Maharashtra, one of India’s economically powerful states, ranks below most states when it comes to elementary education. Only 31.18 percent schools in the state have a regular headmaster or teacher, against the national average of 43.89 percent, and as per latest data only 12 states are ranked below Maharashtra across key parameters.
The 2014-15 report on elementary education in rural and urban India by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, has covered 1.45 million schools (classes I to VIII) across 36 states and union territories.
Some of the parameters on which they have been evaluated include percentage distribution of classrooms, condition of classrooms, number of classrooms, number and percentage of schools having regular headmaster or teacher, percentage distribution of single-teacher schools, percentage distribution of schools by number of teachers and enrollment, student-classroom ratio.
In urban schools, the figures are better, though far from desirable, according to experts. The percentage of schools with regular headmaster or teacher in schools located in urban areas is 62.05 per cent, better than the national average of 52.05 per cent. “According to existing norms, a school must have an enrollment of 150 to be eligible for the post of headmaster.
In many areas in Maharashtra, both rural and urban, the population is scanty. So, such schools are not able to fulfill this criteria and the headmaster’s post is not approved for them,” said Basanti Roy, academician and former secretary of the Maharashtra State Education Board’s Mumbai division.
There are, however, some parameters where the state has done well. In rural areas, 80.71 percent schools have boundary wall, 99.43 per cent have boys’ toilet, 98.84 per cent have girls’ toilet and playground facility is there in 86.60 per cent schools. For urban schools, percentage of schools with boundary wall is 90.74 per cent, 99.84 per cent have boys’ toilet and 99.42 per cent have girls’ toilet.