The great urban-tribal divide in “Vibrant Gujarat”: The tribal areas have fewer qualified teachers, lack infrastructure in schools

tribal eduBy Rajesh Solanki*

An recent analysis of the District Information System of Education (DISE) data, provided by the Government of India’s Ministry of Human Resources, carried out by the Dalit Hakk Rakshak Manch (DHRM) has found that Vibrant Gujarat suffers from a great “tribal-urban divide”. In fact, if one looks closely at the data, one can see that there  a scope for finding a Chhattisgarh or a Jharkhand in the so-called developed Gujarat. This can be said on the basis of his scrutiny of the status of education in tribal-dominated districts, and comparing them with urban-dominated districts. On the whole, there are far fewer qualified teachers in the tribal areas, the schools there suffer from poor infrastructure, and there is utter lack of computers – as against the Gujarat government claim that there is “universal” access to computers across all schools.

Several Gujarat districts having sizable tribal population. There are – the Dangs (93.8%), Narmada (78.1%), Dahod (72.3%), Valsad (54.8%), Navsari (48.1%), Bharuch (32.4%), the Panchmahals (27.45%) and Sabarkantha (20.2%). Surat and Vadodara too have a sizable tribal population, but here urban population outweighs rural and tribal population.

The analysis suggests that districts with predominantly urban population have more graduate teachers than the tribal dominated ones. Thus, in Ahmedabad there are 6,930 graduate teachers in 3,262 primary and upper primary schools, which means that for every school there are 2.12 well-qualified teachers. In Surat, for 1,410 schools there are 3,370 graduate teachers, which means there are 2.39 teachers for every school. And in Vadodara, for 1,524 schools there are 2,887 graduate teachers, and the ratio comes to 1.89 teachers for every school.

Things are, however, bad for districts with a big tribal population. In Bharuch, for 900 schools, there are 1,294 graduate teachers, which means that for every school there are 1.43 teachers. In Dahod district, for 1,864 schools there are 881 graduate teachers – the ratio being 0.47 teachers for every school. In Narmada, for 490 schools there are 667 graduate teachers, and ratio comes to 1.33 teachers for every school. In Navsari, for 585 schools there are 598 graduate teachers, and the ratios comes to 1.02 teachers for every school.

Further, in the Panchmahals, for 1,381 schools, there are 1,229 graduate teachers, and the ratio is 0.88 teachers for every school. In Sabarkantha, for 1,786 schools there are 1,200 graduate teachers, and ratios comes to 0.67 teachers for every school. In the Dangs, for 151 schools, there are 179 graduate teachers, and ratio comes to 1.18 teachers for each school. And, in Valsad, for every 708 schools there are 1,101 graduate teachers, with a ratio of 1.55 teachers for a school.

Things are equally bad for infrastructure available at the primary level. Thus, in Ahmedabad district, in 244 primary schools, 4,758 class rooms are in good condition, which is a ratio of 1:19.5. On the other hand, in Dahod, 829 schools’ 462 class rooms are in good condition, and the ratio comes to 1:0.55. The situation is not very different in other tribal-dominated districts — in Narmada, the ratio is 1:1.85, in Navsari 1:1.57, in Panhmahals 1:0.57, and in Sabarkantha 1:0.35.

Further, in Ahmedabad, in 3,262 primary and upper primary schools, 93 class rooms need major repairs, which is a ratio is 1:0.02, but in Dahod, in 1864 schools, 951 class rooms need major repairs, and the ratio comes to 0.51. In Navsari, in 585 schools, 232 class rooms need major repairs, and the ratio comes to 1:0.39. In Narmada, in 498 schools, 643 class rooms need major repairs, and the ratio comes to 1:1.29. In the Dangs, in 151 schools, 372 class rooms need major repairs, which is a ratio of 1:2.46. In Narmadat, in 498 schools, 643 class rooms need major repairs, and ratio comes to 1:1.29. In the Panchmahals district, in 1381 schools, 434 class rooms need major repairs, and the ratio comes to 1:0.31.

Equally bad is the access to computers at the primary level among tribal-dominated districts. Thus, while in Ahmedabad, 33.60 per cent primary schools have computers, in Navsari just 5.57% schools have computers. In the Panchmahals the percentage is 7.23%, in Sabarkantha district it is 3.80%, in the Dangs it is 11.65%, and in Valsad, it is 9.65%.

*Dalit Hakk Rakshak Manch, Ahmedabad

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