportunities and link education with future
– Children help-line to reach out to working children in distress, confront
(even register cases) and work with the government, panchayat and employers
to ensure the rights of children.
– Interface with panchayat, government schools and the administration
to address barriers and also constraints that prevent children’s realisation
of their rights, including education.
– Work with schoolteachers and the education department of the government
through training and pedagogic renewal to improve the quality of education
in existing schools – thereby preventing dropout.
– Over a period, villages covered under the programme declare that their
children go to school while acknowledging that their children do some
amount of work at home.
The focus is on empowering
children (and their families) with knowledge, confidence and a collective
strength to set priorities for action and help each other. Children discuss
and determine what work they can do and what kind of work is hazardous
to their growth and development. The net result is withdrawal of children
from full-time or hazardous work, while acknowledging the work they do
at home, in the farm, in family occupations and in supporting the family
during peak seasons. The quality, content and relevance of education are
brought centre-stage in this approach. Social mobilisation and community
awareness is achieved through the association of children.
What do the two approaches
have in common? Children who participate in both kinds of programmes emerge
as self-confident young men and women, carry themselves with great dignity
and are not afraid to speak their mind. Both approaches focus on building
the self-esteem of children. Theatre, music, games and a range of exposure
visits and excursions give children a chance to experience the joys of
childhood. The endpoint, at least in organisations working with rural
children, is the withdrawal of children from full-time work and enhanced
access to education. Strategies and priorities are no doubt different
as is the starting point. While one approach gives primacy to the duty
of the state to ensure that every child goes to school, the other emphasises
mobilising and empowering children under a child rights framework and
work towards improving the quality of schooling.
– M V Foundation of Andhra Pradesh and The Concerned for Working Children
of Karnataka – have in their own way been trailblazers and the larger
education community has a lot to learn from them.
The primary objective
of this set of case studies was to document and make available to a wide
audience, educational programmes that directly or indirectly influence
/ support / strengthen basic education. While our representation is admittedly
not exhaustive, the endeavour has been to cover the following types of
– Pre-school education;
– School preparedness camps and bridge courses;
– Meaningful access (not just physical access) – including relevance and
the quality of education; – Self-esteem and self-confidence building programmes
for children and youth from disadvantaged communities/areas;
– Making school a joyful experience and infusing meaning into educational
processes; in-school remedial courses that enhance learning and reduce
– Social mobilisation specifically targeted towards child workers;
– Accelerated educational programmes for out-of-school children and youth
that give older children an opportunity to complete primary education
and, where possible, enable them to either get back into the formal system
or help them acquire knowledge/skills; livelihood skills (skills for development),
life skills and holistic educational programmes.
Almost all the programmes
and projects covered here focus on girls, children from disadvantaged
communities in urban and rural areas and children in difficult circumstances,
viz, urban street children and the children of sex workers who constitute
particularly vulnerable groups. Unfortunately, the most glaring omission
in the selection are programmes for disabled children (urban and rural).
All the case studies
included here have tried to probe the hows’ of it — elements that can
be replicated – and problem areas. We hope this compilation will generate
greater societal interest in the backward and forward linkages necessary
in basic education and in positive initiatives with children and young
people. Acknowledging that children and young people are the real wealth
of any society is a first step in our effort to generate greater interest
in their education among the people in general and among business and
corporate bodies, voluntary organisations and, of course, the government
Children, Work and Education
in India is not compulsory; nor is child labour illegal. The result is
that a large proportion of our children between ages six and 14 are not
in school. They stay at home to care for younger siblings, tend cattle,
collect firewood, and work in the fields. They find employment in cottage
industries, tea-stalls, restaurants, or as domestics in middle class homes.
They become prostitutes or live as street children, begging or picking
rags and bottles from trash for resale. Many are bonded labourers, tending
cattle and working as agricultural labourers for local landowners.’3
There is, formally,
a widespread consensus about ending child labour and establishing compulsory
universal primary education for all children up to the age of 14, a commitment
that can be traced back to Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s efforts at the turn
of the last century. Yet, numerous commissions, reports, plans and experiments
notwithstanding, more than five decades after independence, the situation
remains dismal. Not only do many children never enter school, there are
many of those who do drop out before completing basic education. And scores
of children from the most deprived strata are or become part of the workforce.
Is this because,
formal protestations apart, Indian society and its elites have no meaningful
commitment to these principles? That, deep inside, they actually believe
that the children of the poor should work, not study? The spectrum of
arguments about poverty, about poor families needing the income of their
children, or even that work, particularly within the household, is part
of our culture and provides relevant skills to children would definitely
so suggest. As does the argument that formal education at the primary
level provides few meaningful real-life skills for poorer children.
It is a matter of
some concern that unlike the early years after independence, when the
‘rhetoric’ of both universalisation of elementary education and abolition
of child labour was strong, pragmatic considerations of the ‘difficulties’
of realising this societal goal have, over time, become more pronounced.
