Role of Diagnosis with Focus on Upper Primary Education

 

ARUN C. MEHTA

Fellow

Sub-National Systems Unit

 National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, 17-B, Sri Aurobindo Marg,

New Delhi - 110016 (INDIA)

 

Need of Diagnosis

 

There are many stages of planning but diagnosis or stocktaking is the most important one.  It has got twin objectives of identifying educationally backward areas and focus and target groups, which need attention of planners and require immediate intervention. The diagnosis exercise may also result into identification of a variety of problems that a particular system is facing. The problems identified may be of different nature, such as low participation in upper primary classes, availability of only a few primary graduates, inadequate number of teachers who can teach mathematics and science, high incidence of drop out in upper primary classes, low percentage of trained teachers and non-availability of female teachers.

 

Though the focus of the present exercise is on upper primary level of education but a good amount of information concerning to primary education also need to be analyzed.  It may however be noted that without attaining the status of universal primary enrolment, the goal of universal elementary education cannot be achieved.  Primary enrolment is a function of 6-11 years population but the same is not true in case of the upper primary enrolment.  Enrolment in upper primary is not a function of 11-14 years population but is a function of primary graduates. Children who graduate primary level are expected to get admission in upper primary classes. It may also be possible that a large number of children of upper primary age i.e. 11-14 years are out-of-system (may also be dropped out children) or still in the primary classes. Therefore, upper primary level cannot be expanded in isolation of primary level. An inefficient primary system would send fewer children to upper primary level.  Thus, availability of graduate’s alongwith the transition from primary to upper primary level would decide the expansion of upper primary level. The demand is more likely to be in the educationally disadvantage areas where primary education has not been fully expanded. Further expansion of primary education in these areas and high transition from primary to upper primary level will generate more intensive demand for the upper primary education to expand.  Further improvement in transition may result into rapid demand for upper primary education. Therefore, the diagnosis exercise should also examine the present status of primary education and its future prospects in terms of graduates that would be available to upper primary level in the years that follow.

 

Nature of Statistics

 

A variety of information is required for undertaking the diagnosis exercise. The information required can be classified as primary and secondary data, time-series and cross-sectional data, quantitative and qualitative data, information at micro and macro levels and also under the formal and non-formal system of education.  In other words, all the possible sources that give information on upper primary education should be explored as this will help to correctly analyze the educational development in a district and its blocks.

 

Generally, information available through secondary sources is used in the diagnosis but variables on which information is not readily available can be collected from the field, which is termed as primary data. This set of data is then converted into the form of indicators so as to take stock of the situation. Both the cross-sectional and time-series data are used in the diagnosis exercise that depends upon the nature of the variable, which is under study.  Generally, cross-sectional data are used to take stock of the situation but there are a few variables, such as enrolment, age-specific population etc., which need time-series data.

 

 One of the important aspects of the diagnosis is the level at which the information is analyzed. This can be done both at the micro as well as the macro level. Thus, while undertaking diagnosis at the district level, it would be better to analysis development of upper primary education at the disaggregated levels, such as the sub-districts level. The aggregated information about out-of-school and never enrolled children may be of limited use unless the same is analyzed at the block level. This would help to identify educationally backward areas that would help to evolve area specific strategies. It may quite be possible that an educationally advanced location may have educationally backward areas or the educationally backward locations may have even advanced areas or pockets.  In the short term, the diagnosis can be undertaken at the district and block levels but ultimately one should look forward to analyze village specific information that may lead us to think of the village education plans.

