Sanjeev Kumar Patro

First Published : 16 Feb 2009 05:38:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 16 Feb 2009 12:53:54 PM IST

State languishes at bottom

BHUBANESWAR: Mass education scenario in Orissa needs a serious look. At the 28th position of the total 30 states, the State has consecutively fared miserably in the Education Development Index (EDI). The report was released by the National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) recently.

The EDI, which has four variables - access, infrastructure, teachers and outcome - assigns scores and ranks to each of them for the primary and upper primary level and then draws up a composite index. Be it primary or upper primary level, the State languishes at the bottom crust only.

In 2007-08, the State slipped in the ‘access’ variable for the primary school category to 25 from 19 in 2006-07. In the ‘infrastructure’ variable, it slid to 24 from 23 in 2006-07. While it ranked 25th in the variable ‘teacher’, a three-place upward march to reach 26th rank is measured in the variable ‘outcome’. In the upper primary level, the State occupied 23rd, 28th and 33rd places for the four variables respectively.

The lowly ranking is not astounding as the State has only 34 per cent schools with pucca structures. Still 17 per cent schools don’t have drinking water facility, 50 per cent don’t have toilets and a whopping 71 per cent don’t have girls’ toilets. Over 40 per cent don’t have a boundary wall at all. Above all, only 45 per cent classrooms are in good condition.

When the State fails in providing these basic necessities, it is futile to look at the computer penetration in schools. As of 2007-08, as high as 92 per cent schools in Orissa did not have computers against only 28 per cent in Delhi.

The enrolment percentage for Scheduled Castes has shown a decline in 2007-08 to 19 from 21 though for Scheduled Tribes it moved to 25 from 23 per cent. The girls’ enrolment for both the castes stood at 49 and 48 per cent respectively. Muslim enrolment too has declined from seven per cent to two per cent in 2007-08.

The pitiable state of affairs calls for an immediate attention from the Government to go for higher allocation and better accountability to ensure a paradigm shift the next time.