ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Himachal Pradesh : Critical Issues in Primary Education

Primary education has made impressive strides in Himachal Pradesh. These have been due to investments made in the sector, the relatively less iniquitous social structure in rural areas and greater opportunities available to women. However, the increased attraction of private schools offers new challenges to government-run schools, where processes directed at improving the quality of education are yet to take root.

High Female Literacy, Low Child Population

This paper examines the relationship between rural female literacy and the size of the child population (0-6 years) using block level data from the population census of 1991 for West Bengal. Its purpose is to find out if there is any threshold level of female literacy associated with a rapid decline in the size of the under-6 population. The analysis is done separately for three social groups; the tribals, the scheduled castes and the rest or the 'general' population. The results have an important bearing on policy while processes behind these are of considerable significance to researchers. Further validation of these patterns using 2001 Census data and similar analysis for states is indicated.

The New Segregation

This article, based on a desk review of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and qualitative micro studies in six states - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu - attempts to capture the impact of primary education programmes on the ground. Introducing the emergent concept of 'hierarchies of access' to describe the new segregation occurring in primary education, the article focuses on the micro studies documenting the tangible and intangible dimensions of gender and social equity that frame the implementation of DPEP at the village and panchayat level. On the basis of the findings of the desk review and the micro studies, the authors discuss ways to reverse the trend of segregation so as to make universal primary education a substantive reality.

How Effective Is Female Literacy in Reducing Fertility?

Surveys since the late 1970s have sought to explore female literacy and its role in the reduction of fertility. The data available, however, have not been used for a multiple regression analysis of the relationship. This paper based on a study in two states used a regression exercise done for four different models, to explore the relation controlling for a number of confounding factors. Without overall development, literacy, although a critical preconditioner, affected fertility reduction in small percentage terms.
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