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EFA STRATEGY IN 1990s

The goals of EFA in the country are to be viewed in relation to the stage of educational development that obtained in 1990 - the year of World Declaration on EFA. By then, fairly large expansion of primary schooling and the teaching force had already taken place in all parts of the country. Other sectors of education like adult education and non-formal education had also developed fairly well. Therefore, the main challenges in education in 1990s related to EFA have been the following:

All goals and targets of EFA to be fulfilled in 1990s have to be assessed in terms of the nature of the programmes, the degree to which they have led to achievement of the goals of EFA, and the promise they hold for making the processes and supportive structures sustainable. Thus, when EFA programmes were implemented in 1990s, a new framework for development of basic education in the country was emerging which had the following broad features.

Holistic Approach

The approach adopted for planning and implementation of EFA programmes is characterised by:

Decentralisation

Decentralisation has been one of the major strategies for designing different programmes for EFA and implementing them. Operationally, this can be characterized in terms of:

Improved Access for the Deprived Sections

Though the figures reflect a tremendous expansion of basic educational facilities, it is recognized that some remotely placed areas and several social and cultural groups still remain outside the fold of basic education. Therefore, in order to ensure full accessibility not only in terms of availability of school but also in terms of facilitating conditions for participation of children, the strategy adopted for EFA involve the following:

Advocacy, Campaign Approach and Mission Mode

It is recognized that mobilizing civil society to participate in the programmes of basic education is essential for achieving the goals of EFA. It is with this perspective that major efforts are being made to use all means including mass media for advocacy and promotion of EFA activities. Further, in order to reach the common stakeholders, mass campaigns have been launched for creating awareness about educational needs of children, youth and adults, and help them to develop proper appreciation of the role of education in improving the quality of life. It is also evident that programmes in basic education have to be implemented in a mission mode involving the community in an effective manner through mechanisms such as District Literacy Committees, Village Education Committees and Parent-Teacher Associations. Literacy campaigns have made big strides in this direction and efforts are on to implement other basic education programmes in a mission mode.

Legislative Measures

A significant change in the perspective towards basic education is that it is not viewed merely as a service provided by the state but as a right of every individual. The Supreme Court of India has recognized education as a fundamental right flowing from the right to life and liberty. It is with this in view that attempts are being made to incorporate education as a fundamental right of all children upto 14 years of age in the Indian Constitution so that participation in education by all children becomes obligatory for the state as well as the parents as a legal requirement. Several state governments are moving forward with new legislation in this regard. For instance, the State of Tamil Nadu has enacted afresh legislation for providing free and compulsory primary education.

Community Participation

Participation by all members of the community in basic education is considered as the main plank on which the whole effort towards EFA is to be orchestrated. Several strategies such as school mapping and micro planning are being adopted to ensure participation of people in bringing all children to school and to articulate their demand for improved school services. Community participation is also seen as an essential prerequisite for ensuring long term sustainability of the initiatives. It is with this in view that Andhra Pradesh Government has passed an Act providing for School Management Committees with community participation for overseeing the functioning of schools.

Participation of NGOs

Though considerable progress has been achieved in recent years, the magnitude of the task ahead is so gigantic that government alone cannot achieve the goal of EFA. Recognizing this, participation of non-government organizations (NGOs) and voluntary agencies has been given an important place in the implementation of basic education programmes. It is envisaged that involvement of NGOs will on the one hand, enlarge the network of agencies and individuals for implementation of basic education programmes and on the other hand, it will bring greater flexibility and innovation into basic education programmes.

Increasing Financial Support

It is visualized that quality programmes of EFA will cost more money than what has been available to the education sector in the past. Programmes of educational development, especially basic education, are therefore being planned keeping the expectation that larger allocations to education would be available in future. The Government stands committed to raise the allocation to education to 6 percent of GDP as recommended in various national policy documents. Receiving international assistance for basic education is seen as part of the larger effort to mobilize more resources for education.

EFA DECISION MAKING AND MANAGEMENT

As already pointed out, basic education in India is a shared responsibility of the central and state governments. Decision making for EFA is, therefore, done at both the levels. Central government essentially deals with national policy and programme formulation as guided by the Central Advisory Board of Education, Parliament and expert committee and commissions. Within the framework and guidance provided by these bodies, long term plans for education development are drawn by the Planning Commission with the help of specialized working groups involving educationists, educational administrators and representatives of NGOs. Keeping in view the parameters specified in the long-term (five year cycle) plans, specific programmes and projects are formulated for central funding to states usually on a matching basis.

