Educational Infrastructure Research Report

Introduction

For this Educational infrastructure research report assignment the chosen country is India which is a rapidly developing economy of Asia. The country is 7th largest in area and 2nd biggest country population wise all over the world. The current population estimates of country are around 125 billion. India is largest democratic country of world with a twin system of governments. One government is the central or union government which is responsible for decisions and administration of country at a central level. Each state in India elects their own state government who will take care of the state in all departments. Education is also controlled by two ministries the central department of education which is under the purview of ministry of human resource (MHRD) which establishes and regulates institutions and universities by passing acts in the parliament. The reality which they face is India as a country it has a huge contrast in its urban and rural area infrastructure. While in urban areas India enjoys world class institutes and schools the rural areas are in dire need of a decent primary school. This gap needed to be answered and the challenge of filling this gap will be the focus of our essay. It is a critical problem faced by India’s education planning system and the problem which we identified as one of the practical problem faced by educational planning in India. The level of gap is huge and contrasting feature in urban and rural India is causing unbalanced growth in education sector. On elaboration it can be observed that the difference in rural and urban India is existing in all sectors may it be basic amenities health care assignment educational facility or basic infrastructure. The reason behind this gap is the unfocused and poorly planned developmental programs which broaden the gap over the years and migration of large population towards cities because of employment opportunity and better life style. This movement caused the shift of focus of governments towards cities and metropolitan and rural areas were neglected for a long time. Because of lack of good schools and colleges in rural areas many students who are not able to visit a city for education has to compromise with lesser level of education and Lack of education also creates problem like poverty’ ignorance and orthodox attitude towards life.  This unavailability of proper facility and opportunity hinders the progress and development for an entire life of an individual. To tackle this problem and remove it from grass root level government of India has initiated various programs which will be discussed and evaluated in later part of the assignment (Setty, E.D. and Ross, E.L., 1987).

Government’s planning to fulfill the gap

Government of India is very much concerned about the development of educational institutions and online assignment services in rural sector of country. Indian educational planning is done on a five year basis by the planning commission of India. Currently India is going through its 11th 5 year plan and it has emerged with various reforms and emphasis on various sectors in educational system of India. The 11th planning commission has allocated a budget of 11.6 billion US dollars for the education department and it is aiming to improve literacy rate’ quality of education at all levels.  Planning Commission has laid emphasis on the improving quality of education and providing opportunity to everybody for education. It is a well observed by the policy makers of the country that there is a serious gap in the rural and urban centers of the country and it is unbalancing the growth of the country and providing a skewed growth pattern. Government has taken up various programs and initiatives to rectify the situation. They are opening up new schools and primary education assignment for child  at rural places’ new technological institutes to fulfill the demand of growing industry and economy. there are programs like National policy on education ( NPE) 1986’ district primary education program (DPEP) and much encouraged program to ensure education to all (sarva shiksha abhiyan) SSA ( education for all). Mid day meal scheme for children in government and private schools is also developed to gain more attention of rural students and their families by providing them healthy and nourishing meals free of cost (Tilak, J., 2006).  In rural areas the focus of government has always been to improve the literacy rate and provide primary education to the population residing there. Recently India has also passed a bill which makes the education a right of every citizen. This act is known as right to education act (RTE’ 2009). This act makes the education a birth right for every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years. RTE is also acting as a boon in decreasing the gap present between rural and urban Indian education facilities. All these programs are developed to directly or indirectly improve the level of education in rural India and reduce the gap existing between the rural and urban Indian educational facilities (Suri R.K. And Rajaram K., 2008) If we collectively Review various programs developed by government of India then a common theme emerge from them which is focusing on attracting more and more people from rural areas to seek education. National policy on education has given special status to rural sector and ear marked specific funds for the rural sector development. The district primary education program provides specific target to each district level administration to focus of uprising the literacy and education level in rural sector and report the growth to education department on a regular basis. The SSA program provides equal opportunity for education to all and right to education (RTE) makes it a birth right for every human being to seek education. All these programs are bridging the gap which exists between rural and urban India and aims to bring their levels closer to each other. The mid day meal scheme formed by government which provides free meals to the children’s studying in government schools is also planned to attract rural students. The low income level of rural area makes a free meal for their children a very attractive feature for parents and encourages them to send their wards to the school.

