Study on Bundelkhand of Planning Commission: Education - Factors Behind School Drop-Outs/Non-Enrollment And Educational Backwardness

Study on Bundelkhand of Planning Commission: Education - Factors Behind School Drop-Outs/Non-Enrollment And Educational Backwardness


Education is the pillar for the success of all the development activities and efforts undertaken by government and volunteers. MP has been educationally backward as its literacy rate (44.20%) and literacy among women confirm it. The situation among backward communities, scheduled castes and tribes is further alarming. The Bundelkhand region of MP is one of the most backward regions of the state and lag far behind on the development indicators. The concept of universalisation of education, even at the primary level is far beyond the reach in this region. The literacy percentage among the SC/ST, and particularly female literacy among them, shows a very dismal picture. (see table 4.1) The availability of educational facilities, schools and technical institutions are also not enough to cover the needs of the rural masses. Though each district has a District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), the technical and commercial institutions of learning are very few in the districts concerned. (see table 4.2). Educational scene is very pessimistic in the region. A very few students from Bundelkhand have been able to show any achievement in the field of science and technology and the competition of some repute. Government figures of the coverage of schools, educational facility, students enrollment and drop out rates always leave a concern about its validity when the actual situation in the villages of Bundelkhand is observed and surveyed by any independent agency.

As the region is economically backward and a large number of landless labourers are busy struggling with life to satisfy their hunger, education is not in the priority list of the masses. If the parents are not interested in the education of their children, there are causes behind it. Bundelkhand is a plateau with uneven surface of soil with no widespread plain. So the infertile land and the rainfed agricultural economy based on it, are unable to meet the both ends of its population. With no proper transportation and links within the districts and outside, internal mobility is very slow. As Bundelkhand receives average rain-fall once in 5 or 7 years, economic backwardness and low industrial growth rate leaves the labourers without work for most of the period in a year. In order to earn their livelihood, they are always to be on the move. Thousands of landless labourers of Bundelkhand go to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana alongwith their families during the month of ‘chaitra’ for harvesting ‘Rabi’ crops. Such labourers are known as ‘chaitua’. With such kind of migration and struggle
for livelihood, how can the parents think of the relevance of education for their children, who help them in their livelihood process.

The situation is grim. A large number of children in Bundelkhand are still out of schools. The case of block Tikamgarh of district Tikamgarh is representative of the region. In the survey conducted in 1993 by Sanskar Shiksha Samiti to prepare the micro-plan of the block it was revealed that out of 24,853 children of 6-14 age group, 14,244 children were not enrolled in any school which means that 57% of the children of this block were deprived of education. The situation might be further worst in other blocks of concerned districts because of their remoteness and distance from the district headquarters. People’s

Blockwise percentage of literacy for total /SC/ST.

indifference towards education has also been one of the reasons behind such a state of illiteracy in this region. People still think like this:-
"Thoda padhe so har se gaye
Jyada padhe so ghar se gaye”
(Those who got some schooling, have gone out of agricultural activities and those who got more education have gone out of home, so education is not required.).

Most of the people of weaker section have a complex feeling into their mind that education is of no use to their children. They are not interested to send their children to schools. Observation in various villages of Tikamgarh, Satna, Chhatarpur, Panna and Datia has shown that most of the children attending primary schools are from rich families of Thakurs, Brahmins and upper castes. Lot needs to be done for the awareness generation towards utility of education.

Even after enrollment in the schools, a large number of children drop out before reaching class fifth. For example in district Tikamgarh itself 44.25% children dropped out from the schools in the period between 1982-83 to 1986-87. The situation might have improved during the next decade but little seems to have changed when viewed at the educational condition of women, scheduled caste and tribes in the region.

Factors Behind School Drop-Outs/Non-Enrollment And Educational Backwardness.

Why is it that districts of Bundelkhand are educationally backward? Why don’t children go to schools? Why do they leave the schools before reaching to class fifth? The factors are very many. The condition of parents in very many cases are such that they can’t afford to buy text materials for their children. Though it is told that government is providing free education in the country, there are other expenses involved in sending the children to schools. A large section of SC/ST and backward classes in rural areas can’t afford it. Again when caste has been made the criterion of poverty, a large number of general category children who are poor and can’t get free facilities are remaining out of schools.

Distance between school and home is also a contributory factor for non-enrollment to schools. In our country, villages are counted for providing any facility. We don’t count the hamlets(basahats/tola/khirak/purwa) for such services. When the village is shown saturated, actually it doesn’t serve the needs of its hamlets. So is the case with schools. For example, block Tikamgarh in District Tikamgarh has 152 villages but actually counting the hamlets, the number comes to 298 for the block. So if all the children are to be covered, the hamlets are to be looked into.

Free supply of books, slates and educational materials, meant for poor children, hardly reach to them on time and in adequate number. This causes a major hurdle for the children to continue their schooling in future.

In the region like Bundelkhand there are certain physical hurdles in the form of rivers, nalas and forest which prevent the children to attend the schools. Sanskar Siksha Samiti had noted in block Tikamgarh that 56 children of school going age of Bhadara village were out of school because of dense forest which prevented them to go to nearby (2km) village, Sunauni for schooling. Such cases are many in other districts of the region also.It has also been observed that irregular functioning of the schools also create the condition in which parents don’t send their children to schools. Parents complain that schools do not run on time and teachers don’t come regularly. So at times, they stop sending their children. This is also the factor why private schools are mushrooming in the area and doing good business.

