[Reader-list] Fwd: The Invisible Schools of NCERT Survey by Ravi Kumar

Iram Ghufran iram at sarai.net
Sun Apr 23 22:17:04 IST 2006

Subject: Fwd: The Invisible Schools of NCERT Survey
From: "Ravi Kumar" <ravik_rk at hotmail.com>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 13:29:15 +0530
To: reader-list at sarai.net

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: *VAPI Bihar* <vapi at inbox.com <mailto:vapi at inbox.com>>
Date: Apr 21, 2006 12:46 AM
Subject: The Invisible Schools of NCERT Survey
To: Anil Sadgopal <anilsadgopal at yahoo.com 
<mailto:anilsadgopal at yahoo.com>>, MM Jha <madan.jha at wolfson.ac.uk 
<mailto:madan.jha at wolfson.ac.uk>>, anitaghai at vsnl.com 
<mailto:anitaghai at vsnl.com>, Sarwat Ali <alisarwat at rediffmail.com 
<mailto:alisarwat at rediffmail.com>>, madhu prasad 
<madhuchopra at hotmail.com <mailto:madhuchopra at hotmail.com>>, Ambarish Rai 
< amb1857 at yahoo.com <mailto:amb1857 at yahoo.com>>, csdnd at del2.vsnl.net.in 
<mailto:csdnd at del2.vsnl.net.in>, Ravi <ravik05 at gmail.com 
<mailto:ravik05 at gmail.com>>, Director NCERT < directorncert at vsnl.com 
<mailto:directorncert at vsnl.com>>, Director NCERT <directorncert at vsnl.com 
<mailto:directorncert at vsnl.com>>

Dear friends,

It is generally said that facts do not lie. The significance of data 
collected through surveys and especially through large surveys, which 
swear by rigour and quality, hold their own specific relevance. They not 
only depict 'reality' but also construct reality simultaneously. In 
current state of things they tell us about the status of particular 
aspects they cover during surveys. In front of us is a very reputed and 
rigorous set of data collected through an all India survey in form of 
the All India Educational Survey (conducted by the NCERT). Researchers 
to show as to where does the Indian education system stands in terms of 
infrastructure etc extensively use these data sets. However, we are 
confronted with a dilemma. Being activists engaged in day-to-day 
confrontations with the state, which has been consistently chipping off 
resources from formal schooling system, which constitute the educational 
lifeline of crores of Indian masses, we have come across blatant 
misrepresentation of facts. These misrepresentations were also intimated 
to the NCERT, Secretary HRD, GOI among others through a letter dated 
29th March 2006 but we are yet to get a response (may be because it is 
being raised by not-so-prominent and media savy-intellectuals-activists 
or may be because it is not such as an important issue as we are taking 
it to be) to it. We think it is important for other people to know these 
misrepresentations as well because it will caution the researchers about 
the nature of data as well as about the current state of education 
system in a certain pocket of the country.

We have been engaging with the educational issues in the Jehanabad 
district of central Bihar for around two decades. In course of our work 
we came across two schools data, namely Badrigarh (photo attached) and 
Kochahasa secondary schools, which are in complete contrast to the 
reality. Even though they are unrecognized schools such a portrayal 
poses serious questions on data collection and its consequences. In the 
NCERT Seventh Survey they are shown as 'pucca' schools - Badrigarh as 
having seven full time male teachers and zero enrollment whereas the 
Kochahasa school building is non-existent but the data shows it as 
'pucca' and as having six full time male and one female teacher and 47 
boys and 27 students enrolled in it.

Given the situation we understand that such representation of data, due 
to whatever reason, poses certain extremely important questions for us:

1. It misrepresents the reality (non-existent and dilapidated schools 
are shown as having 'pucca' building)
2. It hides the current state of things in the education sector
3. It fails to tell us that the schools are non-functional even if the 
data shows them to be so
4. It does not convey the intentional design to neglect the formal 
schools because there exist such schools but instead of improving their 
lot money is being spent elsewhere
5. Money is being pumped into the education system through programmes 
such as SSA (during 2005-06 in SSA 90002.00 crore rupees were spent) but 
existing infrastructure and quality of education in formal schools have 
hardly found any attention. [Maximum expenditure (because expenditure is 
the measuring rod of the amount of work done) is on certain superficial 
aspects only]. Contrary to our demands we find cosmetic changes to the 
school system wherein the ultimate gainers have been private players and 
losers the vast majority of poor and marginalized people.
6. This misrepresentation further expands possibilities of corruption 
within the education system wherein we have been witness to practices 
such as bribes being paid and taken to put names of unrecognized schools 
and their teachers in any survey so that their existence is established.

We believe that
1. The NCERT should make their data collection more rigorous and must 
accept the flaws that exist in their data because it has serious 
implications for activists like us. It may seem as one or two school 
from the power center at Delhi but it is the school for us in the area.
2. This may be only tip of the iceberg because if examined more closely 
not only can one come across other kinds of flaws but also more such 
instances across the country.
3. Such a misrepresentation has more repercussions than what simply 
appears as misrepresented or fudged data set.
4. The resource crunch advocates should not see it as wastage of 
resource but as mismanagement on part of the state and should feel the 
need to change the situation so that the local villagers could make use 
of it. It represents the apathy of the state towards educational needs 
of the vast mass.

In case of doubt visit the NCERT website for details:
Badrigarh details:





With regards and greetings

Convenor, VAPI

- -- Ravi Kumar
Associate Fellow
Council for Social Development
53, Lodi Estate,
New Delhi - 110003
Tel: 91-11-2461 1700/ 2461 5383
Fax:91-11-2461 6061
Blog: http://ravi06.blogspot.com/

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