North-east fares well

Ut­tar Pradesh has largest num­ber of vil­lages with­out a school; Mi­zo­ram is the only state where ev­ery vil­lage has a school

Sunday Express - - INDIA - PUSHKAR BANAKAR

EVEN as the Cen­tre pushes for ed­u­ca­tion across the coun­try through var­i­ous schemes, around 13,000 vil­lages are yet to get a school.

A re­port by the min­istry of ru­ral de­vel­op­ment re­veals that 13,511 vil­lages across var­i­ous states do not have a school. “There could be var­i­ous rea­sons for this. Firstly, the lack­adaisi­cal at­ti­tude of the state gov­ern­ments is re­sult­ing in the vil­lages not hav­ing schools. Also, there are some, very few, vil­lages which do not have the de­sired pop­u­la­tion for set­ting up schools,” a min­istry of­fi­cial said.

In terms of numbers, Mi­zo­ram is the only state where ev­ery vil­lage has a school, the re­port states. In gen­eral, the per­for­mance of north­east­ern states is bet­ter than the rest of the coun­try. Only Megha­laya has 41 vil­lages with no schools whereas the rest of the states have vil­lages In gen­eral, the per­for­mance of the north­east­ern states is bet­ter than that of the rest of the coun­try. Only Megha­laya has 41 vil­lages with no schools whereas the rest of the states have vil­lages in sin­gle dig­its with­out schools.

in sin­gle dig­its with­out schools. “The north­east­ern part of the coun­try is his­tor­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with ed­u­ca­tion. The im­por­tance in ed­u­ca­tion is well-known there and peo­ple are aware of it. They en­cour­age their kids to study. Hence, the re­sults are for all to see,” the of­fi­cial said.

The high­est num­ber of vil­lages with­out schools is 3,474 in Ut­tar Pradesh fol­lowed by 1,493 in Bi­har and 1,277 in West Bengal. Data for Goa is not avail­able in the re­port.

Ex­perts, how­ever, have dif­fer­ent opin­ions on the re­port’s find­ings. Pro­fes­sor HS Solanki of the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment (NIRD), Hy­der­abad said, “One needs to un­der­stand the ru­ral mind­set first. Peo­ple there are more in­clined on agri­cul­ture or money-mak­ing jobs than ed­u­cat­ing chil­dren. Hence, it be­comes dif­fi­cult even for the lo­cal self­gov­ern­ment to con­vince th­ese peo­ple to set up schools. They would rather help set­ting up an in­dus­try to get their kids em­ployed. The find­ings of the re­port are not at all sur­pris­ing. It is im­por­tant to change the mind­set of the peo­ple first.”

Ra­jesh Panda of the Sym­bio­sis In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Man­age­ment (ru­ral de­vel­op­ment) feels only if schools come up would the par­ents be en­cour­aged to send their chil­dren to school. “The gov­ern­ment needs to take the find­ings se­ri­ously and work on set­ting up schools in each and ev­ery vil­lage,” he said.

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