Following the National Policy on Education - 1986, a number of centrally sponsored schemes to strengthen basic education were initiated through mutual consultation among the central government and the various state governments. The scope of such specific programmes got further enhanced during the 90’s with the availability of external assistance for area-based basic education projects. In addition to these, some of the states have also launched their own programmes for expanding the outreach of primary education. The last decade has witnessed the emergence of a variety of models management of basic education, mainly with the aim of decentralizing decision making, promoting community participation and rigorous monitoring of programme implementation. As was mentioned earlier, management of school education is essentially a subject with the state governments. In order to simplify and accelerate the process of decision making autonomous bodies with espertise, delegated authority and representation of civil society have been created for management different projects/programmes. Some of these are as follows.

District Literacy Societies: Launching of literacy campaigns demanded a decentralized arrangement for mobilizing people within a district, involving local volunteers, and evolving locally relevant strategies. With this in view, the National Literacy Mission promoted the setting up of autonomous committees in each district involving administrators, local activists and NGOs. The district literacy committees (DLC) are vested with powers to decide on the course of action with respect to literacy and continuing education. The DLCs receive funds directly from the NLM as well as state governments and utilise the money within the broad parameters set by the NLM.

State Level Societies for Primary Education: Major programmes with external financial assistance brought with them a new framework of management and decision making in States. While broad policy decisions are made by Government of India, detailed plan of action for the EFA is designed, implemented and monitored through a state level autonomous body set up for the purpose. This model of management decision making and monitoring is being adopted under the District Programme of Primary Education (DPEP) which currently covers more than 200 districts as well as in Lok Jumbish and Shiksha Karmi Projects in Rajasthan.

Block Level Education Management Committee: Government of Rajasthan has gone further down from the district to sub-district level under Lok Jumbish with regard to important decision making on primary education development. Under this, a block level committee is set up in each block, with representation from the block level administration, Lok Jumbish project team at the block level, NGO representatives and other educationists. The Committee is authorized to take decisions on such vital matters as opening of new schools, sanctioning additional teachers, sanctioning additional classrooms and buildings, and opening of non-formal education centres.

In fact, the strategy has been to facilitate local level decision making and monitoring processes. It is expected that the rejuvenation of panchayati raj institutions in most States following the Constitutional Amendment recognizing these as the third tier of governance would lead to institutionalization of the decentralized management framework for basic education.

Major nationally funded projects such as National Literacy Mission, Operation Blackboard, Non-Formal Education and those funded by international agencies such as the DPEP and Lok Jumbish have devised their own monitoring systems. Apart from these project specific arrangements, progress towards meeting learning needs get continually assessed and articulated in different forums. Specifically, periodical survey of educational facilities conducted by the NCERT has been a major exercise to generate a data base on basic education. Besides, annual statistics are collected and collated every year for planning and monitoring purposes. Selected Statistics published annually by MHRD is another source of data on education at all levels. These have been utilised in different ways to assess the progress of UEE. Currently a specially designed package (District Information System for Education - DISE) is being implemented with UNICEF assistance to create a computer based information system which provides for ready access to district level information on basic education.

With evolution of EFA programmes, it is increasingly recognized that people from different areas of development and social life ought to be involved in decision-making on educational issues. The need is also recognized equally for the co-operation and collaboration required between different ministries and allied sectors of development. It is with this in view that gradually, the decision-making and management structures for EFA programmes and their operational aspects are taking shape with the local community at the centre and the local self-government as an important organ of management for basic education.

CO-OPERATION IN EFA  

Cooperation for EFA has to be seen from different perspectives. Seen from the angle of implementing national programmes one can refer to the partnership between central and state governments as well as between government and non-government organizations. One has also to view this in terms of the contributions being made to EFA by the NGOs. And finally, one can also observe an expanding relationship between government and international funding agencies. One should also mention the role played by national organizations such as NCERT and NIEPA as well as many higher education institutions in providing technical support in the implementation of major initiatives in the area of EFA.