In Bundelkhand, elite group or feudal forces have created terror into the mind of many poorer sections who fear to send their children to schools to study with the children of privileged group. In certain cases even the teachers are threatened by the village chiefs that they should not enroll the children of downtrodden in schools. It was observed that there are many villages in the concerned districts where people of backward classes are not allowed to take water from the local public wells. If such is the terror of feudal forces in the villages, how can these backward classes think of sending their children to schools to learn with the children of privileged groups.

Indifferent attitude of teachers towards their profession is also the cause for drop out of children. If teachers are not dutiful and treat children like animals, so that they are not able to learn even alphabets after 2-3 years of schooling, how can parents allow the children to continue in schools?

The parents in rural area, particularly in the social set up of Bundelkhand, don’t like their daughters to be taught by male teachers. Non-availability of female teachers in schools also hinders the education of girl child in this region.

Location of the school, particularly in the building and area of elite groups, hinders the backward class children to attend such schools. Proper attention should be given to locate the school at such a place that it is easily accessible to the backward class children. Time of the school does not suit to the poor class children. It is always decided keeping in view the daily routine of the elite class children. The examination in the schools are held during the months and the time when children of the landless labourers are busy in reaping and harvesting of wheat or in gathering Mahuwa, which is the source of livelihood for such families for at least three months. Naturally, such children either leave the examination or fail in it.

Lack of basic facilities in the school is another major cause for the children to not to attend the schools. Lack of facility of drinking water and non-existence of urinals cause embarrassment to guardians of children.

What is the use of education to children ? Are they going to get job after some education? Or they are going to loose their time in schooling? These are the questions asked by the people in rural areas when asked to send their children to schools. Parents prefer to send their children to generate some money in various activities, rather to send them to schools. Feeling of inferiority complex in the child also accounts for the non enrollment or drop out from the school. The child, particularly the girls of weaker sections, scheduled castes and tribes are left to remain half clad and wear torn clothes over their bodies. They subsist with under-nourished food and suffer with a feeling of inferiority. Even if enrolled in the schools, they feel like leaving it as soon as possible due to the complex within them.

A large number of children of weaker sections are engaged in direct or indirect earning for the livelihood of the family. Children have to take animals (a large number in Bundelkhand)for grazing or to work as a child labour in bidi-making or stone-crushers. Girls have to look after younger brothers and sisters or to remain busy in the household work. Even if children are not visibly busy in earning they are busy somewhere else. One interesting example is that of tribal children in Bundelkhand region. When parents go to the forests for collecting wood to sell it in the market, children follow them in the jungle. Though children hardly help in the collection of wood and making bundles, they hunt for the squirrels and hares, bake them and eat. They get gulguch, umar, and other such things as their food in the forest. Parents of such children accept that their own earnings are not sufficient to feed these children, so the children get it in forests. The issue is, if such children are to be educated, their food-problem is to be solved first.

In Bundelkhand, society is still at the stage where elders don’t want their girls to be educated, particularly in the well off families where aged persons are the household heads. In certain cases, girls are allowed to study till class V and not further because this much education is considered sufficient for them.

There are still certain sections in the villages who consider school education as futile, useless and unwanted for their children. There is a say in the villages :-
“Madarsa bhejbau jaee main,
Mauda Patak Bau Khaee Main.”
(Sending a boy to school is as bad as throwing him in a ditch)

Most important necessity of a man is the bread and this necessity is more acute in Bundelkhand. In the Tikamgarh block of district Tikamgarh, for example, there were 69% families who had an income of less than Rs.4000 yearly. When these families were struggling for their bread day and night, education was no concern for them.

In Bundelkhand, migration of the labourers is another factor behind the non-enrollment of their children. Though the nomad tribes like Loha Pitas or Gadilohars are not in large number in the region, the number of migrating families is quite large. In one block of Tikamgarh district, for example, 2124 families were identified who were migrating for almost half of the year to other towns in UP, Punjab or Haryana. Two-third of them go with their families. So children don’t get enrolled or miss their examination, if enrolled.

There is the problem of education for the children of ‘criminal tribes’ belonging to Nat/Kabutara/Kanjar/Bedia Communities. To enroll the children of these communities in the schools is a major problem. Only special efforts can help in this situation. In some places, such efforts like opening a school in their own settlement has helped. For example the children of Nat Community of village Raniki Bavari in Hiranagar Panchayat of block Tikamgarh, had the school in their own hamlet and that is why 78% of their children got enrolled in it. Similar efforts can be done and special schools should be opened in such communities.

In Bundelkhand, the transport services are not regular, quick and timely. Most of the teachers travel by bus to reach to their schools. It has been observed and told by the villagers that teachers generally reach the school late and close it earlier than the fixed time. There are only limited buses on some of the routes, on some only one bus operates to and fro. Children know when the teachers would be reaching to school by which bus and when they would be closing the school. Children learn, in a way, how to evade the government rules from their teachers.

So, the overall analysis gives a picture as to how the educational system in Bundelkhand is operating and why most of the children are still out of the reach of the schools even after 50 years of Independence of India


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