Education Facilities in Bundelkhand
At the very least, every village should have a working primary school and
there should be a middle and secondary school at walking distance from the
However, according to Census 2001 data, in both UP Bundelkhand and MP
Bundelkhand, around 20% of the villages did not have a primary school 2001 (see
table in Amenities in Villages and Households). Ironically, the situation was
worst in Jhansi, the region’s `most developed’ district; nearly 40% of the
district’s villages did not have a primary school. Only in Datia did over 90% of
the villages have a primary school.
In UP Bundelkhand, there was roughly one middle school per three villages; in
MP Bundelkhand, the figure was one per five villages. Less than 10% of villages
in the entire region had a secondary school.
While one can find a large number of colleges in rural areas in 'developed’
states like Punjab and Maharashtra, aggregated Census 2001 figures showed that
in the entire Bundelkhand region with over 11,000 villages, there were only 35
villages with colleges.
The paucity of higher education institutions is reflected in low percentage
of literates with educational attainment above middle school (see table below).
Also notable is paucity of technical training institutes. As a result, a large
number unemployed youth are neither in a position to take advantage of any
opportunities that would come by from planned industrial investments, nor do
they have the skills to command higher wages in labour markets outside the
Educational attainment of literates (2001)
||% Matric/ Higher Secondary/ Diploma
||% Graduates Postgraduates
Source: District-wise basic data sheets of Census 2001. Percentages
derived from absolute figures and rounded off.
Though the situation is better with respect to primary education
infrastructure in most districts of the region (see table in Amenities in
Villages and Households), there is a big question mark on quality of education.
As in case of village-level health centres, absenteeism among staff is common.
The Mid Day Meal scheme, introduced across the country, has certainly led to
increase in presence of children at school, but a negative consequence seen
across scores of village schools is that all the attention of both the staff and
the children is focussed on the meal. Practically no teaching takes place after
meals are served; in many schools across Bundelkhand young children go to school
only for the meals.
Several methods to improve schooling were tried out in Lalitpur district in
2004-06 under a UNICEF-funded `quality education package’ implemented in all 874
formal primary schools in the district. The package included supply of creative
workbooks, desks, and sports-kits to transform the school environment, and
motivation of parents to take interest in the working of schools.
Earlier, some methods of alternative schooling were tried out in MP under the
state government’s Shiksha Mission; five alternative schools were set in three
blocks of Tikamgarh district by the state resource centre, Bharat Gyan Vigyan
Samiti, in collaboration with Eklavya.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) provides a good opportunity to take forward
these experiences. SSA however does not tackle a basic problem faced by poor
parents: while primary education is free, there are high indirect costs
associated with purchase of uniforms, books and private tution, to make up for
incompetence or disinterest of teachers.
Scholarships for poor/SC/ST children helps meet some of this cost, but a
large 'poverty and social monitoring’ survey (PSMS-II) conducted jointly by the
UP state government’s Planning Department and the World Bank in 2002-03 found
indicated that in rural areas of UP Bundelkhand, 50% of poor households did not
get this benefit; in urban areas, nearly 90% of the poor were not covered
[Directorate, Tables 18, 19].
In many Bundelkhand villages, SC/ST parents face a bigger problem: they are
forcibly prevented from sending their children to attend school by upper caste
village leaders; families belonging to social groups that were classified as
`criminal tribes’ suffer the most. Another, more common observation is that
children from lower status social groups are routinely made to do unpaid menial
tasks in schools.
As in the rest of India, English-medium private schools have significant
presence in small towns of Bundelkhand, and are the preferred choice of all
families that can afford the fees. In rural areas, penetration of private
schools was low in 2002-03 according to PSMS-II data. Reviewing the data for
children from rural households between the age of 5 and 18 years, the UP
government’s Planning Department observed [Directorate, p 131]: `Remarkably, in
the Bundelkhand region nearly 93% of the poor children were going to government
The implicit note of self-congratulation was unwarranted. Only 7% of poor
children in villages were going to private schools because there were not enough
of them; in urban areas of UP Bundelkhand, nearly 60% of children from poor
households were going to private schools [Directorate, Table 19].
Given the state of government schools, the number of private schools in rural
areas is bound to increase, for obvious reasons: the biggest attraction for
parents is that classes are held regularly; teachers who don’t come to work
don’t get paid, or get fired. Increasing presence of private schools will create
two distinct categories of children in villages: one comprising children who get
free meals in schools but little education, and others who get no free meals,
but manage to pick up arithmetic and writing skills, and some English. Poor
households that desire to see their children in the second category will need to
increase their monthly income by around 20%, or make an equivalent cut in other
expenditure—on food, clothing or agriculture inputs. Children’s education is
likely to emerge as a cause for indebtedness.
Courtesy : bundelkhandinfo.org