According to the report, that has put a big question mark on the credibility of the department, Punjab’s access index in 2006-07 was 0.526 and it was ranked number 16 in comparison to other states and UTs but in the year 2007-08 the state had slipped to 23rd position with access index falling to 0.487. Report reveals that the reason for it is that against a population of 1,000 children in the age group of 6 to 11 years and 11 to 14 years, there are only six primary schools and four upper primary schools in the state respectively, whereas the all India figure for it is nine for primary level and six for upper primary level. The report asserts that in five years from 2003 to 2008, the state government opened only 161 new primary schools while the states of Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan had opened 547, 354 and 12,477 new primary schools respectively in the same period.
Similarly teachers’ index for Punjab for primary level is 0.639 and it is ranked at number 18. The major factor that contributed to this position is that Punjab is having 11.18% high single-teacher primary schools. Surprisingly, the state even lags far behind in this matter in comparison to Bihar that has 7.86% such schools while Haryana has 4.24%, while Delhi and Chandigarh have no such schools. Of course, Punjab tops in infrastructure index of primary level schools. For upper primary level, the state has third position. It is worth mentioning that the report says that mainly private schools have contributed much in this regard. The report even claims that in this age of information technology, only 11.10% primary schools in Punjab could provide the facility of computers, which is lower than many other states.
Talking about the position of the state, authorities were tight lipped. When contacted, Krishan Kumar, director general, school education, refused to comment on the issue.
SS Johal, former vice-chancellor, Punjabi University , and an educationist said, “It is really sad. On one side we are simply talking about appointment of teachers but not at all making teachers accountable. This is the time when we have to think of remedies rather than making excuses to improve the standard of education.”
8 July, 2009