Evaluation and comparative analysis of mid day meal scheme with USA NSLP program

Various aims and objectives of planning commission were not achieved fully because of lack in infrastructure and insufficient resources. Programs run by government agencies also lack a long term vision and feasibility. No successful program of national level can work in isolation it has to be integrated with other developmental programs to provide a wholesome development.

We will evaluate the mid day meal scheme developed and run by the government of India for this report. The school meal program in India is popularly known to be” Mid-Day Meal Scheme” which is started in 1960s. In this scheme lunch is provided to school children free of cost on all working days. The primary objective of the scheme is as follows:

  • To protect children from classroom hunger.
  • Increasing enrollment & attendance in school.
  • Improving socialization among all castes children.
  • Increasing social empowerment by employment of women and addressing to malnutrition.

The scheme was introduced on large scale in 1960s in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of K.Kamaraj who was also the Chief Minister and later government implemented it as National Program of Nutritional support to Primary Education in 1995. There is short and interesting story behind the idea of noon meal scheme. K.Kamaraj saw few boys herding their livestock, so he asked one of the boys as why they were not going to school. The boy immediately replied that if he goes to school will they provide food as he can learn only if he eats. The answer given by him was spark for whole process of scheme. The scheme has been adopted by most of the states after a revolutionary direction by Supreme Court of India on November 28, 2001.

The aim and objective of this program was to provide nourishment to the students’ increase their attendance and encourage families (especially rural families who prefer their children’s to work in farms) to send their children to schools. This program immediately gained attention and recognition. Later it was adopted by various states in due course of time and in year 2001 after the direction of Supreme Court of India it was implemented nationwide National Program for Nutrition Support to Primary Education.

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With the huge success of the scheme in Tamil Nadu and tremendous increase in school participation and popularity of the project that in 1995 the Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao suggested that the scheme to be implemented all over the country and thus began “National Program for Nutrition Support to Primary Education”.

As per the Government program the Central Government will provide grains free of cost and other ingredients, salaries and infrastructure will be provided by States. With the unwillingness of State to commit budgetary resources the state just passed grains to parents which was called provision of ‘dry ration’. But the Supreme Court on 28th November, 2001 passed order that it is mandatory for the state governments to provide cooked meals instead of ‘dry rations’. (The Tribune, Delhi) This program has been allocated funds in the range of 2 billion dollars or 9000 crore INR annually. It was estimated by the officials that 150 million children will be benefited by this program. All though the aims and objective of the program are set in right direction and its vision for future is very positive but in reality the execution of the program is haunted by many acquisitions and scams. In many cases the food which was ear marked for the mid day meal scheme was caught in the market selling as a regular food (Khera R., 2006). Contractors of the food supplies were accused of providing substandard food and over charging the governments. Teachers were accused and caught selling the food in market. for example  In December 2006, The Times of India reported a scam involving government schools that siphon off food grains under the mid-day meal scheme by faking attendance. The modus operand of the schools was simple the attendance register would exaggerate the number of students enrolled in the class. The additional students would not exist—they were “enrolled” to get additional food grains which were pocketed by the school staff.  Many critics are also accusing that government is not able to execute the program effectively and it has lost its direction and aims. The problem persist not only in terms of implementation of MDMs but also in the overall quality of schemes like the quality of food, the regularity in serving the food, the infrastructure for implementation and growth of scheme etc. The regional disparities can be primarily attributable to two factors:

  1. Political will and Community support
  2. Costs and budgetary allocations.

Political will is the key for successful implementation of many schemes, like for example the state of Rajasthan which was the first state to pursue the order of Supreme Court of November, 2001. A high level committee was monitoring the function of programmer from beginning and provides good quality grain even to remote areas (Dreze and Goyal, 2003)

But mere political will cannot push the success of the scheme but it also requires allocation adequate budgets. Under MDMs two types of costs are involved:

  1. Fixed Costs i.e. expenses on infrastructure and equipment
  2. Recurring Costs i.e. cost of grain, salaries, transports etc.

