Modi School of Education System

May 5, 2014

by Sanjeev Kumar (Antim)

Gujarat saw deteriorating quality of primary education in the last decade, and declining rank in literacy from fourth in 2001 to ninth in 2011 among the 20 major states [1]. The rank of Gujarat in terms of literacy rate for children above 6 years was 19th during 55th round of NSSO which slipped to 21st position in 64th round. Literacy rate for this age group in Gujarat increased by 5.8% between 1999-00 and 2007-08, while the national average was far better with a 10.1% increase. In the areas of MYS (mean years of schooling) and SLE (school life expectancy), during 2004-05, Gujarat was ranked seventh and ninth, respectively. Kerala ranked first in all three indicators. Even Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka performed much better than Gujarat [2].

UNDP has placed Gujarat at the 18th position in keeping children in schools [3]. Rank of Gujarat in terms of percentage of persons currently attending any educational institution declined to 30th from 23rd in the age group of 6 to 29 years and from 21st to 26th rank in the age group of 6 to 14 years. In terms of percentage of people attending professional or technical education, Gujarat’s performance is not more than the national average and far behind MH and TN [4]. The situation is worse in case of age group of 21-29 (Higher Education), where only 2.6% of Gujaratis are attending any educational institutions. Gujarat has less graduates and post graduates than the national average. The matter is very clear, the state government of Gujarat is not interested in encouraging higher education. And that is why the proportion of graduates and post-graduates in Gujarat is far less than the national average.

In terms of per capita spending on consumption of books and journals by common people, Gujarat ranks 24th. In terms of per capita spending on stationery, Gujarat’s rank is 22nd; in terms of per capita spending on tuition and other fees Gujarat ranks 21st [5]. The latest Household Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by NSSO shows that a Gujarati residing in rural area spends just Rs 14 on education per month which is the lowest amount being spent among all the states, except Chhattisgarh (Rs 11) [6].

This condition of education in Gujarat is a direct result of deliberate negligence of education by the state. In terms of share of expenditure on education to the total expenditure, Gujarat was ahead of the average of other developed states in 1995-96 but by 2007-08 Gujarat is at the lowest spot [7]. In 2010-11, Gujarat spends 15.9 per cent of its budget on education, while Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal spent between 16 and 20.8 per cent. The national average was 16.6 per cent [8]. Indian government is spending Rs 1037 per head in rural government schools while Gujarat government is spending only Rs. 984. Similarly Indian government is spending 3473 per head in urban government schools while Gujarat Government is spending only Rs. 2815. Similar is the case with local body schools and private aided schools [9]. CAG reported that Central govt allocated Rs 292 crore for computer literacy and education but only Rs 88.24 crore was utilised [10].

Gujarat’s population is 4.99% of India’s total population but Gujarat has only 4.42% of total educational buildings in India. On the other hand Gujarat has 7.06% of total buildings in India meant for shops and offices; 9.47% of total buildings meant for factories and workshops; and 6.04% places of worship [11]. In terms of availability of rural primary schools within 2 kms, the position of Gujarat is very similar to that of states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as well as the national average, but in case of secondary schools within 2 kms, Gujarat is far behind all other states and the national average. Gujarat has only 2.16% of all primary schools in India (2009-10), and there is no distance education institution in the state [12]. During the year 2011-12, total number of primary schools in the state increased to 40943 from 40723 in 2010-11. The number of secondary and higher secondary schools increased from 9844 in 2010-11 to 9878 in 2011-12. Far more worrying than the stagnancy in the number of education buildings in Gujarat is the decrease in enrolment in these schools from 31 lakhs to less than 30 lakhs [13]. Gross enrolment ratio in Gujarat decreased from 109.54 to 104.64 [14].

Despite all the tall claims of prosperity, till 2010, primary school teachers in Gujarat were paid only Rs 2500 monthly as their salary, when finally the High Court of Gujarat forced the state government to increase their salaries by 20% [15]. After the Supreme Court of India slammed the state government, the salary was further increased to Rs 5300 per month [16]. One can easily assume the condition of education in a state where teachers have been paid such miserly salaries. Not surprisingly, the teacher-student ratio reduced from 42 (per 1000 students) in 2000-01 to 31 in 2011-12 [17]. This ratio would have been worse if the total enrolment of students had not declined in the state.

