Objectives of the study:
The objectives of this study were:
To study the existing decentralized governance structure at the elementary school level in Gujarat.
To study the role of the panchayat level functionaries in the context of governance of elementary education.
To study the networking of village and panchayat level agencies in the functioning of elementary schools.
To study the involvement of local leaders in the functioning of schools.
To study the nature of participation and involvement of women and disadvantages groups in the functioning of educational institutions.
To study the perceptions of educational functionaries and community members towards decentralized governance of elementary schools.
What are the components of existing decentralized governance structure?
What are the role of panchayat level functionaries?
What is the nature and extend of involvement of different agencies?
What is the nature of the involvement of local leaders in functioning of the schools?
What is the nature of involvement of women and other disadvantaged groups in functioning of educational institutes?
What are the perceptions of teachers, administrators and parents about the decentralized governance of elementary schools?
Sources of Data:
Government records, school records, panchayati raj act, educational functionaries/persons, community leaders, NGOs, beneficiaries/ stake holders and teachers were the major sources of data
Village Information Schedule
Household Information Schedule
Semi-structured Interview Schedule for Parents
School Information Schedule
Interview Schedule for Teachers
Interview Schedule for Children
Information Schedule for VEC
Information Schedule for VEC Members
Interview Schedule for Sarpanch
Interview Schedule for Traditional Authority/ Local Leaders
Interview Schedule for Principal/ Head Teacher
The present study adopts case study approach. It was a case study of two gram panchayats viz. Naharpura- Diapura and Bahutha villages of Gujarat state selected purposively.
Frequency count and percentage
The major findings of the study are drawn objective wise as follow.
Major findings of Objective I: Existing Decentralized Governance Structure of Elementary Education
The primary school of Bahutha village was established in 1905. It is a government multi-grade school running in a pucca building with 8 rooms. Students sit on the ground. Repair work is done once in one or two year. There were two male and six female teachers in the age group of 33 to 51 years working in the school. All the teachers are having PTC qualification. The teaching experience of the teachers in the schools varies from 4 to 29 years. All the teachers teach all the subjects in different primary classes. All the teachers were coming from nearby villages and towns.
The school was started in a room beside the temple of the village with the standard I to IV. Later on the school got its land and school building. Now the school has a big campus with the 8 rooms, a kitchen separately for the mid-day meal, and a toilet common for both boys and girls. The teachers monitor the students for using the common toilet in a disciplined manner.
Since the primary schools had no assisting persons like, peons, sweepers and clerks teachers were doing all the clerical and others works besides teaching like registering the name, ringing the bell, sending the BPL ST/SC Students' name for the free uniform and scholarship schemes etc. The cleaning of rooms and school campus was done by the students under the guidance of teachers.
Blackboards were found there in all the classes in good conditions. White and colour chalks were available. Students seat on the floor and study. Adequate furniture were found in the schools for the functioning of school office. Drinking water facility was available in both the schools but in one school the students need to fetch drinking water from the tube well and in other school they had to take the water from the pots kept in the school building. Playground was found in both the schools. Common toilets for boys and girls were found to be there in both the schools in used condition. No water facility was there in the toilets and students have to fetch water for their own purppose. The facility of electricity was found there in both the schools. In the Dipapura Prathamik Shala it was found to be in good condition where load shedding was as normal as in the village, where as, in Bautha Prathamik Shala it was found in a bad state where there was frequent shut down. Adequate teaching learning materials were found in both the schools prepared by the teachers according to the need of their subjects. Library facilities were found in both the schools mainly used by the students with books and some journals. Students use the library during recess and sometimes they were allowed to take books and journals to home for few days.
Mid day meal scheme and the scheme for free dress and books were found in operation in both the schools. Apart from these schemes, students of ST and SC community use to get scholarship ie, Rs 75/- for boys and Rs. 100/- for girls.
The registers like, general register, monthly register and examination files were found in both the schools, regular educational inspection (thrice a year) were found conducted by higher authorities for inspecting the repair work, educational progress of children and to see whether the facilities were reaching and being used by the schools.
Apart from teaching, the teachers were teaching the children poems, songs accompanied with acting and dancing based on social messages for the value of educating the children. The girl children were taking initiatives an lead roles in the presenting of the songs and poems.
In Bautha Primary Schools, the children had to bring their plates for the mid-day meal. Since the primary schools was not having any peons, sweepers of clerks they had to manage on their own. The teachers were doing all the clerical work besides teaching like registering the name, sending the BPL/ ST/ SC student’s name for the free uniform and scholarship schemes. The teachers and also sometimes the children ring the bell due to unavailability peons.
The Naharpura- Diarpura school also got the first prize in the taluka level in the Science exhibition.
Most of the economically well up people were found sending their children to private English medium schools in different places.
The school had three teachers, one permanent and two as temporary. The textbooks were provided by the school from the government and the notebooks they had to bring on their own. Before the beginning of the class students use to sing Saraswati Vandana'. At 2 p.m., during their recess, mid-day-meals were provided to the children. As Naharpura prathmik shala had classes up to standard V, the children were either going to Dipapura Prathmik School or Sandasal School for their upper primary education.