In addition to the formal system, the diagnosis exercise should also cover the non-formal system of education.  Similarly, data available through the non-governmental agencies should also found a place in the analysis, as the same will help to develop a true picture of the status of the upper primary education. The official agencies collect data from all the recognized educational institutions including the private aided and unaided ones.  In addition to these institutions, a large number of both primary and upper primary unrecognized institutions are in existence in almost every part of the country but practically no data on these institutions are available. The recent survey conducted in one of the DPEP states reveals that their contribution to the total primary enrolment is of the tune of about 25-30 per cent.  It may quite be possible that large number of children those who are currently not enrolled and termed out-of-school may few of them already been in these unrecognized institutions. Therefore, data concerning to unrecognized institutions should also be considered that could be generated on sample basis. The data generated through the micro planning exercises, if available may also be used to know out-of-school, never enrolled and dropout children in different age groups. Finally, in addition to information which is quantitative in nature, qualitative information may also need to be analyzed that depends up on the nature of variable which is under study.

 

Possible Data Sources

 

The entire diagnosis exercise can be divided into two parts, namely analysis based on ( i) secondary and (ii) primary data. It may be noted that all possible secondary sources of educational data that give minutest information on upper primary should be explored. This may include District Census Handbooks, publications of the Directorate of Education, Reports generated by the District/Block Education Officers, Sixth All India Educational Survey, National Sample Survey Organization, data generated through research studies conducted by the governmental and non-governmental agencies and individual researchers including the DPEP baseline and social assessment studies, Micro Planning and MIS under the DPEP, village registers etc.  The list is suggestive one and other sources that vary from district to district may be added and explore for the diagnosis. It may quite be possible that information on many of the variables required in diagnosis may not simply be available from these sources.  For that purpose, primary data would have to be collected either from schools, teachers and head master and/or from the households initially on the sample basis. The district planning teams may like to identify such data gaps.

 

Targets

 

The targets fixed under the new to be launched 'Serva Siksha Abhiyan' programme, for the universal primary enrolment is year 2007 and that for the elementary enrolment year 2010.  Before that by the year 2003, all left out children will brought back to the system. These are the national goals, which are indicative in nature.  It may however be noted that a number of districts may be in a position to achieve these goals earlier than the targeted year but there may be a few that may not in a position to achieve even after the year 2010. Therefore, the diagnosis will help the districts to a great extent to fix district-specific targets.  Within the district, there may be block-specific targets also. The diagnosis will also suggest weather separate targets for girls, SC and ST children need to be fixed or not. Projection exercises if undertaken may be useful to fix realistic targets.  It may also be noted carefully that achieving UPE by 2007 means all the children of age-6 year would have to be enrolled in Grade I by the year 2002 and are retained in the system till 2007.  All these children should then transit to the upper primary level and retain in the system till the year 2010 to achieve the goal of UEE.

 

Analysis based on Secondary Sources

 

            The analysis based on secondary sources of data is aggregate in nature which can be undertaken both at the district and block levels. A variety of information is required for this purpose, which can be linked to different components of universal enrolment, such as access, coverage, retention and quality of education. In addition, a good amount of demographic information also needs to be analyzed.   Since the Census is conducted once in ten years, the population may need to be projected both at the district and block levels. It has been noticed that irrespective of the DPEP districts, the population projection exercises have not been undertaken in a manner that it should be. It is also quite possible that the districts and also the States do not have adequate competencies to undertake this important but most neglected component of the planing exercise. The computations of enrolment ratio, out-of-school children, school places etc. all require age-specific population. A little under or over estimation in age-specific population may dramatically change an indicator. At the State level, the population projections are made available by the 'Standing Committee of Experts on Population Projections' set-up by the Planning Commission up to the year 2011 but district-specific projections are rarely available. Therefore, projection exercises at the district and block levels are required to undertake to project population in the years 2003, 2007 and 2010 and also in the intermediary years.  This will help district teams to know more about their future clientele. The district teams may like to use modules prepared by NIEPA in this direction.

 

            Below a list of items required for undertaking diagnosis of upper primary education is presented.  Needless to mention that the list is only suggestive one and more items may be added keeping in view requirements at different levels. The list is developed based on the two studies conducted recently by NIEPA on upper primary education.

