New Delhi, March 6. (PTI): After having earned the distinction of being the most literate state, Kerala has added another feather to its cap by topping the list of States in providing better primary and upper primary education.
An Educational Development Index (EDI) developed by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry showed that Kerala topped the composite EDI followed closely by Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
To assess the progress of States and Union Territories towards the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE), an EDI has been developed to rank States and Union Territories against key parameters of elementary education.
"The Government views the EDI as an exercise that will encourage the States to improve their performance", sources said adding this exercise would help more effective targeting of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to the most needy districts.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD said, in its latest report that over a crore children in the 6-14 age group were still illiterate. The report said, it was a matter of great concern and asked the Department to brace itself to cover these left-outs.
The report presented to the Parliament last week said Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand were still have to go a long way to bring every child to school.
The committee recommended that the Department take up the issue with these States urgently and make special arrangements for education with them.
In its action-taken report, the Ministry said that as much as 51 per cent of the total outlays under the SSA had been allocated in 2006-07 to Bihar, UP, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan which have been treated as Special Focus States.
On the drop-out rates, the Committee noted that though enrolment ratio in schools was quite impressive, drop-out rates were equally discouraging.
Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Manipur, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Tripura have higher drop-out rates (Class I-V) when compared with all India average of 31.47 per cent, the committee felt.
The Committee noted that though the Mid-Day Meal was one of the major attractions for children and it has to some extent even increased the enrolment in the schools.
But the SSA needed more interventions such as inclusion of sports as an integral part of the syllabus, so as to maintain the interest of children, it said adding this would not only make school attractive but also prepare the children psychologically as well as physically strong to feel motivated to go to schools.
Another intervention, the Committee said, should be to make anti-child labour campaign an integral part of SSA.