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Grassroots An invigorating breeze of education is sweeping across Gujarat. Ordinary people have started enjoying easier access to latest ideas, which act like a catalyst for resolution of socio-economic issues and creation of a more cohesive society By Dhirendra Pratap Singh

According to the census, the literacy rate in Gujarat for the year 2011 is 79.31 percent. This is an improvement in comparison to the year 2001, when the rate was 69.14 percent. This 10.17 percent rise signifies the amount of work that has been put in for making education available to every inhabitant of Gujarat. The state ranks 9th on the Education Development Index (EDI). EDI is prepared after taking into account four components — access, infrastructure, teachers and outcomes. In case of access, two important factors were looked into — availability of schools per 1,000 child population and ratio of primary to upper primary schools. ‘Smart Goals,’ which envisage ‘Education for All’ is a major project of the Gujarat education department. The education policies are geared to promote literacy and reduce dropout rates. The focus is on girl education and training of teachers. The Government is focussing on primary education, secondary education, higher education, continuous education, literacy education, technical education and pharmacy education. As per Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB), Gujarat had an estimated 8.2 million children enrolled in the primary classes, with the Gross Enrolment Ration (GER) touching almost 100 percent. There were about 2.77 million children enrolled in institutions imparting secondary and higher secondary education. The schools that have been established by the Government of Gujarat are administered by the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education board, which is also known as GSHSEB. Every year the state government evaluates its primary schools, and council of ministers; top bureaucrats and eminent persons visit schools across the state for three days for the purpose of ranking them. The state government has launched the ‘Gunotsav’ programme to raise the quality of education in government

run primary schools. In evaluating the effectiveness of the programme, the NGO Pratham will evaluate the students. Massive Movement As per Planning Commission of India, women’s education in Gujarat in 2001 stood at 20th position, with literacy rate among females at 48.1 percent. In 2009, the state adopted “Kelavani Rath,” which has now turned into a massive movement. Government charts out plans to enroll 525,000 girls in the state in Kanya Kelavani drive. It covers 1,865 routes and as a result, there is 100 percent enrollment and reduction in the dropout rate from 40 percent to 2.29 percent. Similarly, Girl Child Education program covers almost 18,000 villages, where the literacy rate is below 20 percent. The focus is on identified suburbs of the urban areas to spread the message of education.

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The Government has plans to make Jyoti-Gram and broadband connectivity available in all villages. Also, education would be one of the major sectors in the Gram Mitra Yojna comprising of five Gram Mitra departments: agriculture, health, education, and human development. Government schemes like Bal Pravesh and Nirogi Bal are also a part of the Kanya Kelavani campaign. Under the Nirogi Bal and Bal Pravesh schemes, the government ensures that the child is healthy while attending schools. Insurance and Health Financial aid schemes like Vidhyalaxmi Bond Yojna and insurance schemes like Vidhyadeep Yojna are implemented by the government with the objective of providing education related aid to families. Health of school children is also a focus. With cooperation of WHO and World Bank “Health Developing SchoolProgramme” is being implemented in Gujarat. The Government adopts technology by promoting computer aided learning, which is expected to benefit around 8,50,000 students of government run schools in Gujarat. It also aims to foster education in rural places and set path of development with continuous power supply and broadband connectivity. In this way, computer training is being enhanced for primary level education in Gujarat. Gujarat is focussed on ensuring maximum enrollment of boys and girls in primary schools. To encourage girl child education, Vidhyalaxmi Bonds are operational in all areas low literacy rates. This serves as an incentive to poor parents to send their daughters to schools. Under Vidhya Deep Yojna, the insurance premium is paid by the government to ensure financial assistance to parents in case of untoward incident. Higher Education Gujarat houses some of the best higher educational institutions in the country, namely the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, Nirma Institute of Technology and Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information & Communication Technology, which are

Gujarat has recently passed the Private Universities Bill, which allow formation of private universities without having to pass legislation through the Assembly also known worldwide for their quality education and research. Gujarat is now planning to add another 500 seats in medical education next year. It recently received approval for around 500 medical seats from the Medical Council of India, MCI. MCI has approved 150 seats each at medical colleges in Sola and Bhuj as well as at the Gujarat Cancer Research Society run medical college in Ahmadabad. In addition, 50 seats have been increased at the Bhavnagar Medical College. The state is expecting approval for the new medical college at Gotri in Vadodara and at Valsad. The government is working on creating a state-level body on the lines of the MCI that will be empowered to approve post graduate medical courses. Gujarat has recently passed the Private Universities Bill, which allow formation of private universities without having to pass legislation through the Assembly for the same. An institution wanting to acquire the university status can apply to the department of education for the same. However, there are some challenges in higher education. Gujarat has 20 districts where enrollment is 12.7 percent, which is below the national average. Besides this, there is an acute shortage of teaching staff in the higher education institutions of Gujarat, according to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). The report also says that 60 percent institutions have not obtained NAAC/NBA accreditation. These issues should be addressed as quickly as possible.

Schemes Adopted to Enhance Education Primary Education • • • • •

Vidhyalaxmi Bond Yojna Vidhyadeep Yojna The Girl Child Development Program School-Health Check-up Program Computer Training at the Primary Educational level

Secondary and Higher Secondary Department • • •

Diploma for the teachers to improve their teaching skills (Teacher’s Training Program) Common Entrance Test for admission Teleconference for the students of Std. 10th and 12th.

Technical Education •

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Self employment programs for the women

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