By Mumtaz Alam, Muslim Mirror,
New Delhi, April 23: The Ministry of Human Resource Development has tried to clear the objection that its ambitious Model Schools project, on Public Private Partnership mode, has ignored least literate state Bihar and Jharkhand and Minority Concentrated Blocks.
The ministry in its letter dated 16th April said all Blocks of Bihar have been captured in two schemes. Of 534 Blocks in Bihar, 4 have been selected under PPP mode while the rest through the state government. The HRD ministry said the central government has decided to set up 6000 senior secondary schools, as Model Schools across the country.
“The Government has decided to set up 6000 senior secondary schools, as Model Schools, at the rate of one school per block as Benchmark of excellence. Out of these, 3500 model schools are to set up in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) through State/UT Governments and remaining 2500 Model Schools are to set up under Public-Private Partnership mode in blocks which are not educationally backward,” said Dalibir Singh, Under Secretary, Dept. of School Education & Literacy, HRD Ministry, in his letter to P Mohammad, senior AMU alumnus based in Delhi who had written to the ministry raising the issue.
Mr. P mohammad had said that the project under PPP mode has given just 4 model schools to Bihar, which is least literate state while the most literate state Kerala has been given over 150 model schools. Bihar has 75 Blocks and Jharkhand 44 blocks identified by Ministry of Minority Affairs with more than 25% of minority population but none of these blocks have been taken into consideration by the HRD ministry.
“The census of Indian states 2011 reveals that Kerala is the highest literate state in the country with 93.91% of literacy rate. Bihar is the least literate state with a literacy rate of 63.82% only but in spite of this the List of 3203 Blocks identified for Rashtriya Adarsh Vidyalayas, Bihar has only 4 Blocks identified and Jharkhand has 11 Blocks identified for Adarsh school. But the much developed state with higher literacy rate like Andhra Pradesh has got 390 Blocks selected, West Bengal 276 Blocks, Kerala 164 Blocks, Gujarat 140 Blocks and Karnataka 107 Blocks etc.,” said Mr. Parwez.
Clarifying the scheme, the undersecretary further wrote: “Initially the list of EBBs was drawn up in connection with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan of this Ministry. This was arrived at on the basis of twin criteria of Female Literacy Rate being below the national average of 46.13% and Gender Gap in Literacy being above the national average of 21.59%. There are a total No. of 534 Blocks in the state of Bihar and out of these 530 Blocks are identified as EBBs based on above criteria. These 530 blocks are eligible for model schools under the state sector (in the non PPP sector). The remaining 4 Blocks are non-EBBs and therefore eligible for the award of Model School under PPP mode.”
Mr. P mohammad and Mr. Mohammad Aslam, another AMU alumnus, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the explanation of the ministry. Yesterday (22nd April) they wrote a letter to the HRD ministry expressing their dissatisfaction.
“The explanation sent by Under Secretary has no reference given about the policy decisions. This is the policy decisions and affecting the lives of Crores of poor people in the places like Bihar, Jharkhand and Minority Concentrated Blocks, so the presentation of data and their proper reference within policy decision documents should be sent. The criteria written in this reply is very subjective and open ended and subject to different interpretations. The Female literacy rate and gender gap literacy rate is given in this reply as a criteria but if the male and female both literacy rate will be very low and very close with each other then you can’t find your second criteria for gender gap literacy rate as good enough to select model school blocks, although both the male and female literacy rate is very low in a given block. The 4 blocks of Bihar and 11 blocks of Jharkhand has been selected for PPP mode and I am sure these 15 blocks do not belong to educationally good category as claimed in this reply. (This selection of 15 Blocks shows that data has been used but proper mind has not been applied in the objective selection process. Data analysis has their own limitations but questioning their pragmatic output is important aspects for this type of decision making).”
The AMU alumni have sought a meeting with the either HRD minister or secretary to the points across.
“We are not satisfied with the explanations of the HRD Ministry officials and We would like to request for a meeting with you as this issue can only be tackled at the strategic level and can be initiative by top policy makers at the level of Secretary and Minister to eliminate all institutional bias,” they wrote.