The caste gap in availability of schools for different social groups is the highest in Gujarat. About 7000 schools, specially in rural/tribal areas, have been shut down in the last 10 years [18]. In terms of educational gap between general category and backward category, Gujarat is at the top of the list [19]. For age groups 6-10 and 11-14, the caste gap in education is higher than the national average [20]. For the age groups (6-14 Years) – i.e for above primary and secondary school education – the educational access of women, SCs, STs, Muslims and other minorities is again lower than the national averages. The gender gap of students above 6 years in education is 20% in Gujarat which is the highest in India. In age groups 6-10 and 11-14, the gap is more than two and a half times the difference at the national level [21]. Between 2001 and 2011,female literacy in Gujarat increased by 3% while male literacy increased by 7%. Gujarat’s own documents reveal that in terms of female literacy, Gujarat ranks 19th.

In terms of gender discrimination in education, as well as in sex ratio, Hindus in Gujarat fare worse than Muslims [22]. The total gap between Muslims and non-Muslims in terms of persons currently attending schools in the age group of 6-14 years is far more than the national average. In 2001, when literacy rate (for those aged above 7 years) in Gujarat was 69.1%, the literacy rate of Muslims in Gujarat was at 73.5% but in 2007-08 when literacy rate of Gujarat went to 74.9% the literacy rate of Muslims in Gujarat only rose marginally to 74.3% [23].In spite of the poor educational attainment of Muslims, the Modi government abstained from distributing scholarships that the Centre had designed for them in the wake of the Sachar Committee report. The matter went to the Gujarat High Court, where a division bench of three judges ruled in favour of the scheme. Modi government appealed to the Supreme Court, which upheld the final decision of the Gujarat High Court in May 2013 [24]. At least in Gujarat, Modi cannot blame the Madrasas for the bad performance of Muslims in the field of education because Madrasas are not very popular among Muslims in Gujarat [25].

While Gujarat has experienced higher rates of decline in the share of state expenditure on education than national averages, the proportion of people dependent on government-aided and government and local bodies run institutions is higher in Gujarat. People belonging to the poorest 20% households in urban Gujarat are significantly more dependent on public education than their all-India urban counterparts [26], and are largely priced out of the costlier private-sector-run institutions

(This is part of a report on Gujarat’s model of development, written for Jagriti Natya Manch. This theatre group consists of students from JNU, DU and IIMC.)

Notes

[1] Indira Hirway & Neha Shah, ‘Labour and Employment in Gujarat’ Economic & Political Weekly, November 5, 2011 Vol. xlvI No. 44 & 45, p. 27

[2] Times of India, 11 June 2012

[3] Asian Age, 20 July 2013

[4] Atul Sood, Poverty amidst prosperity: Essays on the Trajectory of Development in Gujarat, 2012, Aakar Publication, p. 273, Table: 9.17

[5] NSSO report 2009-10, published in 2012, p. 42

[6] Indian Express, 17 July 2013

[7] Sood, 2012, RBI, Handbook of Statistics on State Government Finances

[8] Indian Express, 5 Sept 2013

[9] Sood, 2012, p. 274, table 9.20

[10] Economic Times, “8 holes CAG picked in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat development plan”

[11] Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2012-13, p. 89; Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2005-06, pp. S-92-93

[12] Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2012-13, p. 95

[13] Ibid, p. N-X

[14] Ibid, p. 47

[15] Times of India, 26 Oct 2010

[16] Times of India, 24 May 2013; Ibnlive, 21 May 2013

[17] Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2012-13, p. XIII and Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State 2011-12 p. XXIX

[18] Asian Age, 20 July 2013

[19] Sood, 2012, p 269, table 9.2

[20] Ibid, p 272, Table 9.13

[21] Ibid, p 269 Table 9.3

[22] Sachar Committee Report ,2005-06, pp 287-89

[23] Atul Sood, 2012, p 270, Table 9.9

[24] Indian Express, 6 Nov 2013 & TwoCircles.net, 30 April 2012

[25] Sood, 2012, p. 273

[26] Sood, 2012, p. 273