(The Gist of Kurukshetra) POLICY AND PLANNING TOWARDS RURAL EDUCATION [NOVEMBER-2019]
(The Gist of Kurukshetra) POLICY AND PLANNING TOWARDS RURAL
POLICY AND PLANNING TOWARDS RURAL
Government of Indio has taken determined steps to correct the rural—
urban imbalance in literacy rates which affect the overall development of
the economy as well as the country as a whole.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development of Government of India works
through two departments:
Department of School Education and Literacy
Department of Higher Education.
And since education is a subject of Concurrent List, therefore Central
Government and State Governments work together for the betterment of
I. Status of Education in India (Rural vs. Urban)
As per Census 2011, literacy rate in rural areas was around 68 per cent
while it was 84 per cent in urban areas. Furthermore, only 59 per cent of
rural women were estimated to be literate as compared to nearly 80 per cent
urban women being literate in 2011.
Some interesting findings have been thrown up by the survey on 'Social
Consumption: Education' during the National Sample Survey (NSS) 71st Round,
January to June 2014, conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)
under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
It has brought to light several ground level realities of education in
rural India vis a vis urban India which are of relevance to a policy maker.
Access to Computer and Internet (NSS 71st Round)
The Survey showed that nearly 6 per cent of rural households and 29
percent of urban households possessed a computer. Among households with at
least one member of age 14 years and above, nearly 16 per cent among rural
households had internet access as compared to 49 per cent urban households.
Among persons of age 14-29 years, nearly 18 per cent in rural areas and 49
per cent in urban areas were able to operate a computer.
U-DISE (2016-17) Report
Some of the highlights of NSS 71st Round may not appear to be
encouraging, however, going by the figures stated in the last U-DISE
(2016-17). Report brought out by M/o Human Resource Development, there has
been a major thrust on providing rural school infrastructure and stepping up
school enrolments in rural areas through various schemes and interventions.
As per U-DISE 2016-17, total number of schools in India were 15.3 lakhs
out of which nearly 12.97 lakh schools were in rural areas. Total enrolment
in schools was 25.13 crore out of which 18.02 crore was enrolment of
students from rural areas. This data pertains to all the schools from Class
I to Class XII across the country.
Therefore, rural areas account for 84.46 per cent of total schools in
India and 71.72 per cent of total; student enrolment in India. In addition,
73.04 per cent teachers are placed in rural locations.
The National Achievement Survey 2017
The National Achievement Survey 2017 (NAS 2017) of Ministry of Human
Resource Development, GoI is amongst the largest surveys conducted in the
world. It tried to assess the attainment of competency-based learning
outcomes of 2.2 million students from 1,10,000 schools across 701 districts
in all 36 States/UTs. NAS 2017 has thrown interesting light on learning
outcomes for rural vs urban student populations.
A surprise finding of NAS 2017 with respect to learning outcomes in
Rural vs Urban areas is that the learning outcomes are similar in rural and
urban school going population and in fact, even higher for rural students
over urban ones for class 8th in Mathematics, Science and Social Science
This has, to some extent, broken the myth that rural students are
laggards as compared to urban ones. Some of the concerns which have been
thrown up by various studies taken up by both public and private
institutions include not only availability (infrastructure like
schools/colleges etc.) but also accessibility (distance), quality (learning
outcomes), education of girl child, the quality of teaching, skills
education among others.
II. Government Initiatives for Rural Areas
Expansion of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, pan-India expansion of Samagra
Siksha and voluminous increase in budgetary allocations, expansion of
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, improvements in quality of Mid-Day Meal
Scheme, Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Swachhta Abhiyan, Massive Online Courses,
expansion of Eklavya Model Residential School Scheme, digital initiatives
and promoting several other education related interventions by the states
arc some of important efforts of the Government for the development of rural
While some of the programmes/schemes/projects are specific to rural
areas; expansion of infrastructure and quality improvement of teachers in
rural areas are also likely to receive a major thrust under flagship
programmes like Samagra Shiksha.
