The study had following objectives: (1) To study the nature of decentralized management of DPEP in the Panchmahal district in terms of academic and administrative dimensions. (2) To study the management structure and process of DPEP in Panchmahal district. (3) To study the impact of decentralized management of DPEP on enrolment, retention and achievement. (4) To study the perception of the teachers’ village education committee and local community on the district primary education programs. (6) To find out the major difficulties faced by the functionaries at the Panchmahal district.
Sample comprised of state DPEP project officer, Director, SCERT, DPEP Project Officer, Block Resource Centre Co-coordinators, Cluster Resource group, village Panchyat Parents/Community and Teachers / Head-Masters purposively selected from two talukas, namely, Halol and Kalol of Panchmahal district.
For data collection, self-developed questionnaire and interview schedule were used.
Study was descriptive type research.
Data analysis was based on frequency distribution and percentage methods.
The study had following findings: (1) The DPEP has made an impact on the academic decentralization by linking institutional resources and teacher training with classroom process. This approach created learning resources in terms of teaching learning materials that envisages joyful learning in the schools. (2) The learner grants and school improvement grants were found as motivational approaches in strengthening and sustaining the retention and individual commitment on the achievement of DPEP goals. (3) The DPEP has also made an impact on the administrative decentralization by creating district, village and community level structures, planning process, and execution. Appraisal of the program gave a scope for participatory approach. (4) Certain principals were identified that require more concern in visualizing the administrative decentralization as envisaged in the DPEP. These areas for concern are the functional effectiveness of administrative structures, moribund nature of village level administrative structures, autonomy and accountability. Conflicts limited levels of co-ordination among various personnel and the low participation of community in the school programs. (5) The existing structures for the management of primary education and the evolved structures for the arrangement of district primary education program have been working as parallel structure and in some cases the vertical and horizontal working relationship are not clear. Block Resource Centers are established in almost all the blocks of Panchmahal district by creating a full-fledged functional building. The BRC co-coordinators were appointed on deputation and most of them are teachers in primary schools. Each BRC is having around 15 clusters. (7) Cluster Resource Centers are attached to play center schools and the head master of the school considered to be the co-coordinator. There is no full-fledged functional building for Cluster Resource Centers (CRC). (8) Master trainers do not take regular classes in their respective schools and continue to be the trainees through out the teacher. (9) The participation of Village Education Committees in school programs and their level of awareness on the DPEP are not satisfactory. (10) Parent Teacher Associations and Mother Teacher Associations are found in most of the schools by the Panchmahal and their functional utility is found not satisfactory. (11) The Gross Enrollment Rate of the students at different standards increased over the years after the implementation of the DPEP in the Panchmahal district. (12) The Retention Rate in lower primary school also increased over the years after the implementation of the DPEP. (13) In both the enrolment and retention rates, the figures of boys are more than the girls due to the socio-economic and cultural issues in the society. (14) There has been a significant increase in the academic achievement of the students after the implementation of the DPEP. There is a near absence of gender based inequality in the lower standards. (15) 60% of the respondents opined that there has been a significant increase of the school resources in terms of teaching learning materials and other equipment. (16) 26% and 25% of respondents opined that community involvement is very much increased and community involvement is not at all increased due to the DPEP respectively. (17) 55% of respondents opined that there has been a decentralization of management right from the program planning to program implementation. (18) At the village level it was found that the level of awareness on DPEP is low especially in the components, like, roles and responsibilities of the community, funding procedures and the nature of decentralization of management and quality. While it is high on the school development grants, school programs, like, Shala Praveshastva, Bal Mela, and the constitution of VEC, BRC and CRC. (19) Lack of community participation and awareness is found to be the most acute difficulty faced by the functionaries of the DPEP. Politicization is also considered as one of the difficulties faced at the village level. (20) Repetition of the training program by various bodies, like, state, district and block level for teachers, lack of facilities in the training programs and the frequently changing text books and methods of teaching are found to be difficulties by the teachers in the DPEP schools. (21) There is a need to have a well organized monitoring and evaluating system by specifying roles at district, block and village levels for the sustainability of the program in an integral manner.
Keyword(s): Decentralized Management , District Primary Education Program, DPEP, Educational Planning & Policy