On the child labour front, demands for abolition have been tempered by
those of regulation, of putting an end to exploitative practices generally
even while banning child work in hazardous industry. And on the education
front, despite the Supreme Court’s recognition of education as a fundamental
right and the recent 93rd Constitutional Amendment that has just been
passed by the lower house of parliament (November 28, 2001) – no government
wants to talk of compulsion.
contentious debate, with child labour abolitionists occupying the radical
high ground and others pleading prudence, are widely varying perceptions
about the meanings of both work and education, the role of formal schooling
as an aid to learning, the pedagogic models of schooling, the notion of
childhood and so on. All available research on enrolment and dropouts
points to a wide variety of reasons behind the abysmal statistics, both
internal and external to schooling, which are far more important than
poverty as an explanatory variable. Clearly, hard-line legal action on
both the child labour and compulsory education fronts, while signalling
the state’s commitment to constitutional norms, is by itself insufficient
to improve the educational profile of our working children.
The set of case studies
the first section titled ‘Children, work and education’ starts with the
Appropriate Education Programme and Namma Bhoomi experiment of The Concerned
for Working Children (CWC), Karnataka; the Baljyothi programme in Hyderabad,
Andhra Pradesh; and the efforts of CINI ASHA in Kolkata, West Bengal and
CREDA in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh – present a spectrum of experiences
that might help in unravelling this contentious and complex debate. Representing,
as they do, not just an ideological diversity but also children from both
rural and urban backgrounds, these studies help us acquire a clearer appreciation
of what works, how well, and in what circumstances.
Education Programme of CWC works with government schools and extension
schools to improve quality and make education joyful and meaningful. Namma
Bhoomi, is a resource centre and residential school – part of the field
project of CWC at Kundapur in Udupi, Karnataka. As far back as 1985, CWC,
a Bangalore-based organisation, had made a distinction between ‘child
work’ which should be regulated and ‘exploitation of child work’ which
should be prohibited. It had also argued for government policy to protect
working children and make provision for their education. Without at any
level justifying child labour, CWC argued against stigmatising the situation
and advocated a long-haul strategy.
Namma Bhoomi as a
microcosm is an exemplar of this approach of non-judgmentally working
through the extant situation of working children in a rural environment,
conscientising them of their rights, involving both the community and
the administration to become child sensitive and supportive, and arranging
both educational and training inputs for children to help them cope with
life and earn a living.
As children in Namma
Bhoomi, a residential school, pointed out, most children work, whether
or not they are in school, often before and after school hours. The CWC
has not just organised them, including in a children’s panchayat, but
has helped them forge links for support. The school offers a one-year
vocational course in practical skills and those who have passed out are
encouraged to form groups, which can collectively bid for contracts. In
a region otherwise marked by high out-migration of male children in the
Udipi hotel business, the programme has succeeded in providing viable
alternatives to children.
The other three cases
discussed operate on a different premise and strategy, basing themselves
on social mobilisation against child labour and helping out-of-school
working children enter schools. Highlighting the rights of children and
the responsibility of parents towards their children, even more that of
the government, is crucial, if only because we as a nation are becoming
less sensitive to people at the margins, particularly the needs and aspirations
Taking its cue from
the work of M V Foundation, the Baljyothi programme in Hyderabad City
rejects the official definition of child labour and seeks to bring all
children in the age group five-14 into schools. It sees this as the only
way to abolish child labour. The strategy is to mobilise communities and
create the circumstances, environment and infrastructure to enable all
children to access schooling. Incidentally, Baljyothi firmly rejects non-formal
The programme represents
an active partnership between an NGO, ‘Pratyamnya’, and the administration.
After an exhaustive survey of all slums and ‘bastis’ in the city, the
project has in the last five years started over 250 schools, each with
50 children, all of which are located in the bastis. Using a variety of
strategies – bridge courses, neighbourhood schools, contact centres for
domestic workers and street children and adding parateachers to existing
government schools to help interface with the community – to bring children,
especially girls, into schools, Baljyothi runs regular classes from 9
a m to 3.30 p m using the same curricula as government schools. The aim
is mainstreaming. In addition, children without family homes are helped
into social welfare hostels.
The key actor in
this strategy is the teacher with the support of the community and the
backing of the government. The programme has been successful in demonstrating
that parents, communities and children value education, that potential
income loss is no major deterrent and that schooling can work as a strategy
against further creation of child labour. It does, however, need stressing
that not enough has so far been done to improve the quality of schooling.
CINI ASHA in Kolkata
works on similar principles, though in a far more difficult environment,
focusing as it does on street children, those living on railway platforms,
and children of sex workers in addition to those in slums and squatter
settlements. While the aim, like in Hyderabad, is to help children – working
and non-working – from disprivileged and difficult backgrounds join regular,
mainstream schools, the programme has had to initiate many activities
just to win the children’s trust and help them face their everyday problems
before weaning them into learning.
