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  1. Volume 2 Month 5 Day 20 – NEGLECT OF GIRLS’ SECONDARY EDUCATION IN UP

    by

    Research Paper

     

     

     

    NEGLECT OF GIRLS’ SECONDARY EDUCATION IN UTTAR PRADESH: STATE POLICY AND PRACTICES

     

     

     

     

     

    Deepshikha Singh

    Research Scholar

    NUEPA

     

     

     

     

    NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATIONAL PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION

    NEW DELHI

     

     

    ABSTRACT

     

    Secondary Education is the crucial stage of the schooling system in India as it serves as a gateway to higher education and to the labour market. There has been always the lack of policy focus on the secondary education, especially that of girls. State made a number of attempts for improving access and equity at the elementary stage and has also achieved desired success in it, but it is the secondary education that hasn’t received its desired attention so far. What is more concerned is that a large number of girls are deprived of secondary education due to the lack of policy efforts. The neglect of female secondary education forms a common picture in many states of the country and one such state is Uttar Pradesh. In Uttar Pradesh, the absence of the clearly outlined policy and comprehensive management framework for secondary education reveals the neglect of female secondary schooling. The neglect of female secondary education both in terms of policy initiatives and resource allocation is highly visible in UP. The present paper will focus on the resourcing, management, and provisioning of secondary schooling in UP with a view to assess policy implications for gender equitable secondary education. The paper also focuses on how the privatization of secondary schools and the establishment of massive private schools affect the girls’ participation in secondary schooling.

    Secondary Education has its gloomy picture in the state. There is no concern paid by the State policy to the fact that, Universalization of Elementary Education is difficult to achieve without greater investments in post-elementary education. The paper deals with the weak and negligible role played by the State policy in addressing the quality and expansion concerns for encouraging female secondary education.

     

     

     

     

     

    INTRODUCTION

    Secondary Education is a crucial and terminal stage of the school education system India. It is a gateway for higher education and also a vital link to the world of work. The developed countries have reached a stage where secondary education has become universal; it is undergoing a transformation in the developing countries including India.

    Secondary education serves as a bridge between elementary and higher education and prepares young persons between the age group of 14-18 for entry into higher education or work situations. The population of children in this age group has been estimated to be 88.5 million as per Census, 2001.

     

    On Way to Universalizing Secondary Education

    Throughout the world, secondary education is becoming mass education, and educational expansion has change the types and ability levels of the students served by this stage of schooling In other words, quality and relevance of secondary education is not the same thing it used to be in the past.

    Secondary education in India comprises classes IX to XII and covers children of the age group 14-17 years. Secondary education is further divided into two stages, i.e. Secondary stage covering classes IX-X (14-15 years age group) and Senior Secondary stage covering classes XI-XII (16-17 years age group).Concerted efforts during the last five decades have resulted in manifold increase in the  number of the institution, teachers and students. The average annual growth rate of secondary and senior secondary schools during 1990-91 to 2004-05 has been 4.71%.

     

     

     

     

    The following table shows the growth in secondary education from 1990-91 to 2004-05:

     

    GROWTH IN SECONDARY EDUCATION, 1990-91 to 2004-05

    Indicators

    1990-91

    2000-01

    2001-02

    2002-03

    2003-04

    2004-05

    No. of Sec./Sr. Sec. Schools

    79796

    126047

    133492

    137207

    145962

    152049

    No. of Teachers in Sec./ Sr. Sec. Schools (in 000)

    1334

    1761

    1777

    2033

    2024

    2083

    Enrolment in Sec./Sr. Sec. Schools (in millions)

    19.1

    27.6

    30.5

    33.2

    35.0

    37.1

    (Source: Selected Educational Statistics, 2004-05, MHRD, Government of India, New Delhi)

    During 1990-91 through 2004-05, enrolment in secondary and senior secondary schools increased substantially. The annual average growth rate of enrolment was 3.8% from 1990-91 to 2000-01 which increased to 7.7% during 2001-01 to 2004-05. It may be noted that the proportionate increase in girls’ enrolment was higher than that of the boys. Whereas the annual average growth rate for boys was 3.8%, the same for girls was 6.6%.

