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Role of the Government of Andhra Pradesh in Higher Education of the social groups (SCs, STs and BCs)

State Government of Andhra Pradesh is carving the right path: A critique

This paper focuses on the growth of higher education in AP within the framework of preferential treatment and supportive measures for the benefit of SCs, STs and minorities. It also reviews the educational policy discourse which assigns several functions to higher education while presenting a relative context. Given the word limit and the wider scope, the paper restricts itself to the role of government of AP in Higher Education for SCs, STs and BCs.

For “ Swarna Andhra “(Footnote 1), a democratic approach is required. The current educational policies and programmes are unable to encompass the complex social reality within a single framework and are, therefore, unable to bridge the gap between policy and practice.

Literacy rates and recent trends: The analysis based on NSS1 data with respect to the illiteracy among adults across different social groups (ST, SC and OBC) presents more recent trends. The level of illiteracy is very high among adults belonging to ST, SC and OBC in rural AP. In rural areas the illiteracy rate ranged from 86.3 per cent for ST to 71.6 per cent for OBC in 2004-05.It is noticed that only 34.7% of persons passed up to matriculation, whereas the post matriculation passed is only 1.8% over population.

The dream of an equitable fruit of knowledge is not culminated hitherto.The recent RRC (2013)2 (Footnote 2), categorized AP as a less developed state with the underdevelopment index value at 0.521. As reflected in 2011 census, AP with 67.66 literacy rate stands at 31st position out of 35 ranks of states and union territories put together.

During the year 1999-2000 allocation for education sector was 13.65% of the state budget3. It dwindled between 10.01% to 10.78% during the period to 2010- 11 which implies that adequate budget was not provided by the State Government. GER in the state has not kept pace with neighboring southern states. The GER for AP for classes I-VIII (6-13 years) during 2012-13 is only 80.42 %.( Footnote 3)

The Government could have focused on consolidating the higher education sector and could have taken all necessary steps to improve the quality of higher education and concentrated on skill development and employability of students.

The SCs, STs, BCs and minorities constitute 80 per cent of the population, but the remaining 20 per cent decide what welfare measures should be granted to them. The state accounted for about 5.07% of SCs and 3.12% of STs of the total SC/ST population of India. The education of these social groups will only lead to an educated Andhra, hence the focus should shift.

Government’s role: Impacts and Requirements -Recent schemes like S.W.R.S4 (Footnote 4) are not producing satisfactory results and are degrading with time. The need is to increase investment both at the national and the state level.  During the period (1994-95 to 2003-04), the sanctioned strength has risen from 24,106 to 67,281 and the budget from Rs 25.32 crores to Rs 157.80 crores. Their number reduced from 2312 to 2240 from 2005 to 2014.

The amount spent on skill development is very meager.The achievement under Economic Support Schemes for SCs / STs is much lower than the physical target. From the HRDWP it is apparent that several initiatives that were launched by earlier government (between 1993-94 to 2003-04) that were path-breaking were not followed up by successive governments and no gains were made.

Employable youth from these classes should be offered Skill up gradation opportunities in close collaboration with user groups and industry. There is no coordination, supervision and direction of the implementation of schemes designed for the welfare of SCs, BCs and by other Depts., namely, the DOE, the DOIT, and the DOHUD.

 A.P. COMMISSION’s REPORT5 (Footnote 5)

In Arava, Srikakulam District, about 52% of households still depend on Traditional occupation i.e., Agricultural labour and manual labour for their livelihood. But no concrete steps are taken to improve their employability which is the primary function of higher education.           

 To improve their situation, along with Vocational courses under NVQEF, skills primary to their needs should be uplifted.  Following schemes absent in Andhra can be introduced as it has bored seeds of success, equality and education in other states of the country.6

  • New Courses Vocational Training in ITIs for SC students
  • Attendance Scholarship to SCs Primary Girl Students.
  • Provision of equipment and raw material in 24 Training cum Production Centre of Welfare Dept.
  • Financial Assistance to SCs for starting professional practice after completion of professional Courses
  • Pre Metric Scholarship to the children whose parents are engages in Unclean Occupation.