 

DEMOGRAPHY

·        Total population, its age and sex, rural and urban distribution and SC and ST population

·        Age-specific population: 6-11 and 11-14 years, boys/girls, SC and ST and rural and urban population

·        Single-age population '6-year': boys/girls

·        Population growth rates: total, 6-11 and 11-14 years, separately for boys and girls

·        Sex ratio

·        Number of Habitations

·        Number of habitations distributed according to different population slabs

 

ACCESS

Habitation Related Information

·        Number of habitations having access to primary and upper primary schooling facilities within a distance prescribed in the state policies.  Invariably it is 1 km. in case of primary and 3 km. in case of upper primary schools

·        Number of habitations according to population norms having accessed to primary and upper primary schooling facilities. Generally, population norm in a habitation is 300 and more in case of primary and 500 and more in case of upper primary schools

·        Percentage of rural population having accessed to primary and upper primary schooling facilities within a distance as prescribed in the state policies

·        Number of unserved habitations: not presently served by primary and upper primary schooling facilitates as prescribed by the state norms

·        Unserved habitations distributed according to availability of innovative and alternative schooling facility

·        Number of habitations having primary ( and EGS) schooling facility that need up-gradation

·        Number of habitations having unrecognized primary and upper primary schooling facilities

 

School Related Information

·        Ratio of primary to upper primary schools

·        Upper primary schools by management: government, local bodies, private aided and unaided

·        Type of upper primary school: missionary, trust/society, corporate management etc.

·        Schools by year of establishment

·        Distance of upper primary school from the nearest primary school

·        Distance of upper primary school from the nearest upper primary school

·        Distance from the nearest high school

·        Type of upper primary school: upper primary only, upper primary with primary, upper primary and higher secondary, primary, upper primary and higher secondary etc.

·        Number of catchment schools for upper primary schools

·        Private unrecognized schools providing upper primary education

·        Teacher/school and average sections per school

 

PHYSICAL AND ACADEMIC FACILITIES IN SCHOOL

            School Buildings

·        Operation Blackboard Scheme: year of coverage, items received under the scheme, whether items received on time, its adequacy and utilization, are teachers  trained to use items received under OBB

·        Availability of school buildings: no building, rented building, own building etc.

·        Type of school building: thatched, kuchha, pucca etc.

·        Condition of school building: need new building, need major repairs, need minor repairs and need no repairs

·        Distribution of schools by number of sections; 1 section only, 2, 3, etc.

·        Schools distributed according to enrolment size: up to 25, 26-50, 51-75 etc.

·        Total number of classrooms in school building: 1 only, 2, 3, 4-6, 7-10, 11-5 and 16 and above and rooms available for teaching/learning activities

·        Schools distributed according to availability of separate room for head master and staff room

 

Ancillary Facilities

·        First aid kits, immunization facilities, medical check up, safe drinking water, electricity connection, availability of toilets, separate toilet for girls, play grounds, school boundary, dustbins, boxes, almirahs, tat-pattis, benches/chairs, desks, chairs for teachers, table for teacher etc.

Academic Facilities

·        Blackboard, pin-up board, chalk and dusters, bell, music instruments, children's book, book bank, PTA, text books, subscribing magazines, journals etc; reference books/dictionary/encyclopedias, math kits, mini tool kits, primary science kits, games equipment, play materials, charts (health), globe, maps, additional requirements, if any (rooms, teaching aids, etc)

 

ENROLMENT

·        Growth in upper primary enrolment (aggregate and grade-wise): boys/girls, SC, ST, OBC, others and also GER and NER

·        Number of graduates according to schools/habitations/catchment area etc.

