By Pushkar Banakar
Even as the Centre pushes for universal education through various schemes, around 13,000 villages are yet to get a school.
NEW DELHI: Even as the Centre pushes for universal education through various schemes, around 13,000 villages are yet to get a school. A report by the Ministry of Rural Development revealed around 13,511 villages across all states do not have a school. “There could be various reasons for this. Firstly, the lackadaisical attitude of the state governments is resulting in the villages not having schools. Also, there are some villages which do not have the desired population for setting up schools,” a ministry official said.
In terms of numbers, Mizoram is the only state where every village has a school, the report states.
In general, the performance of Northeastern states is better than the rest of the country. Only Meghalaya has 41 villages with no schools whereas the rest of the states have villages in single digits without schools.
The highest number of villages without schools is in Uttar Pradesh. Data for Goa is not available in the report.
Experts differ on the report’s findings. “One needs to understand the rural mindset first,” says Professor H S Solanki of the National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad. “People there are more inclined on agriculture or money-making jobs than educating children. Hence, it becomes difficult even for the local self-government to convince these people to set up schools. They would rather help setting up an industry to get their kids employed. It is important to change people’s mindset first.”
Rajesh Panda of the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (rural development), however, argues that only if schools come up would the parents be encouraged to send their children to school. “If the report is accurate, it is a very alarming prospect. I strongly believe that one can encourage and make parents aware of the benefits of education, especially in rural areas only if there is a school.