    The participation of girls at secondary level of education has been increasing steadily through the years. In 1990-91, 32.9%of the students enrolled in secondary and senior secondary schools were girls. Their percentage increased to 38.6% in 2000-01 and further to 41.5%in 2004-05.

    The drop out rate at secondary level (I-X) in 1990-91 was 71.3 % which decreased to 68.6% in 2000-01 and further to 61.9% in 2004-05. However, the decrease in the drop out rate for girls was more than that of boys during 1990-91 to 2004-05. Although the trend is encouraging, concerted efforts are being made to ensure further reduction in the drop-out rate.

     

    Focus on Secondary Education in the Five Year Plans

    The focus of the Ninth Five Year Plan was on reducing disparities, renewal of curricula with emphasis on vocationalisation and employment oriented course, expansion and diversification of the open learning system, reorganization of teacher training and the greater use of information and communication technology. Hostel facilities for girls, integrated education for the disabled, free education for girls etc. have also received attention. During this period the various Central institutes/ organizations like National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT), National Open School (NOS), Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas were further strengthened.

    While in terms of absolute numbers, state financing of secondary education continued to grow (through it is still inadequate), financing of secondary and higher education has shown a declining trend in terms of percentage spending on education from the Sixth Plan onwards. The share of elementary education in total spending has been increasing, reflecting the priority to implement free and compulsory elementary education.

    Internal compulsions and international commitments are forcing the secondary education system to gear up to meet the ever-increasing demand for education. Initiatives such as the externally aided District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, increasing number of schools in the private sector and the drive for elimination of the gender gap in line with the Dakar Declaration on Education for All in 2000. Concentrated efforts, backed by national consensus, are called for to meet these daunting challenges.

     The major thrust in the Tenth Five Year Plan, thus, is to meet the increased demand for secondary education. The Government has to play a greater role to the encourage opening of new secondary schools, expansion of capacity of the existing schools, expansion of the capacity of the existing schools including double shifts, upgrading of upper primary schools in backward, unserved and underserved areas, as also expansion and diversification of open schooling and distance education system. One of the many options being considered during the Tenth plan is for the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to establish schools in partnership in with voluntary agencies. It is proposed to set up 150 Kendriya Vidyalaya (fully funded by the Government) in addition to the present network of 854 schools. Another option is to provide a one time grant/ seed money to societies, trusts and not for profit organizations like the R.K. Mission, the Jesuits, the DAV Trust, which already run reputed schools to encourage them to set up more schools.

    The Targets of the Eleventh Five Year Plan for the success of secondary education are as following:

    • Raising Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for the secondary school going age group (14-18 years), which was 37.5% in 2002-03 to at least 65% by 2011-12 in the general stream (besides those in the vocational stream);
    • Reducing gender and social disparities in GER to within 5 percentage points and minimizing rural and urban disparity in GER;
    • Bringing down Pupil-Teacher Ratio at the secondary stage to about 25 ensuring suitable subject-wise availability of teachers and increasing percentage of trained teachers to 100%; and
    • Improving quality of secondary education and pupils’ achievement levels so that pass percentage in X & XII Board Examinations improves to around 75%.

    At present the Centre’s intervention in secondary schooling is at two levels through:

    • Apex National Level Bodies like Navodaya Vidyalaya Samities (NVS), the  Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan (KVS), National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), and the Central Tibetan School Administration (CTSA).
    • Centrally Sponsored Schemes like Access with Equity, Quality Improvement in Schools, and ICT in schools and Integrated Education for Disabled Children.

    In India, the Boards of Secondary Education are responsible for implementing the secondary education system in the country. Accordingly it is their duty to manage change and quality in school education in the country.

     

    Neglect of Secondary Education in India

    There is a general presumption among many policy makers that secondary education needs not any serious concern in comparison to that of elementary education. On the other hand, it is literacy and primary education that is argued to be important. Estimates of internal rate of return also contributed to strengthening of such a presumption. Here is an attempt to show that the general presumption on the negligible role of secondary education is not valid and that post elementary education is important in various ways such as it leads to reduction in poverty, in improving infant mortality and life expectancy and for economic growth.