However with the amendment in 2004 Central government will bear the fixed expenses but ultimate burden of maintaining the infrastructure is to be borne by State government which is mostly poor in quality. (CES Survey, 2003)

Partnership with private players

Foundation and private organization set-up

There might be small or large foundation working towards this social cause in different states but following are certain large foundation set up:

  1. ISKCON Food Relief Foundation (IFRF): It was established in 2004 in Mumbai and the objective of it is to promote education among under privilege sections.
  2. Akshay Patra and Private section participation in MDMs: This scheme was successfully known to be Akshay Patra which involves participation of private sector along with ISKCON in State of Karnataka.
  3. Nandi Foundation: It is the fastest & largest growing social sector in India. It works of Child rights, Education etc. (The Telegraph, Kolkata 2006)

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Critical Analisis of policy

In this section a critical analysis of the educational policy will be done along the parameters and framework of Hadad which is a very relevant tool for analysing any educational planning and policy.  Here in this report we will be analysing the India’s Mid day Meal Scheme policy which is a educational encouragement policy for school going students on various aspects as provided in the framework developed by Hadad.

  1. Policy definition and scope

The policy of providing free mid day meals to school going children in all government run school in India is both a strategic as well as issue specific decision. The long term effects of the plan are a constant increase in number of students attending the schools and also more number of rural families enrolling their wards in the educational institution however the issue specificity of the decision is that this decision is also solving the persistent problem of mal nourishment among students specially in rural parts of the country where having a nutritious meal one time a day is a big challenge for many people. As it is stated in the hadad’s framework the broader the scope of a policy is the more challenges it is expected to face and on the same terms the scope of this policy is very broad in nature. Government of India is attempting to solve the low literacy rate and less number of students enrolling in the school problem of a large country like India with this policy along with the eradication of nutritional deficiency. On one end it being issue specific makes it less complex while on the other hand the strategic nature of policy and its implementation on a national level makes it more prone to challenges and obstacles(Blaug, M. 1987).

  1. Policy making:-

As mentioned in hadad’s framework the policy making formula of the organization is based on two different dimensions which put the policy as per the decision making process behind it. If the policy involves consideration and problem solving of multiple agencies then it is more socialistic in approach while if it is a decision made by a single person or entity then it is more personality in nature. The other axis denotes the policy making process is incremental in nature or it was taken as a synoptic decision. While the policy has been incremental in process where it was first implemented in one state and later it was expanded to others states and in year 2001 it was directed to be executed country wide. This puts the policy in incremental section of the framework however the policy was more of a top down approach and it was framed and forced by education ministry without much consultation from other stakeholders like teachers or institutions which is why at many places studies are being affected as teachers also have to take care of the added responsibility of managing contractors and ensuring that food which is served is of standards as required along with their academic responsibility.

ccccc3. Analysis of existing situation:-

If we consider various demographic and socioeconomic context of the country in which the policy is being implemented. India is a very highly populated country and it has approximately 1.2 billion people residing in it. The country is currently going through a transitional phase of development and after the 1990’s when the economy opened for the globe and entered into a phase of liberalization. The social sector of the country is rapidly aspirin to gain higher level of education especially in urban parts of the country however in rural India the availability of the good infrastructure’ man power and awareness towards the importance of education is still questionable. The country is culturally and geographically very diverse in nature. In India it is observed in a survey that total 70 different languages are spoken and dialect changes after every 50 kms. It is difficult to run a single agenda and single point policy in a country with so rich and diverse backgrounds and large population. In a diverse society each group have different outlook and attitude towards any problem and they try to tackle it in their own way and if we compare the results this is the best approach to solve the problem (Haddad, W.D.; Demsky T. 1994).

It is also important that political interest and emphasis is also on the problem and there is a will among the political powerhouses to solve the problem. Currently Indian government is willing to solve the challenges they are facing and it is doing everything it can to overcome obstacles. In India much autonomy is not provided to the education department as a standalone entity and it has to work in close quarters with the ministry of education and central governments and state government offices because many development and elite program of human resource development which is under the purview of ministry of Human resource development ministry are executed through the education department. Similarly the general elections held in the country by election commission also executed by using the resources of education department Which makes the department of education very much involved in the general administrative affairs of the country making it unable to focus only on its own challenges.

Process of generating new policy

This particular policy of mid day meal scheme is generated after observing its successful implementation on a local level by the state of Tamil nadu. New policies are usually generated when the present situation of the sector and its context is perturbed by problem, a political decision or a reorganization scheme (overall national planning).

