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
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
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
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
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
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