    While primary education gives the basic three R’s, rarely does it provide skills necessary for employment-self employment or otherwise, than can ensure a reasonable level of wages and economic living. Moreover, most of the literacy and primary education programmes are also found to be not imparting literacy that is sustainable in such a way that children don’t relapse into illiteracy.

    Secondly, primary education rarely serves as a meaningful terminal level of education. Thirdly even if primary education is able to take the people from below poverty line to above the poverty line, it is possible that this could be just above the poverty line, but not much above. On the other hand, it is secondary education that can provide skills that could be useful in the labour market. It can be argued that it is secondary education or higher education, besides elementary education, that forms a ‘human capability’ and a ‘human freedom’.

    In India, ‘Universalization of Elementary Education’ has been received greater attention as against secondary education. But now it has become important to focus on the issue of ‘Universal Secondary Education’. There exist important linkages between different levels of education. Both elementary and secondary are closely linked and interdependent on each other. For e.g. the quality of teachers available for primary education directly depends on the quality and spread of secondary education in any country. The availability of women teachers which is considered critical for promoting girls participation and completion at primary level, cannot be ensured in rural primary schools without encouraging secondary education among rural girls. Therefore, it is difficult to achieve Universalization of even elementary stage without greater investments in other stages of education.

    Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2008 (Education for All by 2015: Will we make it?) laid special focus on the importance of secondary education:

    1. Secondary education is an explicit part of the Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concerning gender parity and equality.
    2. The expansion of primary education creates demand for post-primary education; expansion is highly dependent on secondary and tertiary education for an adequate supply of teachers and on sufficient secondary school places to increase the incentives to complete primary school.
    3. As labour market increasingly demands higher levels of skills, training and knowledge, access to secondary and tertiary education provides an important avenue for meeting the learning needs of young people and adults. (EFA Goal 3)
    4. The children of parents who have participated in secondary or tertiary education are more likely to attend ECCE, have higher learning outcomes and complete primary schooling.

    (Education for All as endorsed at Dakar World Education Forum)

    The achievement for Education for All (EFA) depends on the progress of secondary education. Both the EFA goals and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) include achieving parity in enrolment for girls and boys at the primary and secondary levels by 2005 and gender equality at all levels by 2015.

     

    A REVIEW OF RELATED STUDIES

    Very few studies or literature are available that focus on the neglect of secondary education by the government and the policy makers. A careful review of some of the available books, research papers, and dissertations has been done. The studies or literature available is not claimed to be comprehensive but they provide information on the subject to some extent.

    Dr. Manju Narula (2006) came up with her study of evaluating the ‘Quality in Secondary Education’ as a most important opportunate moment in the history of development of secondary education in India. She has focused on ineffective role played by Secondary Education Boards (Boards of Secondary Education in four states of India i.e., Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh.) in quality management in secondary education. According to her, secondary education is a terminal stage of education and is a baseline for the workforce. She has focused that the growing private tuitions and coaching market is a best example of demand for quality secondary education. Her study has reviewed the curriculum, teaching-learning process and examination process in the secondary school system of the selected area and emphasized that these indicators of quality secondary education need to be revised.

    Mohammad Abid Siddiqui (2004) in his study ‘Secondary School Drop-Outs’ deals with the cognitive and non-cognitive causal factors of secondary education drop-outs especially among girls. He remarked that the attainment of secondary education as the minimum level of education is essential particularly in this era of scientific and technological advancement for the survival of the people. The findings of the study shows that anxiety among secondary school students, juvenile tendencies, gender differences, low socio-economic background of the parents play as an important factor of drop-outs in secondary schools.

    R.P. Singhal (1998) in his book ‘Modernizing Administration of Secondary Education’ has focused on the inefficiency syndrome in the secondary education due to the traditional and inefficient role played the existing administrative system. The book made an attempt to show that there is hardly any seriousness about the need to upgrade the quality of secondary education or achieve the goals and targets within a given time. In such circumstances, large incidence of failure in school leaving examinations, poor quality of education, high drop-out rate and low attendance of students and teachers become somewhat common features.