Policy options can be generated in several different ways to accommodate the disequilibrium. In theoretical framework there are four different options provided for the mode of policy generation like systematic mode’ ad hoc mode’ incremental mode and importation mode. All though all modes have different approaches for solving a problem in practical implementation of policy to solve a problem a mixed approach is being used to successfully execute and generate a national level policy. In India’s mid day meal scheme the modes which were used for policy generation were systematic as the policy was incepted a few decades back in a local area and then it was successfully executed in a small scale and then it was gradually upgraded to be implemented in a few states in a slow and steady manner just like following the incremental mode of implementation and then in the end by year 2001 it was directed to be executed all over the country thus importing it from a few states after observing their successful execution there.

Evaluating the policy options

According to the framework developed by Hadad to evaluate any policy it is necessary that we develop an imaginary situation where other alternatives of the policy are implemented and their impact will be assessed on the receivers and then compare it with the present situation. This way will help us in comparing and evaluating the policy in context of other possible options (Kemmerer, F. 1994). The first aspect on which we will be evaluating the mid day meal scheme is desirability of the policy by various stake holders and its impact on them. The impact on various groups is mixed in this policy execution however the government has looked at the broader picture and considered the requirements of the students as priority. The groups like students’ parents’ families especially in rural sector are the stakeholders which are greatly benefited by the policy and have a positive attitude towards the policy which is increasing the attendance levels and enrollment in rural schools. The groups like teachers’ school administrators and developmental officers have a mixed feeling towards the policy as on one side they are happy to see the number of students increasing in the school on the other hand they are troubled with the added responsibility which is given to them in a situation where they are already understaffed and over worked. It is blamed by the teachers and officer’s association in various parts of the country that policy is weak in terms of adding new human resources for successful implementation and it should have its own staffs which work along with teachers and administrative officers to execute the policy. The policy is also threatening for many local businessmen and vendors who were earlier supplying to the school canteens or running their business in the area near school and were dependent on student’s purchasing for food and snacks. They are losing business now as students are getting nutritious food in the school but the opposition is so minor and weak that it does not oppose strongly (Dreze, J and Kingdom G. 2001).

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Affordability is another important area under which policy needs to be evaluated in Hadad’s framework. The financial cost of the changes needs to be compared with the benefits of the policy in both socioeconomic as well as developmental procedures of the country. The mid day meal scheme is very ambitious in nature and the budgetary cost of the scheme is as high as 2 billion dollar annually which is a substantial amount in a developing country like India but in comparison to the huge impact it is creating on the level of attendance and educational enrollment the benefits in the longer term are much higher. The educated population which gets benefited by the policy can generate a annual revenue of more than 2 billion dollar and it will also save the cost of social imbalance and other frauds and cheating which takes places because the victims are uneducated and unaware of their rights. The long terms benefits of the enhanced level of literacy and educational awareness are not easy to estimate in monetary terms but it is assured that if this policy is executed in the stipulated budget and timeline then the socio economic as well as developmental impacts are huge(Haddad, W.D. et al 1990).

Feasibility is one aspect of evaluation in which the policy is not able to match the standards. The hadad’s framework estimates that any policy which is executed should have sufficient human resources’ training requirements of the human resources as well as presence of a feasible culture in the entire institution. For any new policy estimation of requirement of financial planning resources is comparatively easy in comparison to estimating the requirement of training and development of human resources. When a new policy is implemented then challenges are also new and sudden in nature. While developing the mid day meal scheme in India the country also faced challenges like corruption in the sourcing of raw material’ unavailability of sufficient human resources and lack of cooperation by many teachers which created obstacles in the policy implementation however the country did not gave up on the situation and still trying with all resources and efforts to overcome the problem and execute the plan in a successful manner(Haddad, W.D. and Demsky T., 1995)

Comparative analysis with USA NSLP program

Similar food programs are run by many countries of both developing and developed nature. Countries like USA have a nationwide program of similar nature known as NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM (NSLP).   National School Lunch Act (79 P.L. 396, 60 Stat. 230) is a United States federal law signed by President Harry S. Truman in year 1946.  The act created the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), this program is designed to provide free or subsidized lunch to the school going students. Each student studying in a school is qualified for this program (Bergman, E., 2004). This program is controlled by federal government’s department of education and its subdivision known as nutrition services. The raw material for the lunch program is released by USDA which is then used by different school’s kitchen or vendors to be reused or cooked.  The quality control of the government is very stiff and recently it has been upgraded to meet the international standards (Eisler, P. et.al. 2009).