Be it contact or
drop-in centres, night shelters, residential camps, health programmes,
hostels for children with nowhere to go – with the help of local communities,
other NGOs and municipal authorities, the programme has successfully created
an environment where these children are not seen as a menace. Having gained
the children’s confidence, CINI ASHA runs bridge courses, coaching centres,
residential camps and so on in addition to working with regular schoolteachers
and authorities such that when the children are ready to join regular
school they do not face a hostile environment. Like Baljyothi, the courses
are the same as those followed in regular schools. And while there is
considerable stress on theatre and cultural activities – the aim is never
To have been successful
with ‘difficult children’ does require extraordinary empathy and motivation.
Clearly, the highly developed culture of locality organisations and clubs
help because they ensure community support and goodwill. It also shows
the need to be flexible, intervene at every level and rely on cooperation
rather than confrontation as a strategy. Equally important is to design
group specific programmes and strategies given the wide diversity of the
The final case study
relates to ‘CREDA’ in Mirzapur, location of the infamous carpet belt with
a huge number of working children, including bonded children. Unlike the
other states, eastern UP also suffers from an overall educational disability.
Nevertheless, over the last two decades, starting from social mobilisation
and campaigns against child labour, CREDA has been able to involve the
community, explain the importance of schooling and run special schools,
mainly community based, to provide an accelerated learning environment
to children at the primary levels and help them join regular schools.
and CINI ASHA, CREDA works under the overall framework of the non-formal
education programme of the government of Uttar Pradesh – with the objective
of mainstreaming the children after class V. The focus is on basic literacy
and numeracy (along the lines of the prescribed syllabi of the government).
It is reported that all the children who take the class V non-formal examination
are declared successful. Given this context, quality of education and
what children learn is not given adequate attention. Classroom instruction
is supplemented by a rich cultural repertoire to sensitise the child to
issues of child labour, bonded labour, rights and poverty. There is a
healthy linkage with the formal system, as the project is positioned as
being complementary rather than competitive. Though CREDA has enjoyed
significant success in pulling children out of labour and into schools,
the children who graduate from CREDA centres face difficulties because
of inadequate training and preparation for further education. Worse, there
is little attention paid to what these children might do in later life.
Overall, these four
cases demonstrate the need to tie up both backward and forward linkages
if one is to address the vexed questions of enrolment and retention. There
is little doubt that education is valued, that poverty of family does
not act as a significant deterrent, and that though many children do continue
to work before and after school, their labour intensity does go down once
they get into schooling. Equally, irrespective of one’s ideological view
on child labour, effective strategies demand suspending judgment and confrontation.
Finally, if working children are to be attracted to schools and education,
much greater attention needs to be given to issues of content and relevance.
Making Schools Joyful
More than a quarter
century back, educationist J P Naik pointed to the elusive triangle of
Indian education – the paradox of equality, quality and quantity. Traditional
educational institutions, mainly ‘pathshalas’ and ‘madrasas’, were not
only few in number, they provided mainly religious instruction and were
accessible only to a small minority, those coming from the better-off
sections and upper castes. The introduction of modern education under
the aegis of the British, while undoubtedly expanding the system, did
little to shake the inequitable nature of the educational enterprise.
If anything, it deepened social inequality by incorporating children of
the emergent middle classes while successfully keeping the rest out.
Fifty years post-independence
the overall situation remains deeply unsatisfactory. Despite close to
95 per cent of all children theoretically enjoying access to a primary
school within a kilometre radius, both enrolment and retention remain
continuing problems. Non-availability of schools accounts for 10 per cent
of our schoolchildren in rural areas and 8 per cent in urban areas – the
differences between the sexes being small in rural areas and higher in
urban locations. Be it lack of interest, the need to participate in household
or economic chores, or just the non-availability of schools – all these
contribute to limiting access. Even more distressing are the barriers
created by non-functioning or poor quality primary schools in areas where
they are most needed.
The District Primary
Education Programme launched by the government in 1994 was expected to
tackle dysfunctional schools and quality in a systematic manner. Though
the mid-term learning assessment survey in DPEP districts (1997) did indicate
significant improvement in language and mathematics, the achievements
of children from disadvantaged communities and backgrounds remain far
lower than those from other sections of society. Clearly, the teaching-learning
processes in mainstream schools, despite efforts at reform, have proven
inadequate in improving effectiveness. It is a little surprise that children
who go through a few years of schooling without learning very much, tend
to drop out. With opportunity costs, particularly for poorer children
remaining high, families are prone to pull them out.
free, providing textbooks and uniforms, and making provision for midday
meals does help, but only where such schemes are implemented at a socially
significant scale. Yet, by themselves, they are insufficient to attract
those facing other social and economic barriers that prevent them both
from attending school and staying on. It is also clear that unless significant
reforms are brought into mainstream government schools, we will be unable
to make a dent. Experimental and alternative schools run by voluntary
agencies – and these are legion – do provide key lessons. But unless there
is a simultaneous process of mainstreaming, these efforts will continue
to languish at the margins.