    Khanna, K. (1983) conducted an investigation on preparation of reading material for girl drop-outs in Delhi slums at the secondary stage. Objectives of the study were to develop the need based reading material for girls drop outs and to test the effectiveness of the reading material developed for the study. The major findings has shown that the most common reason of the drop-outs among slum girls is the parent’s wish as the girl has entered puberty.

    Though numerous works have been done on secondary education, very few of such studies covered the gender dimension in the secondary education. Not much literature are available that talk about the low participation of girls in the secondary schooling and its causes.

     

    SECONDARY EDUCATION AND GIRLS

    Recent UNICEF estimates indicate that an average of only 43 percent of girls of the appropriate age in the developing world attend secondary school. There are multiple reasons for this: There may be simply no secondary school for girls to attend or the absence of the single sex schools exclusively for girls- many developing countries and donors have traditionally focused on offering universal primary education and neglected to allocate resources to increase the enrolment and attendance especially of girls in secondary education. A girl’s parents may conclude that they cannot afford secondary education or may take the traditional view that marriage should be the limit of her ambitions.

    Secondary education has multiple benefits for women and children. It is singularly effective in delaying the age at which a young woman first gives birth and it can enhance freedom of movement and maternal health. It also strengthens women’s bargaining power within households. For children, the most important actors in the world are not political leaders and heads of development agencies but the parents and caregivers who make these crucial household decisions on daily basis. Women generally place higher premium on welfare related goals and are more likely to use their influence and the resources they control to promote the needs of families, particularly children. How effectively women use their collective resources, determines the levels of nutrition, health care, education and protection that each family member receives largely, depends on their attainment of post-primary education. Secondary education is also a crucial factor in providing opportunities for women’s economic and political participation.

     

    Female Secondary Schooling in Uttar Pradesh: State Policy and Practices

    In the paper secondary education of Uttar Pradesh has been reviewed because of three factors. One, U.P. is the most populous state in the country, and also considered as one of the most socially backward state in terms of development indicators. Two, there is recent and high quality research material in the state, on political economy of the education (Jeffrey, Jeffrey, and Jeffrey, 2003), and more generally on education provision (Dreze and Gazdar 1996). Third, there has been a concerted attempt in the state to focus on the reproductive health and fertility decline. There are also innovative programmes for empowering women through education that operate outside the formal schooling system. Non-participation in secondary schooling by the girls adversely affects the programmes of family planning as well as programmes for women empowerment.

    The present paper talks about the resource gap, management inefficiency and poor provision of secondary schooling in Uttar Pradesh. It will assess implications for gender equality in secondary schooling. As secondary education is characterized by very low participation rates and a slow pace of change in education indicators over the years, it has not received desired attention in terms of either policy initiatives or resource allocation.

    There is an enormous increase in real per student expenditure in nominal terms in case of elementary education as compared to that in case of secondary education. State made expenses mainly on maintaining existing provisions like teacher’s salary in government aided sectors with little emphasis on expansion of services.

    There is hardly any seriousness about the need to upgrade the quality of facilities available for secondary education or achieve the goals or targets within a given time.

    In such circumstances, large incidence of failure in school leaving examinations, poor quality of education, high drop-out rate especially by girls and low attendance of students and teachers become somewhat common features. It has also been reported that a large number of secondary schools in the state are devoid of female teachers that contributes further in low enrolment and increased drop-outs. Not only there is paucity of female teachers in secondary schools but also a large number of posts of teachers remain vacant and are not filled until a lot of time after the commencement of the academic session. In an environment where majority of out of school children are girls belonging to disadvantaged socio-economic groups and girls’ education is not a norm, increased privatization of secondary schools makes the situation worst. Besides, the scheme of studies, curriculum designed and content at secondary stage reinforce gender stereotypes. A policy initiative in the form of infrastructural grants for establishing single sex girls’ exclusive schools has also failed, as these schools made attempt to provide admission to boys also. Lacks of such policy efforts undermine the provision and access of secondary schooling for girls.