For a comparative analysis of planning and execution of both policies we can develop a framework with comparison parameters like time elapsed with the policy’ feedback of people’ money spent’ corruption charges’ organization of program and objective achieved.

  1. The USA’S NSLP program was made a law in year 1946 which is much earlier than government of India’s mid day meal scheme which was implemented nationwide in year 2001. This lag in developing a program has pushed the country backward in comparison.
  2. NSLP is relatively less accused with corruption charges while mid day meal scheme is continuously in lime light because of multiple corruption related charges and faulty execution.
  3. NSLP sources its raw material from a centralized system which is easier to monitor and control while mid day meal scheme is sourced locally making it difficult to maintain similar quality and implementation standards all over the country (Irudaya Rajan S. and Jayakumar A., 1992).
  4. Another contrasting feature between the program run by USA and INDIA is that all though both countries are running similar program and aiming for similar objectives the execution method is very different and USA’S NSLP ‘S implementation style has been proven successful over the time while India’s success is still to be evaluated( Bergman, E. 2004).
  5. The penalties and sentences in USA are also much severe making it more difficult for officials involved to get involved in any kind of frauds or scams. This comparison gives an indication of possible reasons why the program was not able to attain its objective in India and what are the shortcomings of the planning commission and government of India while executing this program (Drèze and Goyal A.,2003).
  6. The number of students which are catered in USA by NSLP is in tune of 31 million while in India government is targeting a huge population of 150 million students which is too big a population to be served by a single scheme. There is a stark difference in annual budgets as well the USA’S tentative budget was approximately 10 billion dollars for a year (Gleason, P., and Suitor C.2003) while India’s budget is 2 billion dollars.
  7. The NSLP program has been running successfully in USA since its inception and it was able to achieve its aims and objective regularly with minor issues and challenges while on the other hand Even after 10 years of execution of program in India the country is still considered as harbouring highest number of food insecure population. 42 percent of children below the age of 5 years are still malnourished. All these facts critically question the success of programs run by government of India for improvement of educational level in rural India (The Tribune, 2006).

Conclusion

In conclusion we will focus on the different aspects of the mid day meal scheme run by government of India. The project is strategic in nature which will be fulfilling multiple aims and objectives(Caillods, F. 1991). It will provide nourishing food to the students who are attending the school free of cost thus tackling the problem of malnourished in students. It will attract more and more students in the school thus increasing the attendance percentage in schools. It will also attract more students from rural sector as in rural area access to a nourishing meal is a very attractive feature for poor families. Whereas there have been several difficult problems It is believed that government is trying to sternly deal with most of the problem objectively. Despite all best efforts by the implementation agencies it is not possible that all problems can be solved immediately. . As India’s rural population is dependent on agriculture and the problems of droughts are faced by many areas the scheme act as a very important form of cushion for the children from hunger. But only providing food at school is not the solution children should learn their, to increase the standard of living. The key to the success of program is in the correct execution and implementation of the project so that its aims and objectives can be attained (Singh, S., 2005).

References

Eisler, Peter; Morrison, Blake; DeBarros, Anthony (2009) “Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches”. USA Today Retrieved 2011-12-1

Bergman, Ethan (2004) “The Relationship of Meal and Recess Schedules to Plate Waste in Elementary Schools” Journal of Child Nutrition & Management 2 n page

Setty, E.D. and Ross, E.L. (1987), “A Case Study in Applied Education in Rural India”, Community Development Journal, 22 (2): 120–129, Oxford University Press.

The Tribune, (2006) Lid off massive scam in Mid-Day Meal Scheme: 2,760 sacks of rice seized”. Delhi. Published 2006-01-20. Retrieved 2011-12-12

Tilak, J (2006). “Education-a Saga of Spectacular Achievements and Conspicuous Failures” India Social Development Report. pp. 12-136