Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bihar education report

A new report from Patna, Bihar has some positive things to report on the state of education in that state. The report, due to be released by Amartya Sen on 4 February, is from Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Pratichi (West Bengal) and Centre for Economic Policies and Public Finance. The following is taken from a "curtain-raiser" in Indian Express; it gives a glowing report to the state government.

"The most startling finding is the phenomenal rise in children's enrolment in Classes VI to VIII, credited primarily to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar coming up with the idea of distribution of free school uniforms in Class V and bicycles for those getting into Class IX, along with midday meals. While earlier only girls were being given the free cycles, even boys are entitled to the same now.

"Parents and students vouch that while the government provides bicycles only from Class IX, it has boosted fresh enrolment from Class VI itself."

While the uniforms and bicycles have no doubt played a role, a more substantial statistic is that there is a "jump in the number of schools — there are now 114.3 schools for every one lakh people in the state, against just 60 three years ago."

The impact on vulnerable groups has been startling. As the ASER report for Bihar [PDF] shows, the proportion of "out-of-school" 11-14-year-old girls has fallen from 17.6% in 2006 to 9.7% (2007), 8.8% (2008), 6% (2009), to 4.6% (2010).

The most critical remark in the Express story is a last-sentence observation: "The report comes hard on the general status of the midday meal scheme, criticising the way it is run."

1 comment:

गिरिधर | giridhar | గిరిధర్ said...

According to a news report, the formal release of the report has been postponed because Amartya Sen fell ill.

"[I]nterested persons can collect a copy of the report [Status of Elementary Education in Bihar: Progress and Challenges] from the ADRI office."