Cooperation between government and private bodies in primary schooling

The Central Government and the State Governments, which have the joint responsibility to provide basic education services, are committed by the constitutional mandate to providing free education to all children upto the age of 14 years. However, situation with respect to actual provision varies from one state to another. Overall, there are four arrangements for provision and management of primary schools education. In the first category are those which are fully funded and managed by the state governments. Majority of the formal primary education institutions fall in this category. A second category of schools which are also fairly large in number of those managed by the local self-government bodies such as the panchayat raj bodies in rural areas and municipalities/corporations in urban areas. These are also almost fully financed by the state government sources. The third category of institutions are those managed by private/voluntary bodies but with substantial grants from the government. The fourth category consists of a small proportion of schools that are established and managed by private/voluntary bodies without any monetary grants from the government. Funds are mobilized mainly through student fees and voluntary contributions. In the recent years, a few corporate houses have also begun contributing to primary education development programmes, particularly in urban areas.

Role of Non-Government Organizations

Non-government organizations, commonly referred to as voluntary agencies in India, also participate in EFA programmes. For instance, a large number of voluntary agencies are implementing non-formal education programmes to meet the educational needs of out-of-school children. Many of them focus on socially and economically backward areas and marginalised sections of the society and on education of girls. A large number of voluntary agencies are providing education, health and nutrition to children in urban slums and for working children. The Central Government provide grants for meeting their expenditure on basic education programmes. Some NGOs conduct innovative programmes for formal primary schooling also. There has been a remarkable involvement of NGOs in the adult literacy programmes. As already mentioned, ever since its inception, the National Literacy Mission has taken measures to strengthen its partnership with NGOs.

International Support for EFA

The current decade has seen the emergence of a number of EFA programmes supported by international agencies. These include support multi-lateral agencies including UN bodies, the World Bank and the ADB. Bilateral grants have been obtained from a number of donors such as the European Commission, DFID, SIDA, NORAD, HIVOS Netherlands and Japan. In fact, large programmes such as the DPEP are being supported and funded jointly by several of these agencies. Five UN agencies have supported the development of a joint initiative with the Government of India and State Governments on community based primary education. Assistance from UN agencies and bilateral donors is in the form of grants, while the World Bank provides concessional loan assistance through IDA. Matching contributions in cash and kind are provided by Central and State Governments for such projects. International cooperation can also be seen in terms of field based programmes promoted by such international NGOs as Action Aid, Aga Khan Foundation, CARE, Save The Children Fund and Plan International.

INVESTMENT IN EFA SINCE 1990  

The statement made in the National Policy on Education - 1986 and 1992 that from the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-1997) onwards the outlay on education would uniformly exceed 6 per cent of the national income is yet to materialise. At present (1996-97), 3.8 per cent of GNP is being invested in education. The share of elementary education in GNP in India has been relatively low, even though this has also increased by three times, from 0.48 per cent to about 1.7 per cent during the last five decades. The expenditure by education departments as a percentage of GNP at current prices has increased from 0.68 per cent in 1951-52 to 3.14 per cent in 1995-96.

The central expenditure on education has increased substantially over the last ten years. The central plan expenditure increased from Rs. 30,360 million in the Seventh Five Year Plan (1985-90) to Rs. 74,430 million in the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97). The Government is committed to raise the expenditure on education to six percent of GDP, as against the level of 3.9, by the end of the Ninth Plan. Fifty per cent of the enhanced allocation is expected to be spent on primary education. This increasing financial participation of the Central Government through Central and Centrally Sponsored schemes for promotion of primary education is in keeping with the spirit of partnership between the Central and the State Governments. Table 1.3 gives information about elementary education and its funding as a percentage of current public expenditure on education.

Table 1.3: Percentage of Expenditure on Primary Education and Elementary Education

Years

Current Public Expenditure as

%age of total public current expenditure on education

Current Public Expenditure as

%age of GNP

On pry. edu.

(Classes I-V)

On ele. edu.

(Classes I-VIII)

On pry. edu.

(Classes I-V)

On ele. edu.