    a) Gender and Secondary Schooling in Uttar Pradesh:

    Secondary education in U.P is characterized by an overall low participation rates and sharp gender differentials. While the participation rates are lower, gender disparities are higher than the national average in the state. The overall Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) was close to 25 percent during the late 1990s, this being only about 15 percent for girls. The Gender Parity Index (GPI) for GER is only 0.45 in the state as against 0.065 for the country as a whole (Table 1). Only about 27 percent of girls enrolling in grade I reach grade X and only about 60 percent of these complete the grade (Table II). Despite substantial increase in enrolments, the GERs are not improving in the state reflecting the fact that the rate of increases in enrolment is barely enough to keep pace with the rate of increase in the population.

    An interesting feature of girls’ schooling in U.P. is that though notable gender differentials exist in favor of boys in transition rates from primary to upper primary and from upper primary to secondary, especially the latter, the trend changes when it comes to the transition rate between secondary and senior secondary (Table III). A significantly smaller proportion of boys studying in class X continue with their senior secondary schooling as compared to the proportion of girls studying at that same level. Pass percentage are also higher for girls at both grades X and XII, explaining to some extent the higher transition rate at that level (Table IV). A high proportion of boys join the labour force at this age, which also is partially responsible for their discontinuation from schooling after grade X.

    Relatively low transition rates from primary to upper primary, and upper primary to secondary for girls indicate that the secondary schooling participation patterns cannot be understood in complete isolation. It is especially true for the fact that the largest drop-outs rate takes place within primary level and only 38 percent of girls enrolled in grade I reach grade V (Table II). A combination of high drop out within primary stage, better academic performances at secondary level and a high transition rate from secondary to senior secondary indicates that though a relatively small proportion of girls continue with their post primary schooling, those who continue perform better in examinations and a greater proportion among them is likely to complete the senior secondary level. However, higher transition rates for post- secondary stage might be indicative of gender differentiation taking a different shape where girls do not have equal opportunities to join the labour market.

    b) Resource Gap in Secondary Education in Uttar Pradesh:

    Starting from the 1980s, school education as a whole received more emphasis in terms of financial allocation. Earlier greater emphasis was given to higher education. However, within school education, it was only elementary education that received greater emphasis especially since 1980s and the secondary education was neglected at the cost of elementary education. The low priority accorded to secondary education, adversely affected the expansion of state-sponsored schooling facilities for girls at post primary level thereby affecting their participation at secondary level. The lack of policy initiatives for the promotion of the secondary education restricts girls to join secondary stage after the completion of their elementary education and consequently they loose the chance to have an access to higher education that leads to labour force. Resource allocation is mainly done in favour of elementary education and no serious attention has been given to the fact that secondary education is important for accelerating the elementary education.

    Table VI shows that school education occupied about 60 percent of total expenditure in the sector during 1951-52, which went down to about 53 percent in 1960-61. it then increased to more than 72 percent in 1970-71 and went on to occupy nearly 88 percent of the total education budget in 2001-2002. However, the increase was largely due to enlarged expenditure on elementary education and the relative share of secondary education remained static around 30-34 percent of total education expenditure during the 1980s and 1990s. What is more revealing is that nearly 95-98 percent of the total expenditure on secondary education has been the non-plan expenditure, i.e. the expenses incurred on maintaining the system. Only 2-5 percent is being spent annually on new activities such as expansion of the coverage by opening new schools or providing more facilities and professional training to the teachers in order to improve the quality of secondary education. (Table VII)

    On the other hand, there has been higher expenditure for the expansion and quality improvement of the elementary education, especially since 1990s. Besides government investments, elementary education also receives enormous attention from the international agencies that provide funds to promote various projects. For example, Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Project (UPBEP) followed by District Primary Education Project (DPEP) was launched in various districts of the state. Both these projects in UP received funds from the World Bank. About 82 percent of the total new investments on elementary education in UP during the period of 1993-2002, came from external sources.