 

CONCLUSION & WAY FORWARD

Higher Education which aims at ready employability is imperative to develop any state or social group. The responsibility shared by the government in this process is of extreme importance. In the light of this argument, it is crystal clear how government of AP needs to segregate its focus to develop the whole of the state through the medium of education. Thus the role of a government in education in AP is explained.

AP in the present form with 13 districts has started a new beginning in the development path after its painful bifurcation. There can be no compromise in the quality of higher education for the state to be established as a “Knowledge Hub”. Social empowerment could only be assured with 100% sustainability improving  literacy and achieving equitable growth  transforming AP to “ Swarna Andhra “, in words of Mr. Naidu ( CM of AP)

 

FOOTNOTES 

Footnote 1. Swarn Andhra Vision: The Government of Andhra Pradesh has the vision (SwarnAndhra Vision 2029) to make Andhra Pradesh among the three best states in India by 2022 when India celebrates its 75th year of independence and to achieve the status of a developed state by 2029. To achieve this ambitious vision on one hand and to establish a new governance and institutional mechanism that is responsive to the contemporary needs and aspirations of the people, Government of Andhra Pradesh has decided to set up seven Missions, namely the Primary Sector Mission, the Social Empowerment Mission, the Industry Sector Mission, the Infrastructure Mission, the Urban Development Mission, the Service Sector Mission and the Knowledge and Skill Development Mission. The Knowledge mission comes under the social empowerment vision thus ensuring equal higher education for all.

Footnote 2. :  Raghu Ram Rajan Committee 2013: Rajan’s Committee develops an index of under-development of all the states of India. The underdevelopment index combines the following ten sub-components: (i) monthly per capita consumption expenditure (mpce), (ii) education, (iii) health, (iv) household amenities, (v) poverty rate, (vi) female literacy, (vii) percent of SC-ST population, (viii) urbanization rate, (viii) financial inclusion, and (x) connectivity. The Raghuram Rajan Committe Report (2013) proposes a general method of allocation of funds based on two criteria firstly ‘developmental needs’ of states measured by performance in certain socio-economic indicators (combined in a composite index of under-development) and secondly, improvement of states in the same index over time.        

Footnote 3 :( GER)Gross Enrollment Ratio, is a key monitor able indicator specified under the (MDGs) Millennium Development Goals The GER for AP for classes I-VIII (6-13 years) during 2012-13 is only 80.42% which is much lower than other southern states – Tamil Nadu with 100.25 %, Karnataka with 88.67).

Footnote  4: S.W.R.S system: Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Residential Institutions Society was formulated and registered as per G.O.Ms.No.1 of Social Welfare (Q1) Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh Dated. 2nd January, 1987.It’s main function is to impart quality education to the poor children, most of whom belong to SC community (75% seats are reserved for SCs and 12% for SC converted Christians). Social Welfare Residential schools (SWRS) and colleges were started by Government of Andhra Pradesh to provide quality education to poor SC, ST, and OBC students by establishing residential schools under this society.

Footnote 5: REPORT OF A.P. COMMISSION FOR BACKWARD CLASSES 13-04-2006:                                                                               A.P. Commission for backward classes in its meeting, resolved to examine the representations of the castes pending before the Commission which are predominantly concentrated in limited areas with less population. The Commission considered the representations submitted by the representatives and material papers filed by them, findings of Anthropological Survey of India, house-hold sample survey reports and personal observations of the Commission

 

Abbreviations used

AP: Andhra Pradesh

BC: Backward Classes

CM: Chief Minister

Depts.: Departments

DOE: Department of education

DOHUD: Department of Housing and Urban Development

DOIT: Department of industrial Training.

GER: Gross Enrollment Ratio

HRD WP: Human Resource Development Final White Paper dated 31 July, 2014

MDGS: Millennium Development Goals

NSS: National Sample Survey

NVEQF: National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF)

RRC: Raghu Ram Rajan Committee 2013

SC: Scheduled Castes

ST: Scheduled Tribes

Swarn Andhra:  SwarnAndhra Vision 2029 is to develop Andhra Pradesh as one of the three best states in India.

SWRS: Social Welfare Residential School Systems

                                                                  

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Written By Shreshta Sharma

Shreshta Sharma,an undergraduate at Lady Shri Ram College for Women.Interested in debates/discussions she writes and reads about social & political issues.

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