Amongst those who
face extreme difficulty in accessing schooling are children of urban slum
dwellers and migrants. Even when their parents value education and go
to some lengths to admit children to schools, they find private schools
(even if government aided and not charging tuition fees) beyond their
reach. As for municipal schools, they are widely seen as boring, unattractive,
marked by ineffective teaching-learning – in other words, as being ‘good
only for the poor’. The first case study in this section presents the
work of Pratham, an NGO that has done stellar work with municipal schools
in Mumbai. Its emphasis, throughout, has been on strengthening the capabilities
of government schools as also on helping children cope with the burdens
of learning. Pratham also realised early on that a uniform strategy would
not suit all children in scattered slums.
Pratham has chosen
to be a supporter rather than a critic of the government, operating on
the premise that since education is a state subject, it is the state that
should be held accountable. Intervention ought to be directed at reform
and improvement through consultation and participation of all involved
parties rather than on designing alternative or parallel systems. Since
revitalisation of the government system requires both financial and human
resources, Pratham has sought to forge a triangular relationship between
community, government and corporate donors. Municipal teachers, corporate
sector personnel, NGOs, social workers and academics have been brought
together in a partnership to rejuvenate the school and help the child.
Starting with community
based balwadis which function both as playschools and creches to create
an environment permeated with the intent to learn, Pratham has gone on
to introduce a cadre of balsakhis (friends of the children), work on teacher
training and initiate bridge courses to prepare children to join regular
schools. Both enrolled and non-enrolled children are helped to improve
their capabilities and their progress is regularly tracked, all through
involving both the municipal teacher and the community to ensure that
the child does not drop out.
Over the last seven
years, Pratham, Mumbai has managed to involve over 5,000 people, run 2,800
balwadis and 350 study centres, and conduct over 500 bridge courses affecting
over 100,000 children in all municipal wards. The programme has now spawned
an India-Education Initiative that has spread to many cities in different
states. In brief, it has become a societal mission.
‘Nali Kali in Mysore’
district of Karnataka represents another effort to revitalise primary
education by working with and training government teachers in child-centred,
activity-based and participatory teaching such that the school represents
a joyful environment. Starting in 1992, with a workshop of teachers to
analyse the ills in the system and what could be done to improve quality,
the teachers were sent on a study tour to the Rishi Valley satellite schools.
Over the years, with constant nurturing and support from educational administrators
and pedagogic inputs from experts and social activists, the teachers have
designed new curricula and textbooks and evolved new teaching-learning
and evaluation methods for all classes at the primary level. While working
within the parameters of the official system, they have learnt to renegotiate
the minimum level of learning requirements, view the curriculum as a continuum
from Class I to IV rather than as compartmentalised into classes and subjects,
and have experimented with new notions of classroom discipline and management.
The key principle
is to work with children at the centre and proceed at their pace while
nurturing their self-esteem. Second, the government teacher is trusted
and helped to be creative and innovative. Third, the school is seen as
a centre for exploration, learning and joy, not discipline and order.
Finally, the supervisory system has been transformed from an inspectorate
to friend and facilitator.
Even though the Nali
Kali system demands much more effort from teachers without offering any
additional remuneration, it has been a success. In an overall situation
marked by teacher intransigence and hostility, with teacher unions often
holding educational programmes to ransom, this experiment has not only
improved retention and quality, but because it is embedded in the system,
theoretically promises sustainability – provided the system of teacher
management remains sensitive.
The final case study
presents an alternative, experimental venture called ‘Digantar’ in Jaipur,
Rajasthan, which over the last two decades has made significant interventions
in the philosophy of elementary education. Inspired by David Horsburgh’s
teaching methods, Digantar began as a small experimental school in 1978.
Working primarily with neighbourhood children from the economically deprived
strata, Digantar tried to establish such principles as that real learning
does not arise from compulsion; that since the children are free to come
and go as they please, it is the responsibility of the teacher to motivate
the child; that the teacher and the child are simultaneous learners; and
that cooperation rather than mutual competition has to be a primal value.
The stress, all along, is on the growth of the child who proceeds at his/her
own pace. Since many of these children were themselves working, a significant
emphasis was on practical activities, not to teach a skill, but to help
them get a grip on different dimensions of life. There was no attendance
record, no uniform, no syllabus.
