13 Oct 2008, 0314 hrs IST, D Suresh Kumar,TNN

Kerala tops primary education index

CHENNAI: Kerala is ranked No. 1 among the 21 major states (large in geographical area) in the latest composite Education Development Index (EDI) prepared for the primary and upper primary levels of schooling for 2006-07.

Delhi comes second, followed by Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka in the report, which was released by Union human resources development ministry in New Delhi on Friday. The report on the EDI was prepared by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) based on the District Information System for Education (DISE), a comprehensive database on elementary education in India, which is had created in recent years.

"The indicators used in computing the EDI included access, infrastructure, teachers and outcome. In the broader sense, we had used 23 indices like number of schools per 1000 child population, average student-classroom ratio, pupil-teacher ratio, gross enrolment ratio and gender parity index," a source in NUEPA said.

Interestingly, Delhi is the only 'Top 5' state, which has improved its overall position in terms of infrastructure in primary and upper primary schools. "None of the other first five ranked states could improve their respective positions in the infrastructure index. Higher infrastructure index indicates that most of the schools in Delhi have got drinking water, common toilets and girls' toilet facility, which is not true for other four states Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, which were in the 'Top 5' last year," the report said.

Bihar and Jharkhand are ranked 35 and 34 in case of composite primary and upper primary levels of education with an EDI as low as 0.321 and 0.381 respectively which is much lower than the same compared to the top ranked states.

In most of the 21 major states, the teachers' index was found to be higher in upper primary level compared to primary level. "However, the same is not true for outcome index, consisting of GER, examination results, GPI, dropout and repetition rates, etc. In this set of indices, Tamil Nadu replaced Kerala and Delhi both at Primary (EDI, 0.735) and Upper Primary (EDI, 0.763) levels. Next to Tamil Nadu are Himachal Pradesh at Primary (EDI, 0.683) and Kerala (EDI, 0.693) at Upper Primary levels," the report said.

The NUEPA has suggested that all the States including the top ranking states should analyse all the indicators used in EDI computation district-wise, and within a district, block-wise and follow it up by adopting appropriate strategies without which neither their overall ranking nor status of universal elementary education in the state are expected to improve.

Times of India, October 13, 2008