The digital initiatives can become a game changer for rural areas since
they revolutionise the delivery mechanisms for education in the country.
They have a special role to play for imparting quick, meaningful and
quality education to students in far flung and rural areas as well as
in-situ training of teachers.
The recent launch of Operation Digital Board aims to introduce digital
boards all over the country in government and government-aided schools for
nearly 1.5 lakh Secondary/Sr. Secondary schools. Similarly, UGC proposes to
take up 300 universities and about 10,000 colleges in the first phase
covering 2 lakh classrooms.
e-PATHSHALA : NCERT books are now available in digital version
for free for anybody. Approximately 15 lakh students have downloaded e-Pathshala
app. As on 26 February, 2019, visits to e-Pathshala crossed 4.0 cr. The App
enjoys a rating of 4 out of 5 on Google play store and 4.5 out of 5 on
Diksha is a digital platform for teachers to enable capacity
building of all categories of teachers. It will help over 50 lakh teachers
in improving the quality of education.
MOOCs on SWAYAM Platform: It is an integrated platform for
offering online courses and covering school (9th to 12th) to Postgraduate
Level. Till July 2019, 2769 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been
offered on SWAYAM, wherein about 1.02 crore students have enrolled in
various courses till date. The online courses are being used not only by the
students but also by the teachers and non-student learners, in the form of
SWAYAM PRABHA (Kishore Manch) DTH-TV Channels have been launched
for transmission of educational e-contents through 52 National Channels i.e.
SWAYAM PRABHA DTH-TV.
National Digital Library of India (NDL) is a project to develop a
framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window
search facility. There are more than 5 crore digital resources available
through the NDL. More than 50 lakh students have registered themselves in
the NDL, with about 20 lakhs active users.
National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA)
has been launched very recently to build capacities of 42 lakh elementary
school level teachers, principals, block resource centre coordinators and
cluster resource centre coordinators. The basic objective of 'NISHTHA'
Programme is to motivate and equip teachers to encourage and foster critical
thinking in students.
Teachers will get awareness and develop their skills on various aspects
related to Learning Outcomes, Competency Based Learning and Testing, Learner
centred Pedagogy, School Safety and Security, Personal-social qualities,
Inclusive Education, ICT in teaching-learning including Artificial
Intelligence, Health and well-being including yoga, initiatives in school
education including library, eco club, youth club, kitchen garden, school
leadership qualities, environmental concerns, pre-school, pre-vocational
education and school based assessment in a joyful learning manner.
Vision of Draft New Education Policy (NEP) to Increase the Supply of Good
Quality Teachers in Rural Areas:
To ensure that truly excellent students enter the teaching profession
-especially from and in rural areas, the draft NEP envisions creating
special merit scholarships which will also include guaranteed employment in
their local areas upon successful completion of their four-year integrated
B.Ed. programmes. To further encourage outstanding teachers to be deployed
to rural areas, incentives like housing will be provided for teachers to
take up teaching jobs in rural areas, especially in those rural areas with
the greatest current teacher shortages.
Atal Tinkering Lab:
Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) is a programme run by Atal Innovation Mission
(AIM) under NITI Aayog to foster curiosity and innovative mindset in young
students across India to encourage research and innovation in schools across
the country. The vision of the initiative is 'To create one million children
in India as Neoteric Innovators'.
As per latest data, 8878 schools have been selected for establishing
ATLs, out of which 3020 have completed their compliance process and have
been funded successfully. The selected schools are from both urban and rural
areas. Around 117 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas are also been selected for
Atal Tinkering Labs.
The massive effort in recent times to revamp and expand the education
system in India has far reaching implications. Not only is the thrust on
infrastructure but also on quality and unique solutions through technology
to improve delivery systems of education.
The student community has shown great enthusiasm for e-Resources for
learning. This holds great promise for the future since as the internet
penetration increases, the major beneficiaries of online courses and
facilities will be the rural and far flung areas.