A decade later, while
continuing with its own schools, Digantar expanded its activities into
domains of research and training with the intention of influencing other
efforts and larger scale educational programmes. Over the years, Digantar
has developed new curricula and pedagogic tools in the areas of language,
mathematics, environmental studies, arts and handicraftswith a view to
shaping general abilities and attitudes. All its schools are run with
the help of the community, which values these ‘alternative’ efforts. The
organisation is now involved with other efforts, both within the state
Unlike the Pratham
and Nali Kali experiments that, while influencing curriculum and pedagogy,
consciously opted to work within the constraints of the official system
in an effort to influence scale, Digantar has chosen to be small, different
and alternative. If, despite this ‘exclusivity’, it has found acceptance
in larger, more formal efforts, both government and non-government, it
is because it strives for excellence and ‘success’ in promoting an environmentally
sensitive, child-centred mutual learning (not teaching) process. Its work
in languages, mathematics and environmental education has influenced others
into making their systems flexible and joyful.
All three cases,
at varying levels, demonstrate the importance of the school environment
and the need to factor in the world of the child. Equally, they demonstrate
that reform is possible without huge reliance on funds and material infrastructure
or waiting for larger systemic changes before intervening in the educational
process. Of course, they simultaneously underscore the importance of the
teacher, the need for constant community involvement and participation,
and the spin-offs of effective networking. True, all this also demands
an order of sensitivity and nurturing from the officialdom. But then,
unless elementary education is seen as a societal mission, our schools
will neither attract or retain children, nor help them to learn.
Whatever the purported
successes of Indian education throughout the last 50 years and earlier
when the country embarked on modern education and, grudgingly or otherwise,
accepted universalisation of elementary education as a societal goal,
there have been a strata of children who have persistently escaped the
net of schooling. The preliminary results from the latest 2001 Census,
several national sample surveys, as also DPEP baseline studies have attempted
to estimate the extent of non-participation in primary schools. It has
to be unfortunately admitted that dozens of programmes and experiments
notwithstanding, these estimates range from a low of 61 million [NFHS
1993-94] or 77 million [NSS 1993-94] to a high of 89.64 million children
Close to two-thirds
of these are girls with, of course, significant variations by region,
caste, tribe and community. Kerala and Himachal Pradesh represent major
success stories, managing near universal participation, while the BIMARU
belt lags far behind. And though, as a result of specific focus programmes
for the girl child, the growth rates in enrolment for girls have dramatically
improved, being double that for boys in the primary stages (classes I
to V) and even higher in the middle stages (classes VI to VIII), the situation
Equally, if not more
troubling is the situation of children from SC and ST communities. Many
of these communities are not only poor; they face a range of social exclusions
that keep them out of all publicly provided services, including education.
Journalist P Sainath’s reports show that across the country, even in progressive
states like Kerala, communities once classified as untouchable continue
to face formidable barriers to entry. This situation of forced exclusion
is compounded by widespread low self-esteem as also a fear of exercising
entitlement claims in the affected communities. The situation is far worse
when we look at migrant communities, those once classified as criminal
tribes and so on. Clearly, the segregated settlement pattern in most of
our villages, with houses of the deprived located on the margins of the
village – often replicated in urban slum settlements and shanty towns
– adds to the difficulty of access.
Just adding more
schools and teachers, even in the settlements of communities marked by
low school participation, is insufficient since courses, language of instruction
and pedagogic methods are more designed to suit children from a relatively
higher class and caste strata. To break this vicious cycle, educational
interventions not only need to be internally innovative, but also to attack
the entrenched social discrimination that keeps specific groups and communities
away from education. Unfortunately, large programmes, given their tendency
to foreground homogeneity as also the ideology of national integration
that insists that everyone should be treated similarly despite differences,
invariably fail to design context-specific interventions. Let us not forget
that the attempt by the Lok Jumbish programme in Rajasthan to work through
madrasas and maulvis in the educationally deprived meo community areas
was accused of fostering separatism.
The set of case studies
in this section describe efforts, both voluntary and governmental, to
address this problem. All the examples chosen are rural, partly because
the intensity of social barriers is highest in pockets distanced from
the mainstream; and partly because lack of proximity to centres of political
power and visibility compound problems of low infrastructure and personnel.
The ‘Agragamee’ experiment
with tribal children in districts of western Orissa clearly demonstrates
that in a region where schools and teachers either do not exist, or are
only sporadically present, the only way forward is to work with the communities
directly, base educational efforts on their culture, lifestyles and language,
be sensitive to their work and livelihood requirements and train teachers
from the region and communities who will be trusted. Since education in
such situations is rarely the highest priority, the intervention has to
simultaneously address other problems of livelihood and survival.
