Friday, December 30, 2011

Development of Social Sectors and Role of Quality Primary Education

Mr. Parikshita Sahu
Research Scholar in Analytical & Applied Economics, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar

Education is the principal instrument of developing human capabilities that provides the instruments for liberation from ignorance and oppression. It is both the cause and effect of development. Education sector, one of the important social sectors in the developing countries plays a gigantic role in promoting the social as well as the economic growth and development of the concerned countries. More specifically, not the only education but the quality primary education will contribute a lot for its smooth acceleration. In primary education, if the quality will maintain then automatically all the problems in primary education i.e. enrolment, drop-out, out of school, retention, completion and so on will be robotically and gradually solved. The importance of quality components of primary education, its jurisdiction and its role towards the correction of deformities in the process of attaining the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) will be main thrust areas of the discussion. When the quality in primary education will be achieved then definitely the drop out rate will be drastically reduced, which will follow by increase in retention rate as well as the completion rate. This paper is an attempt for analysis of this.
Keywords: Elementary Education, quality education, Student preparedness, relevant curriculum, Teaching Learning Materials (TLMs). Education for All (EFA), Gross Enrolment ratio (GER),Net Enrolment ratio (NER),Transition Rate, Completion rates

Education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits. Yet millions of children and adults remain deprived of educational opportunities, many as a result of poverty. Out of different branches of social sector, primary education, as the principal component it has to play the pivotal role for achieving the Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) and sound economic growth of the society.
Education is the principal instrument of developing human capabilities that provides the instruments for liberation from ignorance and oppression. It is both the cause and effect of development.
Since, quality and relevant education depends on the fact that what teachers do with learners. It should be pointed out that quality of education is now an issue of global concern.
Teaching at any level and in whatever form of education, should command respect as a specialist profession. Respect for teaching (or lack of respect for it) has two major dimensions e.g. internal and external. The internal dimension is concerned with what is within the teachers themselves: their level of general education, their specialized (professional) training, their capacity for learning, how to learn, their aptitude and liking for teaching and their ability to educate the young. The internal dimension is also a function of teacher’s behavior and conduct and in particular, the teacher’s own self concept. The external dimension of teachers’ respect and dignity is the extent to which the teacher is respected and rewarded by society.
The main indicator of the quality of elementary education can be visualized in terms of its product – the learners’ achievement both in scholastic and co-scholastic areas i.e. the performance in various subjects of study and habits, attitudes, values and life skills necessary for becoming a good citizen.  The factors associated with success in these areas, which relate to conditions of learning and learning environment, are also sometimes considered as indicators of quality of elementary education.  Thus ensuring quality in the inputs and processes becomes necessary if quality achievement is aimed at all the steps in the elementary level.
What is quality of education?
Assessment may be defined as 'any method used to understand the current knowledge that a student possesses. The idea of current knowledge implies that what a student knows is always changing and that we can make judgment about student achievement through comparison over a period of time. Good assessment techniques provide accurate estimates of student performance and hence it enables teachers and decision-makers to make appropriate plan and strategies to augment the quality of education.
The current debate about the determinants of student achievement, findings of the Coleman Report (1966).In developing countries, the examination results are often used as a benchmark of the quality of education. However, such a method is loaded with great problems, as the examination system is limited in scope and coverage as far as learning is concerned. The research has established that acquiring both cognitive and non-cognitive competencies are necessary for a child’s overall development. An equally reliable measure of quality of education is whether pupils are learning effectively, improving their knowledge, skills and abilities; widening their experience and growing socially and morally or not. Ability to work with others, readiness to accept responsibility and to work for public good are highly praised characteristics among school leavers. But assessment tools do not test for such skills. While there is no consensus among educationists regarding the definition of the quality in education but there are several ways of measuring quality in education. In the context of school effectiveness, the concept of quality is linked to the efficiency of teaching-learning processes. Quality is a relative concept and not something that is absolute.
Mr Sheldon Shaeffer’s Head, Education Section, UNICEF New York presentation discussed ten components of quality education from the Dakar Framework, and outlined how educators can help children to realize their right to a good quality primary education. Essential ingredients were quality learners, quality content, quality teaching/learning process, quality learning environments, and quality outcomes. Throughout all these was highlighted the need for gender-sensitivity, and the overall need for rights-based, child-friendly schools, which were further described.

