Volume 3 Month 1 Day 2- Book Review ‘Governance of School Education in India’

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Governance of School Education in India; Edited by: Marmar Mukhopadhyay and R. S. Tyagi; First Published in: July 2001; Published by: National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi; List Price: Rs. 500 (Hardbound); Pages: 340    


The book ‘Governance of School Education in India’ is an edited publication of National University of Educational Planning and Administration. It has been edited by Marmar Mukhopadhyay and R S Tyagi. The book brings together significant contributions from thirteen authors who are educationists, experts, planners and professionals in Education. The book is a well-intended attempt to examine the implications of the changes occurred in Indian education system from time to time as a consequence of the reports of Educational Commissions, Committees and the National Policies on Education.

The book is based on the comparative analysis of different aspects of educational administration in different States/UTs. It provides a successful  analysis of the policies, programmes, rules, statutes and acts that constitute educational governance in India in order to address the existing gaps in the area of Educational administration, Management, Policy and Planning in India.

The book provides a complete picture of the school education system in India since post independence period. It throws light on the different stages of development of the education system in India. It shows how the post independence period have come up with various commissions, committees, policies and programmes that have brought tremendous changes in our education system. Along with a focus on the positive interventions of these reports, statutes, acts, policies and programmes in the area of education, the book also addresses the existing gaps in the present education system and insists that various reforms need to be introduced. The book looks back to the past events as well as the future demands and requirements of the education system. In this way, the book has presented a retrospection of school education in India.

The book has been organized into fifteen chapters written by different experts, educationists, planners and professionals.  These chapters discuss different issues related with the school education in India. Some of the areas that  are discussed in the book are-Legal aspects of education; Educational policies and programmes; Role of local bodies, private efforts and community participation in education;  Educational programmes for the disadvantaged groups; Personnel management; Financial management; Information management; Educational planning practices in India; Inspection and supervision of schools; Institutional planning and management and the Proposed reforms in the governance of Indian Education. Thus, the book can be called an excellent source to understand the underpinned elements of the Indian education and its limitations. All the fifteen chapters of the book are worth mentioning, but I would like to inform in my review only those chapters that I found most insightful.

First chapter of the book, written by Marmar Mukhopadyay provides the reader with the basic understanding of the governance of the Indian education and the four pillars on which it stands i.e. educational policy, educational planning, educational administration and educational management. The chapter gives the conceptual understanding of the terms and the controversial grammar of the term administration and management. The book informs the gaps in the educational policy, planning, administration and management. For example, the author focuses that even after the 73rd Constitutional amendment, there is very little evidence of district specific or panchayat specific educational policies. The institutional policies also, are fewer and far between. For planning, author focuses that there is a lack of holistic planning process for education. Author suggests that the educational planning should deal with the contents, instructional material, the instructional designs and processes, and the assessment and evaluation process in reference to individual and social goals of education. Author agues that the Indian educational planning has adopted a partial planning approach restricting itself largely to resource planning and also it is not based on adequate research.  For administration author points out that the administrative machinery in different states and UTs have become diversified and multi-faceted due to the political compulsions and bureaucratic contingencies. This diversification has resulted in the lack of co-ordination in the states.

In the second chapter, written by R S Tyagi, he has discussed the economic and social contributions of the education. He informs that the economic resources in India have not been properly channelized and socialised for the social development of the country. He successfully argued that India could have crossed China in literacy, had investments been properly made in social sectors like health, family welfare, and education. Regarding the education system, Tyagi informed that the different level of schooling, that is, primary, upper primary and secondary in different states and UTs, is still not uniform as per national guidelines. He also focussed on an alarming issue of the weak structure of the upper primary education in the country. Further, he has presented the overview of the educational facilities and growth in India.

The fifth chapter, written by R S Tyagi again, gives the brief history of the educational departments in India and provides the present set-up of the educational departments. It talks about the secretariat level, directorate level, advisory board and bodies. It also talks about the field level set-up of educational administration including regional/divisional/zonal level, district level and below the district, sub-divisional and block level.  The chapter informs some constraints and problems involved with these educational departments such as there has been a lack of inter and intra-departmental coordination; there is no set norm for fixing the size of administrative machinery; there is lack of participation in decision making process and there is inadequate decentralization.