Agragamee works with
a concept of the school fully integrated with the wider community’s struggle
for survival and dignity. They thus combine general awareness and empowerment
activities with schemes of watershed development, food security through
grain banks and other income generating activities. The educational programme
is non-formal, involving both children and adults, the timings are flexible,
the teachers are drawn from the local youth, community participation is
central, everyday experience is woven into the curriculum with the boundaries
deliberately blurred between school and life, and the focus remains directed
at self-awareness and respect, organisation and empowerment. In brief,
Agragamee NFE centres are as much sites for political education as conventional
the focus on political empowerment work where school participants are
as involved with running and managing grain banks as in agitations against
moneylenders, forest officials and, of late, mining conglomerates, neither
endears the organisation to authorities nor does it necessarily demonstrate
good results in an academic sense. Nevertheless, the schools, supported
both by government and private co-financing agencies, are trusted, owned
up by the community and seen as valuable.
Despite this, both
through its NFE programme and innovative education centres, Agragamee
has been able to work with children in nearly 300 sites. It brings together
children in festivals, organises exposure trips and nature camps, has
developed new primers, experimented with language teaching and demonstrated
the importance of child-to-child learning. Apart from increasing general
awareness, including about tribal rights, it has also been able to impact
the formal school system, with an increasing number of tribal children
now joining formal, mainstream schools.
As part of the larger
‘Lok Jumbish’ programme, ‘Muktangan’ in Rajasthan has shown how one can
work with tribes that have little prior exposure to education. The work
is concentrated on members of the sahariya tribe in Kishanganj block –
an area marked by high land inequity. The Sahariyas are not only landless
and socially ostracised, their settlements have no access to electricity
and, often, even potable drinking water. Though the government had set
up 14 schools in this cluster of 24 villages, the schools were all dysfunctional
and without teachers.
Instead of working
with and strengthening government schools, it was decided to work through
specially trained teachers, all from outside the region and community,
given the complete absence of educationally qualified sahariyas. Starting
with intensive teacher training Muktangan has, over the years, been able
to set up 17 schools in villages where either the formal school was dysfunctional
or there was no school at all but at least 40 children in the 5 to 14
The process involves
interacting both with the community and other NGOs working in education
to design basic materials for both teacher training and child learning.
Training ‘muktaks’ (teachers) to be socially and environmentally sensitive
and work in such a manner as to overcome prejudices of caste, tribe and
gender remains a central focus.
It is unfortunate
that given the changes in the political environment, as also the fact
that the Muktangan experiment did not easily fit any pre-existing mould
(viz, teacher payment), Muktangan has faced declining official support.
Larger programmes, particularly of the government, demand rapid results
without appreciating the difficulties (and costs) of working with educationally
deprived and isolated communities. The fact that in a few short years
some children have reached class IV and V, or that in the banjara (a nomadic
tribe) cluster all relevant age children are today attending school, should
have been seen as validation enough. Unfortunately, it appears that training
teachers to be sensitive is not enough; there is need to sensitise educational
planners as well.
The final case study
draws on the experience of the DPEP Hardoi (UP), in particular its effort
at enhancing girls’ participation in primary education. This in a state
where not only is the overall situation of education depressing, but where
gender differentials are marked can be crucial for future planning. Mobilising
the communities and reorienting existing structures to be more sensitive
to the educational needs of girl children is imperative if states like
Uttar Pradesh have to make a social breakthrough.
The DPEP Hardoi strategy
involves a mix of policy changes – making girls’ education free up to
the graduation level; eschewing detention up to Class II; appointing gender
coordinators for all DPEP districts; focusing on community mobilisation
and support through campaigns; sensitising village education committees,
activising mother-teacher associations and linking up with women’s groups
in a cluster approach; altering school environment through hiring more
trained women teachers while reworking textbooks to make them gender sensitive;
and finally, adding to incentive and support schemes. The overall strategy
is to cluster all these efforts – which focus on girls and education –
in a region and ensure coordination for effectiveness.
Sounds good. But
does it make a difference? Unfortunately, though the trends are positive,
it is much too early to make any definitive statements. Nevertheless,
Hardoi does demonstrate a shift in commitment for the better.
Education, even in
societies with a long history of sustained engagement, requires constant
reinvention to remain meaningful and joyful. In societies and contexts
such as ours, efforts to break through social barriers are much more demanding.
It is still insufficiently realised that no broad-brush, uniform strategy
will or can work, more so when confronted with deep social prejudices,
low self-esteem and indifferent state commitment. If we are at all serious
about eliminating pockets of non-schooling and living up to the constitutional
directives of universal elementary education, our programmes and schemes
(and this means decision-makers) have to both invest more resources while
simultaneously being open to multiple, context-specific modes of meeting
the objectives. It is likely that these difficult pockets will cost more,
will demand more effort and time, and will for some time produce results
that may appear unsatisfactory. But without patience and endurance there
is no fruit. Hopefully these efforts will help convince others that the
effort is worthwhile.
