Puducherry leads pack in elementary education

NEW DELHI: For the second year in a row, Puducherry is the number one state in terms of Educational Development Index (EDI) at the elementary level (class I to VII/VIII), followed by Lakshadweep and Kerala.

Kerala has made remarkable progress in primary education — moving up from ninth position in 2008-09 to third in 2009-10. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands has moved from seventh to fourth slot, while Tamil Nadu continues to hold on to its fifth position.

Chandigarh, too, is a success story — sixth in 2009-10 from 10th in 2008-09. Punjab is at number seven, and Delhi — for the second year in succession —is at eighth position. EDI is prepared by National University for Educational Planning & Administration.

Hindi heartland states — Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan —and West Bengal are at the bottom of the heap. Despite massive investment in elementary education, Bihar continues to bring out the rear. "The last five years were spent in overcoming the historical shortcomings. In the next few years, Bihar will catch up with performing states," an official said.

EDI is prepared after taking into account four components — access, infrastructure, teachers and outcomes. In case of access, the two important factors were looked into — availability of schools per 1,000 child population and ratio of primary to upper primary schools. Access-wise, northeast states are on top. Arunachal Pradesh holds number one position at primary level, and Mizoram at upper primary level. Jammu & Kashmir is number two at primary level, followed by Gujarat at upper primary level.

In case of infrastructure, four factors were looked into — schools with student-classroom ratio of more than 40, schools with drinking water facility, common toilet and girls toilet.

Punjab has the best infrastructure at the primary level, followed by Puducherry and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. At upper primary level, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands tops in terms of infrastructure. Punjab is at second position, followed by Sikkim.

 01 February, 2011