Some educationists are of the opinion to shift the concept from education for all to quality education for all; new equality is on accessing quality education by all. Their statements are that, for example, the no-detention policy at primary grades in several countries does not actually reveal the drop-out rate. More significantly, they referred to the shift of academic learning to learning of values as an emerging dimension of education. They are of the opinion that “failure of education in the 20th century was not failure to teach science but failure to teach human values”.
Eight Elements of Quality Education
A school that enables all children to attend regularly, learn effectively and graduate successfully that must required at least eight components which are technically referred as octagons of quality education.
They are as follows:-

  1. Competent and Motivated teachers,
  2. Active learning methods, accompanied by appropriate learning/teaching aids,
  3. Active participation of children and parents in school governance,
  4. Safe, sound and effective learning environment,
  5. Relevant curriculum-appropriate and relevant local needs.
  6. Student preparedness- Health status, high learning time, parents’ support, reasonable level of holistic development.
  7. Empowered and supportive school leadership and  
  8. Acceptable level of Government budget allocation/strong supervisory support.
Definitely, these eights are the fundamental compositions through which the quality primary education can be formulated. From the very outset, the competent and motivated teachers will be the principal care-givers. They will make the school environment so conducive that pupil will be automatically attracted towards the school. pupil will feel that as if they are in their own home. Therefore, for that environment so much of motivations along with the dedication on the part of the teachers are needed. The pedagogical development should be such that it will encourage teachers to change from using a traditional lecture approach to a more interactive style of teaching. Pedagogical techniques should include participatory and gender-sensitive teaching and learning methods and strategies that foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They should instill in pupils willingness and motivation to continue learning beyond the classroom
So far as the teaching learning methods and class-room transactions are concerned, the role of Teaching Learning Materials (TLMs) will be com first. Definitely, these materials will accelerate the teaching learning process and make easy to understand of any concepts for children. In this respect one thing must be taken into account that the preparation of TLMs should be done mutually by children and teachers with no cost or low cost materials. Here in process of preparation of these materials the local needs, culture, value and local materials should be given priorities.
The school environment and the school campus should be hazard free. The effective and conducive learning environment should be created inside the school campus.
Data and Methodology- This paper aims at investigating the dynamic relationship of Social Sector with different parameters and indicators of Primary Education. Here the data are collected from the primary as well as the secondary sources. In case of primary data, they have collected from the two study districts e.g. Keonjhar and Bhadrak of Odisha state. In case of secondary data, they have collected from different survey conducted under the scheme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

In case of student preparedness the holistic development of the children should be focused. Health-care, sanitation, parents’ participation in the process of school management and so on is the main components of student preparedness. Separate toilets for ladies, safe drinking water facilities, ensuring hand washing before taking Mid-Day-Meal (MDM), nail cutting, wearing clean uniform etc should be maintained regularly for this preparedness. Her we can cross checking the status of existing government funded school infrastructures in two blocks each in two districts i.e. Keonjhar and Bhadrak (tribal & non-tribal) of Odisha in Table-1 and Graph-a

Table-1 Existing School (Government) Infrastructure Of Keonjhar And Bhadrak Districts of Odisha.
Total No.of Schools
Total No. of classrooms
Without Drinkingwater
Without common Toilet
Without girls Toilet
Without access ramps