One common shortcoming
in extant documentation of innovations is the near absence of data on
learning achievements, transition from one stage to another and completion
of each level of education. Stories and narratives of processes, life
histories and other qualitative profiles undoubtedly add to our understanding
of the texture. But in the absence of quantitative information on children’s
participation, transition and learning achievements, educational planners
argue that we cannot conclusively say whether or not a particular model
works. Most special programmes – in both the government and the NGO sector
– are weak on quantitative data. It is therefore difficult to make any
definitive statement about impact and efforts to do so remain anecdotal.
Is there any value in process documentation of the kind attempted in this
selection? The 10 case studies reveal that notwithstanding the paucity
of ‘hard data’, documentation of different practices expands our knowledge
pool and generates informed debate on alternative strategies and approaches.
Over the last 20
years the debate on value education has taken on a distinctly partisan
hue. Basic values like rights, equality and citizenship – that are not
only enshrined in our Constitution but form the essence of a democracy
– have been lost in the din of religious and communal discourse. Moving
from a rigidly hierarchical and didactic mode to a more participatory
and decentralised one is perhaps a precondition for nurturing democratic
values. It must be pointed out here that it is not only the children who
are affected: teachers have little autonomy to respond to emerging needs,
trainers who work with teachers are alienated from actual teaching, the
supervisors are busy counting children and supplies, the district administrators
only follow orders, and even the state government officers have little
autonomy to steer educational programmes. Who calls the shots? Why is
reform so difficult? Why has the system become rigid and inflexible? Some
efforts were no doubt made in special educational projects, including
DPEP, to enable people at different levels to feel that they are in charge.
Possibly that is why Nali Kali happened. Plurality is really not only
the essence of quality; it is also our only safeguard against the juggernaut
of mediocrity. With greater space and freedom, basic democratic values
may find their way into the school system and we may see more makkala
panchayats and children’s parliaments.
child labour and making formal schools accessible to erstwhile child workers
have been quite effective in achieving their stated goal. However, it
has been observed that such programmes have rarely addressed the quality
issue – what are children learning, how much are they learning, what is
the content of education and so on. Protagonists of this approach argue
that it is the responsibility of the government to set the agenda for
good quality primary education. On the other hand, people engaged in the
quality and meaningful access debate argue that it is not enough to push
children into school without working towards improving the quality and
relevance of education. Unfortunately, large-scale, non-formal education
and alternative schools with parateachers are more concerned with physical
access. Investment in improving the capacity/calibre of teachers and organising
continuous educational resource support and pedagogic renewal has taken
a back seat. This brings us to the age-old maxim of maintaining a balance
between scale and quality – isn’t it essential to ensure basic quality
standards when we go to scale?
children participating in special programmes reveal that unless we are
willing to invest in quality, children are not likely to be equipped to
compete with the better-off sections of society. The academic rigour,
time and environment necessary for children to move from primary to secondary
to professional education are still beyond the reach of poor children.
At best, most programmes for the poor go up to the secondary level. Even
vocational education and training in livelihood skills are beyond their
reach. The forward linkages necessary to make primary education a means
to livelihood security are yet to be created. Creating exit points at
different stages – especially between classes VIII and XII, would enable
children to move on to livelihood and life skills oriented programmes.
Most elementary educational programmes do not take a long-term view and
plan ahead. Grappling with issues of quality and relevance would perhaps
be a first step towards any long-term educational planning. We are still
negotiating the early stages.
Innovations and experiments
have an intrinsic value – they contribute to our knowledge pool and enhance
our understanding of systems and processes. However, most people also
recognise that fundamental changes are called for in the way primary education
is positioned and administered in India. It is here that the impact of
pilots and innovations on mainstream educational thought and theory is
important. Unfortunately, the system as it operates currently affords
little scope for change. The people in charge of educational planning,
research and training institutions of the government – i e, the think
tanks – are not engaged any discussion or debate on alternatives; those
who are, have little or no influence on mainstream institutions and systems.
Nali Kali and the Model Cluster Development Approach – both embedded in
DPEP – are rare exceptions. Questions about their sustainability beyond
the tenure of the pioneers, however, remain.
Scanning the canvas
of development action, especially in primary education, it is disturbing
to note that most innovations are fragile – long-term sustainability and
growth remains critical problems. The larger operating environment of
most innovative programmes in both government and the voluntary sectors
continues to be uncertain. Changing political priorities, change in leadership
and changing priorities among donors – all these affect sustainability.
The recent experience of a large-scale government programme, Rajasthan
Lok Jumbish, is a case in point. While plurality and innovations are no
doubt important, we need to build up momentum to sustain and expand the
quality circle. Most organisations working in the area of primary education
are not part of any national network that could lobby on their behalf.