The primary school of Dipapura was bigger in size than the Naharpura School. The school had two building facing each other and a common toilet both for boys and girls behind the school building.
During the monsoon, the attendance of the students were very low and they were irregular due to their engagement in field work or illness due to climate change.
The Naharpura school principal had a very cordial relationship with the villagers and was getting all possible help from them. Glasses and plates for food were donated by the Patels and benches and chairs were donated by other people but these were used primarily for official purpose.
The lower caste people especially the SC and ST parents were not very inclining towards the education of their children. Even if the teachers made efforts to explain the importance of education for their children, the parents were turning a deaf ear for that, but they were always asking and collect their children’s money for uniform and other purpose provided from the government grants.
Major findings of Objective II & III: Role of panchayat level functionaries in the context of governance of elementary education and networking of village and panchayat level agencies in the functioning of elementary schools
It was found that both the sarpanch were taking keen interest in the school activities. When they were asked about the problems of school, they mentioned lack of drinking water and kitchen facilities, poor attendance of children, lack of awareness about the importance of education among the parents and lack of mother’s participation and they expected awareness about the importance of education among the parents. About the women participation in Graham Sabha, they responded that women’s participation are very less.
It was found that the VEC members had qualification ranging from fourth standard to Graduates and PTC course. The occupation varied from teacher, head master, agriculture worker, Anganwadi worker and house hold workers. Some of them were CRC coordinators. One member was a member of Gram Panchayat. There seems to be consistent concern by all members with regard to the regular attendance of teachers and students. Teachers were regular, committed and shown participative spirit in terms of getting new enrollment by meeting parents and students. Village surveys were also carried out by teachers to prepare the list of eligible students. The percentage of absent students and drop out varies from panchayat to panchayat.
Most of the villagers were socio-economically and educationally backward. However, the performance of VEC, teachers and students were relatively satisfactory. The attendance of students were recorded properly. The VEC members were politically conscious of observing progress and development of the school.
There were seven members in VEC. Out of the seven VEC members, five were male and two were female members. Out of the seven members, one male was from Islamic community and the rest four male and two female members were from Hindu Rajput community. All the male members had qualification beyond SSC and the female members had less than SSC. All the members were regularly attending the meetings and taking interest in school activities
There were six VEC members in Bahutha VEC. Out of six members, three were male and three were female. One female member was ST while remaining two members were general and three members were SEBC. The age of the VEC members ranged from 33 to 57 years. Qualification of the members varied from standard VII to graduates. The occupation of the members varied from teacher to anganwadi worker. The secretary of the VEC was the head mistress in a school. All others were members of VEC gram sabha.
The VEC meetings use to take place as and when the school required discussing some problems. Teachers were found regular, and committed to their work. It was reported by all members of VEC that students were regular in attending the school. However, some students were irregular due to their engagement in parents' agricultural works. Efforts have been made to enroll most of the students eligible for primary education in the village by doing house to house survey. All the students were regular and dropouts were very less.
Role of VEC Members of Gram Panchayat
Bahutha VEC did not have bank account while the Naharpura-Dipapura VEC had a bank account. Both the VEC received either government or SSA grant for the school improvement. The Bahutha VEC meeting was held every month and Naharpura-Dipapura VEC meetings was held quarterly for discussing the issues and problems related to the school The VEC members monitored the school administration the development of school/education.
The Gram Sabha was holding quarterly in a year and around 40 persons attended it. The requirements for school improvement were adequate number of classrooms, chairs, tables, blackboards, separate sanitation for boys and girls, play ground, garden and water facilities. As VEC members, they perceived their role as trying to make the students regular in study and explaining parents to send their wards to school.
Major findings of Objective IV: Involvement of local leaders in the functioning of the schools
It was found that the all the 7 leaders of Naharpura-Dipapura village were from Rajput caste and all the 3 leaders of Bahutha village were from Patel caste. Most of them had studied upto SSC. It was found that the local leaders held social positions as Sarpanch, Chairman of Narmada canal, member of dairy. It was found that the local leaders were taking their interest in the development of school by collecting donations, meeting the higher education authorities, motivating villagers to send their children to school regularly and organizing campaign for girl education
It was found that all the seven leaders from Naharpura-Dipapura village had made attempts for the schooling of disadvantaged children through providing scholarships, financial support and stationeries as per the government schemes to the economically backward and girl students whereas, none of the three leaders from Babutha had made such attempts for the schooling of disadvantaged children.
The local leaders were of the view that girls' should be married after 18 years. Their views about the girls' education were low rate of girls' education should be increased through proper mobilization, needed awareness campaign for girls' education, non discrimination by parents and to send them for higher education
The leaders suggested required facilities like drinking water, separate sanitation for boys and girls, compound wall, big playground, proper TLM, timely up-gradation and renovation works, adequate teaching and non- teaching staff for improving the school of their village.