For quality education the relevant, appropriate, need based as well as area specific curriculum and syllabus should be framed to achieve the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE).In addition to that curriculum development throw some lights ranging from management of curriculum reform, to content and methodological issues related to citizenship education, multiculturalism, social exclusion, violence, and learning to live together through the teaching of history and geography.
In case of empowered and supportive school leadership, it will be ensured that as it is a community leadership programme, the community should own the programme personally. The school committee should extend all sorts of assistance especially in kind for improvement of the concerned school in particular and hence it will ultimately lead to the attainment of the UEE.
In the last part of the quality education is the strong supervision and monitoring of the programme. It states that all the aid, funds and assistance flowing from government or non-govt sources should be supervised and monitored strongly for the effective, proper and optimum utilization. As a result, the holistic development as well as the growth in educational system will be achieved.
Keeping aside all the above components this thing must be taken into account that many children especially in tribal pockets in India are disadvantaged and excluded from quality education because they do not have the opportunity to learn in the language they best understand. Normally a national or state language is used in most educational settings. However, this can be a major obstacle in gaining literacy skills for those who do not speak it. To sort out these problems some prescriptions should be recommended. The action areas should include guidance on the implementation of bi/multilingual education policies, language of instruction policies, elaboration of teaching-learning materials in national, state or local languages, promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, and use of the mother tongue (both in pupil and teacher training),promoting the community teachers to whom the pupil will be best understood and the like.
According to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to education. To achieve Education for All (EFA), states must give priorities for free and compulsory primary education. The right to education is unique in that it empowers the individual to exercise other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, attaining a life of dignity, while ensuring a brighter future for all, free from want and from fear. Primary education must be inclusive and accessible to all irrespective of caste, creed, color or community etc, in law as well as in fact. No provider of public education may discriminate on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, language, religion, opinion, disability, or social and economic status.
Since in mostly tribal dominated states like Odisha, it lacks the major components of quality education and hence the out of school children, which is the combination of drop-outs and never enrolled children are increasing due to different reasons. We can verify it by taking the case of these two districts in Table-2 and Graph-b.
Table-2     Out Of School Children With Reasons Of Keonjhar And Bhadrak Districts
S. No.
No of out of school children with reason
Lack of Interest
Lack of Access
Household Work
Earning compulsion
Socio Cultural reasons
Non-flexibility in School Timing and System of School




Bhadrak mplty ( u)
Quality Enhancement approach and SSA                        Graph-b

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will make efforts to take a holistic and comprehensive approach to the issue of quality. Efforts to decentralize the whole process of curriculum development in a bottom-up approach. In the process part it has given stress on the child-centered and activity-based learning system.

Learning by doing, learning by observation, work experience, art, music, sports and value education shall be made fully integral to the learning process. Appropriate changes will be made in the evaluation system to make it more continuous and less threatening. Performance of children will be constantly monitored in consultation with parents but shall not be restricted only to cognitive areas. Teachers’ role in preparation of textbooks and secondary learning materials will be enhanced. School timings will be made contextual. Based on a broad curriculum framework, districts would be free to define their content areas in their local contexts. State and national level institutions will facilitate this process of decentralized arrangements for development of curriculum and evaluation systems.
SSA includes several features that seek to improve the quality of elementary education, (i)ensuring basic provisioning to enable improvement in the quality of classroom transactions; (ii) large scale capacity building of States, for undertaking interventions for quality enhancement; and (iii) evaluation of quality related processes and assessment of learning outcomes. 
Quality issues in elementary education will be revolved around the quality of infrastructure and support services, opportunity time, teacher characteristics and teacher motivation, pre-service and in-service education of teachers, curriculum and teaching-learning materials, classroom processes, pupil evaluation, monitoring and supervision etc. Indeed improvement of quality in these parameters and its sustenance is a matter of grave concern for the whole system of education.  Some issues are mentioned below: 
Providing for reasonably good school building and equipment to all schools, providing quality pre-schooling facilities  to all children until 6 years of age, ensuring a minimum of 4 to 5 hours per day of meaningful stay of each child in school, improving the quality of existing pre-service teacher education, organizing quality in-service teacher education to all teachers on a periodical basis and with a follow up mechanism, revitalizing supervision system for quality elementary education, development of competency based and contextual teaching-learning material, improving teaching-learning processes to make them child centered, activity based, mastery learning oriented, introducing participatory management of elementary education with community support and the like

Teachers’ effectiveness could be defined in terms of teacher characteristics, his experiences, his cognitive and affective properties, the conditions to which he has to adjust and the characteristics of the school, classroom and student. Although each of these characteristics may contribute to teacher’s success, they are not the substance of effective teaching. A proper conceptualization of teaching and teacher’s effectiveness as a yardstick for quality assurance is necessary for a better understanding of what makes a teacher to be effective.