·        Enrolment distributed by type of school: boys, girls and co-educational, by management: government, local bodies, private aided and private unaided, by private management, by nature of independent or integrated schools

·        Enrolment in private unrecognized schools

·        Repetition rate; grade  V, VI, VII/VIII: boys/girls/SC/ST

·        Retention rate at primary and elementary level: boys/girls/SC/ST

·        Never enrolled, out-of-school, dropout children

·        Distribution of children in the age-group 6-14 years who are out-of-school and who have not completed primary level

·        Distribution of children in the age-group 6-9 years who can return to primary school or its equivalent alternative school

·        Distribution of out-of-school children of age-group 12-14 years according to level they attained (to make arrangements)

·        Transition rates: primary to upper primary and upper primary to secondary level: boys/girls/SC/ST

·        Attendance rates: boys/girls/SC/ST

·        Indicators of internal efficiency: input/output ratio, years/input etc., wastage on account of repetition and dropout

·        Average enrolment/school, pupil-teacher ratio, average enrolment per section/grade, student per classroom, teacher classroom ratio etc.

TEACHERS

·        Upper primary schools distributed according to teachers: no teacher, 1 teacher, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-12, 12-21, etc. and by sex

·        Teachers posts sanctioned, in position and vacancies

·        Teachers by SC/ST/OBC: male/female

·        Educational qualifications of teachers: below matric, matric/secondary, higher secondary, university graduate, post graduate and above

·        Marital status of teacher

·        Teachers by employment status: ad-hoc, temporary, regular

·        Background of teachers: occupation of his parents, education of parents, education and occupation of teachers' spouse, number of teachers their educational status, type of school preferred

·        Specialization of teachers: language, social science, mathematics, others

·        Type of training received: elementary teacher training/B.Ed. or equivalent/other training, frequency of in-service training received, institutions provided training

·        Distribution of teachers involved in multi-grade teaching

·        Distribution of teachers according to subject they teach

·        Distribution of upper primary teachers teaching other levels i.e. primary, secondary

·        Access to teaching aids

·        Teachers give class work to children: regularly, sometimes, not at all

·        Home work to children: regularly, sometimes, not at all

·        Distribution of teaching time: discipline, talking to class, students copy from board, group work, give problems and exercises, correction and feed back, other activities, help to individual child

·        Distribution of teachers according to use of teaching aids: using no aids, teachers guide, dictionary, other books then text books, map, globe, charts, flash boards, science kit, math kit etc.

·        Time allocation to activities other than in class: planning and preparation for class, correction of tests/home works, extra classes, tuition, feedback to students on performance in tests etc.

·        Academic support that the teacher receives from principal/BEO, other teachers in school, from school complex head/teacher

·        In-service training requirements and areas of training required

·        Monthly gross salary of teacher

·        Educational qualifications of teachers: below matric, matric/secondary, higher secondary, university graduate, post graduate and above

·        Percentage trained teachers

·        Teaching experience in years: up to 5 years, 6-10 years, 11-15 years, 16-20 years, 21 and above

 

SCHOOL MANAGEMENT

·        Distribution of schools inspected: 0,1 ,2 ,3 4 and above

·        Schools inspected by whom: DEO, BEO, Head School complex etc.

·        Number of school working days

·        Instructional time per grade per week

·        Time spend per month outside by head master

·        Time spend per month on administrative activities by head master

·        Means of evaluating teachers performance: no evaluation, observation of classes, performance of students in test, check class notes of teacher

 

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

·        Distribution of schools according to availability of PTA/VEC

·        Frequency of staff meetings

·        Frequency of PTA/VEC/School Management Committees  meetings

·        How is VEC being formed: nomination, election, etc.

 

FINANCIAL PARAMETERS

·        Percentage of budget spent on education/elementary education/salaries of teachers, percentage to State Domestic Product Total expenditure on upper primary education, expenditure by school type, per school expenditure by management, per school expenditure distributed according to management, per student expenditure by type and management of school etc.

PROBLEMS FACED BY SCHOOLS

·        Inadequate school building, building need repair, need more rooms, need other physical facilities, need more teachers, need more staff rooms, required more teaching learning materiel, people prefer private schools, teachers punctuality, need more government grants etc.