    The neglect of the secondary education in UP is obvious from the slow increase in per student expenditure in the sub-sector during the 1990s especially in comparison to that at the elementary education (Table VIII). In real terms, the per student expenditure rose by 8.6 percent per annum for elementary education between 1980-81 and 2000-2001 at 1993-94 prices whereas it was only 3.79 percent for per student expenditure in secondary during the same period. The annual rate of growth in real per student expenditure between 1993-94 and 2000-2001 was 7.25 percent for elementary education and 3.17 percent for secondary education. It could, however be pointed out that the per student expenditure itself has been significantly higher at secondary level and hence the higher rate of growth for the elementary education is to level these two. The high per student expenditure at secondary stage in comparison to elementary stage is due to substantially less number of student, significantly lower Teacher-Pupil Ratio and relatively higher salary in the former. The size of physical infrastructure including laboratories and libraries at this stage is huge as compared to elementary stage and it is natural for per student expenditure to be higher. The low rate of growth in real per student expenditure at secondary stage coupled with the fact that almost entire amount goes for salary suggests a decline in expenditure on development and quality improvement.

    c) Inefficient Administration of Secondary Education in Uttar Pradesh:

    The neglect of secondary education in UP has been confirmed by the traditional and inefficient administrative system and the absence of comprehensive management framework. The existing administrative system is not paying any attention towards the expansion of the coverage of secondary education and is by and large maintenance oriented. There is no serious attention paid for upgrading the quality of secondary education in the state. It has been reported in the state that a large number of posts of teachers remain vacant and remain unfilled even after the commencement of the academic session. Recruitment of the teachers is not planned. The present system of supervision of schools is not effective. The supervisory officers have not enough time to visit schools. The supervision mechanism is so poor that no action is taken against those secondary/senior secondary schools which consistently give zero percent pass or very poor percentage at the State Board Examinations. There is no scientific system for teacher appraisal. No action is generally possible against errant teachers.

    Resources are scant but whatever are available are not utilized to their fullest capacity. Many of the schools don’t have basic educational facilities at secondary level like libraries, laboratories, etc and where these remain available, are not properly managed by the school. Along with the infrastructural facilities, the managerial efficiency of the school also determines the soundness of the school administration. Managerial efficiency such as record keeping, accounting and interpersonal relationships remain absent from many of the secondary schools in the state. The lack of school infrastructure facilities, managerial efficiency, and school supervision are some of the factors that affect the quality of secondary education, which in turns results in low participation rate in secondary education especially among girls. Girls’ secondary schooling gets seriously affected by the lack of quality concerns paid by the administrative system and management to secondary education. 

    Although UP has been one of the first Indian states to establish an autonomous board of secondary education and appoint a Commission for Secondary Education immediately after independence, the issue of girls’ participation in secondary schooling and making education gender sensitive has received only scanty attention so far. The Secondary Education Commission (1952) dealt with a number of aspects but did not include girls’ education as a separate issue in spite of large gender disparities existing in the schooling participation patterns.

     d) Political Influence and Privatization of Secondary Education; Management Context:

    One of the important features of secondary education in UP as also in many other Indian states is the vast presence of privately managed educational institutions. Secondary schools in Uttar Pradesh can be put in three broad management categories of Government, Aided and Unaided private schools. Government schools are fully financed and managed by the state government. Aided schools are managed privately by individuals, trusts, societies or corporate bodies but funded almost entirely by the government. The government bears almost the entire recurrent costs of these schools by providing grant-in-aid for salaries. Unaided private schools are managed and financed privately but recognized by the government. While the government and aided schools charge no tuition fee and only nominal other charges, unaided schools are for-profit organizations and charge substantial tuition and other fees.

    The proportion of government schools remained almost static during the 1980s and 1990s while that of aided schools increased till 1986 after which no new school was brought under grants-in-aid scheme. The growth of private unaided secondary schools has been spectacular during the 1980s and 1990s. The number increased from a modest 845 in 1994-95 to 6541 in 2001-02, registering a nearly eight-fold increase. The proportion of private schools, especially unaided ones, has gone up to more than half of total secondary schools in UP. Stagnation in the number of the government and aided schools which charge only nominal fees and expansion of the fee-charging private unaided schools reflects the state’s policy of promoting privatization of secondary schooling.