In sixth chapter, written by Trilok N. Dhar, he examines the role of local bodies, private efforts and community participation in education. Author has presented a historical review of the community development programme that was initiated in 1952 and focuses on how the community development programme did not fulfil its objectives as it became a bureaucratically controlled activity. Author has also talked about the various recommendations of the Balwant Rai Mehta Committee, 1957 for democratic decentralization at local level. The chapter also talks about the recommendations provided by the National Policy on Education, 1986 and CABE Committee set up in 1993 for promoting the role of local bodies in education. The author has also provided the present status of the set up and role of local bodies in different states. He has focused on the states where local bodies are present but they play insignificant or no role in education, the states where panchayati raj bodies, in the form visualized by CABE Committee do not exist and the states where local bodies have very limited functions. In this way author has presented before the readers an overview of how the local bodies are presently functioning in different states of India and the limitations in their roles and functions. Further, the chapter focuses on the role of community participation in promoting elementary education. In this respect author has discussed the role of Village Education Committees and Parents’ Teachers’ Association to actively involve the community in various activities of school education at village level. Author has summarized his chapter by discussing on the issues for consideration regarding the role of local bodies and community participation in education. Some of these issues that requires due consideration are: hesitation in entrusting local bodies with real authority, particularly those functioning at the village level; the insufficient availability of financial resources in the hands of local bodies and that there should be substantial devolution of financial resources to local bodies; the lack of awareness in the community about their rights and responsibilities and the need to build capacity so that they can effectively perform their roles; the need of promoting micro planning for educational plans at least in school education, etc.

Author has also expressed the need of research into some of the issues related with local bodies and education. These issues are: Assigned roles and actual performance of functions of local bodies; Financial resources and status to local bodies; Impact of local bodies on the educational development; Problems encountered by the local bodies in implementation; and the Perceptions of representatives of local bodies.

Thus, the basic purpose of writing this book is too bring forward for consideration the lacunas and gaps in our education system It provides a collection of suggestions contributed by different educationists, professionals and experts in order to introduce reforms in the education system. The book is a reflection of ideas that can help in meeting the challenges of the school education system in India. Authors of the book insist on the consideration of different issues involved in our present education system in order to strengthen the pillars of school education system, that is, policy, planning, administration and management.

The style of writing in the book has the characteristics of coherence, originality and fluidity. The language of the book is simple and easy to understand for readers. The accuracy of the title needs no defence as it perfectly matches with the text. The book well explains all the key terms and provides tables, figures and abbreviations for the convenience of the readers. Tables in the book, provides a rich source of information in form of statistics and data. There are impressive figures in the book such as – the holistic view of governance of education, model of policy formulation, orbital model of educational planning, empowering teachers, schemata for information system, etc. These tables and figures made reading more interesting and easy to understand.   

The book is having an implication on the policy, planning, administration and management in education. The book argues in favour of increasing decentralized multi-layer policy making in India that should include both the indicative policies at national level as well as more perspective policies at the local level.  For planning education, book argues that there is a need of introducing an orbital model of planning and planning for education should consider the individual as well as the social goals of education, planning for education should not be limited to resource planning only but the missing elements like projection of educational participation and the projection of manpower requirements should also find their due place in educational planning. The book also argues that there should be an increased effort for the effective management of quality of education and progressive movement towards the school based management.

Based on expert analysis of rules, statutes, acts, policies and programmes that constitute educational governance, the book argues for major shift in educational governance to cope with the demands of 21st century.

The importance of the book lies in the fact that it enables readers to view the complete structure, processes and gaps in the Indian school education system and to provide valuable suggestions for strengthening the system. The book is a valuable reference material for students, researchers, educationists as well as all those who are interested in the development of education in India. Particularly, I would like to suggest this important volume to all those who are interested in the area of local governance and community participation in education as it is a good reference material for this area that mentions some research areas of local governance and community participation in education.

Being a research scholar in education and ‘community participation and local governance in education’ as my optional paper, I am personally benefitted from the book as it has strengthened my understanding of the existing gaps in our present education system. The book holds capacity to stimulate the readers to conduct research in the neglected areas of school education in India.


 Deepshikha Singh

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