(Classes I-VIII)

1990

34.30

46.30

1.25

1.69

1991

34.22

46.30

1.18

1.60

1992

33.69

45.20

1.14

1.53

1993

34.20

46.20

1.02

1.38

1994

34.05

46.40

1.00

1.36

1995

35.30

48.50

1.05

1.44

1996

36.50

50.10

1.05

1.44

1997

37.1

50.4

1.08

1.47

Source: Analysis of budgeted expenditure, MHRD (for various years)

 

In 1990s, there has been a marked increase in the proportion of central plan allocations made in the Five Year Plans for elementary education to the total outlay for education. The proportion in the Seventh Five Year Plan, which ended in 1990, was 38 per cent while in the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97), the proportion for elementary education was raised to 49 per cent.

One of the most significant factors related to change in the pattern of expenditure on education in recent years is the gradual increase in the proportion of funds spent on elementary education in comparison to secondary and higher education sectors. The last three Five Year Plans have witnessed a significant shift in the expenditure of the Department of Education in the Central Government towards primary and adult education and away from tertiary education. This highlights the proactive role that the central government is playing towards achievement of the goal of EFA.

Another important trend in the expenditure on Elementary Education is a gradual increase in Plan expenditure in 1990s. This has increased from 7.5 per cent in 1990-91 to 24.1 per cent in 1996-97. It is important in the sense that plan expenditure allows investment in development activities like improvement of school infrastructure, recruitment of new teachers, preparation and supply of teaching-learning materials, capacity building of educational personnel, etc. Chart 1.3 depicts this increase in Plan expenditure.

Table 1.4: Budgeted Expenditure (Revenue Account) on Education 1996-97

STATES/UTS

Budgeted

Exp. Rev.

Account (Rs.)

Population

as on 1.3.97 - (000s)

Per Capita

Budgeted Exp.(Rs.) - education

Enrolment -

elementary

classes (in 00s)

Exp. on

Elementary

Education (Rs.)

Expenditure

per student- elementary education

Andhra Pradesh

26379700

72960

362

10202

7755185

760

Arunachal Pradesh

1022500

1018

1004

190

505557

2661

Assam

12524800

25149

498

5121

6842212

1336

Bihar

24594300

94669

260

12056

14883375

1235

Goa

1435400

1367

1050

204

321055

1574

Gujarat

22207800

46199

481

7950

10826919

1362

Haryana

7913200

18911

418

2815

2896405

1029

Himachal Pradesh

4521000

5847

773

1105

2105126

1905

J&K

4618300

8692

531

1299

2145578

1652

Karnataka

21470400

50060

429

8729

9945405

1139

Kerala

19727300

31344

629

4631

8840877

1909

Madhya Pradesh

24723300

75546

327

12802

11277482

881

Maharashtra

40933900

87883

466

16439

15528568

945

Manipur

1834500

2154

852

336

845326

2516

Meghalaya

1462900

2081

703

379

774208

2043

Mizoram

906700

812

1117

168

379220

2257

Nagaland

1165300

1433

813

335

713583

2130

Orissa

13165400

34825

378

5241

6045518

1154

Punjab

11382900

22705

501

3051

2980909

977

Rajasthan

20133800

50722

397

8747

10295255

1177

Sikkim

622000

478

1301

105

313080

2982

Tamil Nadu

28220400

60095

470

10302

12322205

1196

Tripura

2442400

3234

755

560

1024326

1829

Uttar Pradesh

42961900

159613

269

21893

21641500

989

West Bengal

25173800

75768

332

14720

6912676

470

A&N Islands

412200

330

1249

65

217509

3346

Chandigarh

892600

758

1178

94

174540

1857

D&N Haveli

88300

163

542

28

48537

1733

Daman & Diu

89800

119

755

21

32495

1547

Delhi

6619100

11645

568

1686

1342200

796

Lakshadweep

117500

61

1926

14

50945

3639

Pondicherry

757300

949

798

168

231795

1380

INDIA

370520700

947590

391

151456

182854171

1207

Source: Analysis of budgeted expenditure, Selected Educational Statistics, 1997-98, MHRD.

While this increase in Plan expenditure augurs well for development of elementary education, it also raises the question of its sustainability in the long term. State-wise per capita expenditure and expenditure per student for the years 1996 is given in Table 1.4

Until recently, primary education in India was almost free from large scale external funding. The 1990’s witnessed introduction of several externally funded primary education projects, in particular the District Primary Education Programme. However, external funding of elementary education is less than 5 per cent of the total expenditure by the centre and the states on this sector. Mobilizing of community resources for primary education on a larger scale has also received considerable attention during this period, especially for improving physical infrastructure of schools.



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