    Privatization of secondary education contributes to the low enrolment of girls at secondary stage. In a situation where girls’ education has been given less importance, the demand of such fee-charging school system is bound to be low, as parents don’t want to pay high charges for their daughter’s education. The continuation of education after elementary stage by the poorer or disadvantaged section depends largely on the state support, but privatization acts against that.

    The massive presence of private aided and unaided schools make the role of management framework crucial. A comprehensive management is important for directing resources and provisioning, maintaining essential physical facilities and adequate number of teachers and improving teaching learning processes. There is a near absence of comprehensive regulatory framework not only in many of the unaided private schools, but also in aided schools that receive grants from the government. These schools largely lack in basic facilities and suitable environment for girl.

    When talking about unaided private schools, the situation becomes worst. These, fee-charging schools receive no aid from the state for paying salaries or for meeting other expenditure. These schools need to survive on their own revenue. For this purpose, they charge high fees from parents. This has reduced the demand of such fee-charging schools for girls as parents would never pay such a high amount for the education of daughters.

    The fact that major expansion at secondary stages has taken place in form of fee-charging private unaided schools is certainly one of the factor for slowing down the rate of growth of enrolment at secondary stage for both the boys and girls, especially the latter. In an environment where girls’ education is not highly valued, increased privatization is bound to act against their school participation.

    Privatization simultaneously allows the entry of political influence in the secondary education system. Many of the single sex schools in UP have been opened by the local politicians who use the government scheme (scheme of infrastructure grant to new private single sex schools for girls in uncovered block headquarter and uncovered Nyaya Panchayat) to access public money for t5heir private profit and later exercise their political influence to make their institute practicable and later profitable. These owners also demanded that they be allowed to admit boys as well in their schools. In 1999, all schools opened under the scheme of infrastructure grant were allowed to admit boys by an executive office order. Later, it was revised after a gap of two years. Under the revised order, only those schools that are located in rural areas were allowed to admit boys along with the girls. This had further reduced the total enrolment rate of the girls in secondary schools as at this stage parents are reluctant to send their adolescent daughters in co-educational schools. Thus, the availability of single sex schools for girls at secondary level was questioned once again.

     

     

     

     

     

    Conclusion

    Secondary Education being an important stage of school education requires the desired attention of the State and policy makers. There is a problem of provisioning and quality in secondary schooling in UP that results in low enrolment of children in secondary education especially the girls. In U.P A large number of factors contribute in lowering the demand of secondary schooling. One of the factors is low quality of secondary schooling such as lack of proper physical facilities, poor teaching-learning processes, inefficient curriculum, teacher-pupil ratio, child unfriendly classroom, defective examination system, improper school supervision, etc. Besides, privatization of secondary schooling increases the costs of girls’ education that results in discontinuation of education after elementary schooling especially among the poorer or disadvantaged section.

    The policy enacted in UP in order to encourage female secondary schooling plays a weak and negligible role in achieving its objectives as it fails to build up the demand side of girls’ secondary education . Besides demand, policy also fails in providing the supply side of girls’ secondary education in terms of female friendly single sex schools that don’t charge high fees.

    The neglect of secondary schooling in terms of providing girl-friendly single sex schools that has to be cost friendly also, results in pushing the girls out of education at a time when they need resources to develop their skills and capacity required to join either the world of work or simply joining the adulthood. Thus in order to achieve universal secondary education, State policy must detach itself from the market and political influences that plays a critical role in lowering the demand of secondary schooling.

    If policy makers will start focusing on the missing links in secondary schooling system, discontinuation of education by the girls can be reduced to a large extent. Unless new alternative delivery system are devised, secondary education in the country will continue to suffer tremendously; its quality will remain low and it will not be in a position to meet the emerging challenges of the twenty first century. Unless the State policy and practices for secondary education in UP have been revised through a gender perspective, a large number of girls need to discontinue their education after elementary stage.

     

    Comment

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