This post reproduces some important excerpts from the PROBE 2006. If the reader has time, it is recommended to read the complete report because excerpts mightn't do fair justice to the narrative of the report. Observations on school infrastructure, enrollment and learning outcomes from the report are excluded in the excerpts below because they were already discussed in the previous two posts.
Before proceeding further it is useful to note two points. One, PROBE captures only different types of perceptions in most cases and not the proportion of people with each perception. Hence one should be cautious about drawing conclusions about it. However, even the information about different types of perceptions is extremely valuable. Two, this report is based on survey conducted in 2006, which is before the enactment of RTE Act. Hence, the scenario then might have been different regarding certain aspects.
Note: Italicizing or putting long text in quotes may make it unreadable and hence it isn't being done . But, please note that all the text below is from the PROBE 2006.
Curriculum and language related issues in textbooks and classroom transactions: Over and above the problem of having to teach large numbers of children, primary school teachers complained about the difficulties related to the content of the prescribed textbooks. The class 1 teacher of the primary school in Dharkiro (Dhanbad district, Jharkhand) mentioned how “the questions and answers in the children’s textbooks are quite difficult for them [to understand] (bachchon ke kitaab mein prashn uttar hain jo unke liye kaafi mushkil hain)”. Teaching Class 1 children in Hindi was a problem. Teachers are not necessarily equipped to teach in the child’s mothertongue. The Class 1 teacher of the primary school in Burjangsar (earlier in Churu and now in Bikaner, Rajasthan) mentioned how “language is a problem ‐‐ they don’t understand Hindi, only their local dialect…[so] they take longer to learn (language se dikkat aati hain ‐‐ hindi nahi samajhte, sirf apni local language samajhte hain…seekhne mein inhe samay lagta hai)“.
Problems voiced by female teachers: Female teachers, in general, struggled with the double burden of responsibilities at school and home. In addition, difficult travel to and from the school was cited as a problem by nearly half the female teachers. “There is no transport to travel to and from the school; I also feel unsafe, it’s isolated…one has to travel through the jungle (aane jaane ke liye gaadi ka abhav, asuraksha bhi mehsoos karte insecurity during travel to the school, there was also the possibility that a teacher felt insecure even at the school. For instance, the female teacher in Jhigarghat (Mandla district, MP) complained of “drunken men around the school.
Teaching methods in school
Parents' perception about government schools
There were families with even a small amount of extra money who reported that they felt compelled to send their child to a private school if they could at all manage it. The financial strain is then justified because of the belief that the child is attending a better school, or they are getting something for the investment. However the family cannot always sustain the financial demands and the child may be taken out of the private school in a short while. Considering the high costs of private schooling, it is not surprising, therefore, that private school enrolment was found to be weighted in favour of children from more advantaged caste groups, and children from families with more secure livelihoods. The financial burden associated with private schooling means that within some families distinctions are made, whereby the boys are enrolled in private and the girls in government schools.
Feedback from parents with middle-school children in private schools
Positive Feedback: Parents gave a number of reasons for being satisfied with the private school their child was enrolled in.
There were some complaints too.
1 Accessibility : Poonam was enrolled in class 6 in an unrecognised private school in Bahadurpur, Siddharth Nagar district, UP because it was accessible, “The government school here is only till class 5, the other government school which goes upto Inter [class 10] is quite far (yahaan par sarkaari school sirf paanch tak hain aur doosre sarkaari school jo inter tak hain, woh kaafi door hai)”.
2 Infrastructure and facilities: A very high proportion of parents with middle-school children in private schools were very happy with the infrastructure and facilities available to their children. Expectations were centred around the availability of furniture for the children to sit on, and the security and safety of children once in school.
3 Teaching: Some parents were also happy with the teaching in these schools, as, for example, parents of Ritu in class 7 in Chaktodar, Sant Ravidas Nagar district, UP. Parents of Pooja in class 7 in Belva Bai, Khushinagar district, UP were also positive about the teaching in spite of the fact that Pooja herself had complaints (see Negative Feedback below).
4 Child promoted regularly: Parents of Abdul in class 6 in Shivtar, Faizabad district, UP said they were happy with the school because their child was passing the annual examinations every year.
5 Cultural activities: Cultural activities were an important factor for the parents of Gopal enrolled in class 8 in Semri Harichand, Hoshangabad district, MP.
1. Poor teaching and facilities: Parents of Rita had chosen to send their daughter to a private school in Shivtar, Faizabad district, UP because there was no teaching in the government school in their village. She was in class 7. However, they were not happy with that private school, “None of the teachers pay any attention; there is no place for the children to sit; in the monsoon they shut the school because the roof leaks (sabhi adhyaapak dhyaan nahi dete; baithne ki koi vyavastha nahi hai; baarish mein school band kar dete hain kyonki chhat se paani tapakta hai)”. Pooja in class 7 in Belva Bai, Khushinagar district, UP reported that she was struggling with English and Mathematics because “the teacher does not come every day and I don’t understand what he teaches (adhyaapak roz aate nahi hain, tatha unki padhai samajh mein nahi aati)”.
2. Beaten badly at school: Thirteen per cent of parents reported that their children (enrolled in private schools in classes 6-8) had been beaten badly in school. This figure was higher than that reported in government schools (6%).
Parents' expenditure on their children's education (per child)
Children engaged in working
Having someone to turn to when learning‐related queries arise is a crucial form of home support required in these circumstances. Going by the responses of parents of the currently enrolled children, more than half (52%) do not get any assistance with their studies. In the majority of these cases, there is no educated person in the family to perform this role.