Since the quality components are includes health and sanitation the MDM was introduced by keeping in view of quality education.

Upper Primary Education and Its’ Quality Concerns
Since Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan covers the Upper Primary stage also, the focus in quality interventions would have to be on meeting the complex needs of this stage in terms of teacher qualification, competency, subject specific deployment in schools, academic support through BRCs / CRCs, training needs of teachers, classroom based support and supervision issues. Since SSA will be one of the first major programme interventions at Upper Primary stage (OBB, LJP, BEP, EFAUP had Upper Primary components), greater clarity with regard to the specific needs of this stage will emerge in the course of programme implementation.
When we will analyze the Gross Enrolment ratio (GER),Net Enrolment ratio (NER),Transition Rate, Completion rates and other rates by taking two blocks of two districts (tribal & non-tribal),that are Keonjhar and Bhadrak of odisha, the picture will be very clear. It has been presented in Table-3 & 4 and Graph-c & d                                              
Table-3, Completion Rate, Primary Graduates  And Transition Rate of Keonjhar and Bhadrak Districts
Block/ Mncipality
Completion Rate
No. of pry.graduates
Transition Rate from primary to UP
Bhadrak Mplty ( U)

Table-4   GER, NER, and Overall Repetition of Keonjhar and Bhadrak districts

 Mplt y
Children of 6-11 age
Children of 11-14 age group

Repetition Rate
Repetition Rate
Bhadrak mplty ( u)
Rationalization and Recruitment of Teachers
States have their own norms for recruitment of teachers and a lot of diversity exists in payments being made to new recruits. The programme will provide for primary and upper primary school teachers to ensure that there is no single teacher school. Now in mostly tribal dominated pockets many schools having five to seven classes are managed by a single teacher, even by a less experienced SSS(Swachhasevi Sikshya Sahayak).In this case the rationalization w.r.t teacher is needed. Some extra teachers who are overloaded in some schools should be transferred to the single teacher schools. So that the minimum PTR can be maintained. Overall, the effort should be to provide at least 1: 40 teacher pupil ratio (PTR).
Empirical Analysis
It is clear from the tables-4 that Net Enrolment ratios which are playing an important role in the process of primary education under the umbrella of SSA,has varied in two study districts as well as in both the age groups i.e children in the age bracket of 6-11 and children in the age bracket of 11-14 .Here it is clear from the table-4 and graph-d that in the age bracket of 6-11 the NER of Bhadrak district falls below the Keonjhar district but the case is just reverse in the case of the children in the age bracket of 11-14.But so far as the Completion rate is concerned ,here it is very clear from the table-3 that this rate is more in the Bhadrak district than Keonjhar district.It if due to less impact and under- awareness of tribal people than non tribals.  

Some Quality Monitoring Paraphernalia of NCERT
a continuous and comprehensive monitoring and supervision system has been developed by the NCERT in the form of quality monitoring tools. Major quality dimensions of elementary education covered under these formats are:
 (a)    Children’s Attendance
(b)    Community Support and Participation
(c)    Teacher and Teacher Preparation
(d)    Curriculum and Teaching Leaning Material
(e)    Classroom Practices and Processes
(f)      Learners’ Assessment, Monitoring and Supervision 
Values and attitudes components in quality education
Dr Lourdes Quisumbing, President, APNEIVE (Asia-Pacific Network of International and Education and Values Education) spoke on the topic, The Values/Attitudes Dimension in Quality Education, made an emphatic presentation on education in human values, which is a missing dimension of education. Her presentation focused on three major aspects of values and attitudes. They were the origins of values dimension in quality education; current definitions of quality education, particularly in regard to standards and indicators of quality; and the need for a re-definition of quality in education, using an holistic and integrated approach.