A question that vexes
most special programmes is that of ownership. It is instructive to learn
that the Mumbai Municipal Corporation looks at the Pratham initiated inputs
as its own programme – there is little of the ‘us and them’ divide. Information
about the programme, financial assistance and human resource inputs, is
freely available and transparent. Similarly, the Appropriate Education
Programme of the Concerned for Working Children works in collaboration
with the formal system. It is not someone else’s programme, but their
own programme – and here we see the spirit of ownership emanating from
the parents and community leaders. Bhima Sangha, Makkala panchayat and
the educational inputs into the formal school are seen as being part of
one continuum. The ‘us and them’ divide is not apparent.
At another level,
the question of ownership takes on a different hue with respect to the
government. While a number of central and state government senior officials
appreciate innovations and experiments – the ‘system’ continues to perceive
them as exceptions, initiated by exceptional people and therefore not
replicable. Far from being accepted as legitimate strategies, lessons
drawn from these innovations are not even debated in the mainstream, either
in terms of pedagogic renewal or teacher motivation and training. A case
in point is a recent publication on mainstreaming gender issues in DPEP.
While the publication lists, describes and celebrates a range of exciting
and effective strategies, these ‘successes’ have remained small initiatives
in a limited number of villages or schools. They are displayed with great
pride and a sense of having ‘mainstreamed’ gender concerns. The main system
and majority of schools continue to function as they always did.
The preliminary results
of the Census of India 2001 reveal that 65.4 per cent people (75.85 per
cent among men and 54.16 among women) are now literate. Population growth
rate has slowed down to an annual average of 1.95 per cent4
(being 2.16 per cent in the decade of the 1980s); the sex ratio has recorded
a small improvement and now stands at 933 (women per 1,000 men) in comparison
to 927 in the 1991 Census. However, what is disturbing is that the sex
ratio in the 0-6 age group has fallen sharply to 927 in 2001 Census in
comparison to 945 in 1991. We have been informed that literacy rates have
improved everywhere and that improvement has been particularly rapid in
Rajasthan, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. This all-India picture of optimism
does not hold good for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the increase in literacy
rates is modest. Population growth rates have also recorded an increase
in Bihar and Haryana. Similarly, while the national all-age sex ratio
has increased in most areas, the situation has worsened in Himachal Pradesh,
Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and New Delhi. It is alarming to note that in
Himachal Pradesh, while the literacy level has gone up and almost 98 per
cent of children in the school-going age are enrolled and attending school,5
the sex ratio has declined from 976 in 1991 to 970 in 2001.6
do not reveal the full picture. The 2001 headcount has generated a debate
on the interlinkages between women’s status, education, literacy and economic
development. There are no easy answers and no one-to-one correlation.
Sex ratios are rapidly declining in prosperous regions where most of the
children go to primary school. Many more girls are being pulled out of
school in Tamil Nadu and Andhra – especially after class VI or VII – to
work as wage labour in farms (picking cotton or vegetables) and in family
enterprises. Economic prosperity has improved educational access, especially
for girls in not-so-poor and middle-income families. But the situation
of girls from poor ‘below-the-poverty-line’ households is a cause for
concern. Documentation and dissemination of experiences to a wider audience,
in a language that is not too academic or formal, could trigger some debate
in the media and among ordinary citizens of the country. Education of
children is both a sensitive and important issue – and it is time people
took a long and hard look at the content, process and the overall value
base of our educational system.
It is with this hope
that this modest effort has been initiated.
Address for correspondence:
is an overview of a collection of 10 case studies on backward and forward
linkages that strengthen primary education. This research (supported by
DFID, India) was completed in March 2001. This collection, titled ‘Getting
Children Back to School: Case Studies in Primary Education’ will be published
by Sage Publications India in 2003.]
1 Vimala Ramachandran
(1999) ‘The Visible but Unreached’, Seminar, February, New Delhi.
2 M V Foundation argues that all out-of-school children should be treated
– by definition - as child workers and strategies to eliminate child labour
are inextricably linked to ensuring that every child goes to school.
3 Myron Weiner (1991) The Child and the State in India – Child Labour
and Education Policy in Comparative Perspective, Oxford University
Press. Delhi,Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
4 During the decade of 1991-2001, the lowest growth rate was recorded
in Kerala at 9.42 per cent followed by Tamil Nadu at 11.19 per cent and
Andhra Pradesh at 11.36 per cent.
5 The Gross Enrolment Ratio is 115 (boys 115 and girls 114), it is 116
for SC students (116 SC boys and 115 SC girls) and it is 112 for ST (112
for ST boys and 111 for ST girls). The NER (1999-2000) for boys and girls
is 97 per cent. Government of Himachal Pradesh, DPEP Project Progress
Report for 12th Joint Review Mission, November 1999.
6 Wednesday March 28, 2001; C Rammanohar Reddy, ‘Puzzling Patterns in
Census 2001’, The Hindu, Chennai.