Major findings of Objective V: Participation and involvement of women and disadvantaged groups in the functioning of educational institutions
The participation of women was less and not active due to male dominated society. The main reason was their traditional belief that their main duty is to looks after their home, household work and rearing children.
It was also found that the women were not aware of any schemes of PT/MTA. And due to their engagement in many economic activities their participation in school activities was almost nil.
for the disadvantaged groups, their less education i.e. either
illiteracy or primary schooling generally responsible for their lack
of interests in participating in the functioning of educational
institutes. They were not aware about the Panchayat's schemes and
procedures regarding the PTA, MTA.
Major findings of Objective VI: Perceptions of educational functionaries, parents and children towards decentralized governance of elementary schools
It was found that schools in both the Gram Panchayats had principals and adequate staff. The principals were getting complete support and cooperation from teachers and students. Often they use to discuss the problems of students with their parents.
According to the principals, the main problems of the school were lack of drinking water and play ground facility, no separate toilet facility for boys and girls, and irregularity of children.
It was found that all the teachers had the desired PTC qualification and half of them had more than 15 years of teaching experience. Furthermore, all the teachers had attended professional training programmes organized either by DIET or CRC.
It was observed that all the teachers had opted for teaching with a zeal and commitment serve the nation and nurture talent and creativity among the students
It was observed that the principal of the school was in charge of preparation of annual plan.
All the teachers responded that instrutional facilities are most important for interesting teaching learning process but due to lack of proper instructional facilities their teaching getting affected.
It was observed that majority of teachers were using teaching learning materials while teaching. Only two teachers were using specimen and laboratory equipments.
The teachers were evaluating students performance in CCA through the classroom behaviour, physical cleanliness, regularity in activities and attendance.
About the measures for girl education, the teachers responded awareness regarding the important of girl education, motivating to girl child, financial support to poor families and special provisions of scholarship to the girl child, measures should be taken up.
All the teachers opined that the key decision makers in curriculum planning were GCERT, principal and class teachers.
Regarding the difficulties in taking/planning the steps to increase the enrollment of children, the teachers were facing difficulties due to engagement of parents in labour works and negative attitude towards girl child's education.
It was found that there was adequate participation of DIET, DEO, VEC, BRC/CRC coordinators, school principal and subject teachers with regard to the use of TLM and school improvement grant. There was complete transparency about the use of school improvement grant.
the problems of school, teachers mentioned lack of proper facilities
like play ground, water, sanitation, compound wall and sufficient
classroom as the problems of school.
Other problems they were facing were irregularity of children,
and lack of awareness among the parents. For the solution of these
problems they suggested availability of all the required facilities
like play ground, garden and more no. of classrooms, proper
cooperation between the members of VEC, PTA, MTA so the decision
regarding the improvement
of educational standards and facilities could be made without problem.
50 percent parents were above 31 years and the rest half were below 30 years. 73 percent of the parents had qualification more than SSC and 27 percent were illiterate parents.
33 percent parents were of the opinion that the distance and timing of the school was quite appropriate.
Majority of the parents were of the opinion that the incentives like scholarship, mid-day meals and books were available in the school.
While 30 percent parents felt that the schools had adequate facilities equal percentage of parents felt the urge to improve upon those facilities.
percent of the parents opined that their children get the incentives
and the incentives are distributed properly.
53 percent of the parents felt that the school need compound wall as they were very close to the road whereas, the other needs felt by the parents were bigger playground, more nos of classroom and teachers, better teaching and guidance from the teachers to their children and better drinking water facility.
Half of the parents were not attending the PTA meetings whereas, 77 percent of the parents were not aware about the VEC and its activities.
According to 33 percent of parents, the teachers help children in their study whereas, according to 37 percent of parents, teachers also engage students and help them in other activities apart from study.
About the expectation of parents from schooling of their children, more than 60 percent of parents expected their children to be independent, good person and good job in future.
43 percent parents said that they do not attend the gram sabha meetings whereas, 92 percent of the female respondents those who do not attend the gram sabha meeting said that only male members attend the gram sabha meetings and as they are females do not attend it.
Half of the children were of 10 and less than 10 year aged whereas, half of them were of more than 10 year aged. More than half (56.25 percent) of the children were male whereas, remaining 43.75 percent of the children were female.
About 70 percent children's fathers were either farmer or laborer whereas, about 60 percent children's mothers were housewife.
All the 96 respondent children had liked their school for the reasons of studying, playing and for food and other purpose
96 respondent children responded that their teachers were coming to school regularly.
43.7 percent of the children had mentioned that their parents were not enquiring about the school or activities.
More than half of the children (55.2 percent) were facing problems in completing the homework and they were not receiving any type of help from their parents for their homework.
48.9 percent of the children mentioned that their parents not visiting to their school for discussing about their progress.
More than half of the children (55.2 percent) wished to be teacher in future whereas, the remaining children wished to be doctor, army, farmer and lawyer.
Keyword(s): Decentralization, Decentralized Governance, Elementary Education