The quality of education and its determinants remain a topic of interest since the beginning of formal education. It is possible to develop indicators to measure learning along important dimensions, closely related to the curriculum, both in standardized assessment instruments and in alternative for ms of assessment. Non standardized assessment refers to the traditional form of assessment by teachers on regular basis through classroom interaction, questions, assignment of homework and other such techniques. The results of such assessment may be accurate or faulty, depending upon the teachers’ skill as a judge of various indicators and their applicability in a given situation. Standardized tests have prove d useful in comparing, generalizing and indicating levels of attainment based on pre-defined standards. It is assumed that levels of learners’ achievement are assessed at best through standardized achievement tests. Since the beginning of sixties, the measurement of students’ academic performance on regular basis has been an ongoing effort in the advanced countries. Based on these results policy level interventions are made so that the deficiencies in learners’ achievement can be overcome.
Teachers and Quality of Education
To attain quality education focus should be thrown upon teachers, specifically upon the improvement of teacher education. It will address at least these issue i.e. the substantive challenges of recruiting, educating, appraising and paying teaching professionals, and then providing, as far as possible, a quality teaching/learning environment in which to operate.

Quality of Education and economic development
We are now transiting to a knowledge society where the quality and relevance of education would play a crucial role in economic development. Poor quality of teaching learning and systemic level inefficiencies affect the learners as well the society in many ways. The long-term implications include lower productivity levels of the perspective workforce, resistance to modernization and perpetuation of inefficient production systems where cost benefit ratio adversely affect the economic sustainability of production processes.
Conclusions and recommendations
The concern for quality of education has been voiced from time to time in India. The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 and the revised NPE, 1992, again highlighted the urgency to address the quality concerns on priority basis. Quality can not improve by itself. It requires multi-pronged and strategic reforms in teacher training; improvements in the facilities and infrastructure in schools; teachers’ motivation; and a change in the style of teaching to make it attractive to the students. The policy also recommended that a system of continuous and comprehensive evaluation would be established. Besides the state level schemes to improve access and quality of education, a number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and externally funded projects, undertaken in the recent years, are experimenting with various models of bringing about increased coverage, retention and improvement in quality.

Different studies have raised many issues that have serious implication for quality improvement

·       The students from privately managed schools perform better as compared to the students from government and aided schools, although the evidence is limited. It is also clear that despite better performance, even the private schools are far away from achieving the goals set up by the MLLs.
·       There are no mechanisms for assessing the achievement levels for children studying through non-formal and alternative schools. Since these systems are more of informal and flexible, it is important to establish their credentials through effective monitoring and evaluation.

·       Upgrade curriculum periodically, integrate technology and high quality instructional materials and to help students in learning the applications of mathematics in real life. Teachers should be encouraged to develop and use locally relevant instructional materials.

·       A national testing agency or a research cell in the national/state institutions should be established to undertake continuous and comprehensive analysis of learners’ achievement at primary and upper primary stage. The cell should assists the state governments to meet the challenging mathematics standards at primary stage, work closely with teachers unions and other NGOs for upgrading the skills of teachers on continuous basis. Educational administrators needs assessment information that will help them remove barriers to learning by telling schools to decide on what works well and what does not. Enable teachers to identify students learning needs early, before the problem becomes too big. The school administrators should also ensure that that the dialogue between the schools and children is better informed; giving parents a better picture of the progress of their children and the effectiveness of the schools.
·                 In the Indian context, there is no mechanism for the training of head teachers of primary and upper primary schools in school leadership. In most countries, such training is a part of the capacity building exercise. Review of the professional development strategies for the teachers and head teachers stressing both subject matter expertise and pedagogical mastery is thus necessary.

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