FEMALE ENROLLMENT AND EMPLOYMENT OF TEACHERS IN SCHOOL EDUCATION IN UNDIVIDED ANDHRA PRADESH
Y. Ramakrishna* and Prof. D. Pulla Rao**
Female education in India is not a gift of modern civilization. India has always been a relentless champion of the cause of women at all international and national front. The policy makers have become conscious that real development cannot take roots if it bypasses women, who represent the very essential part around which social change must take shape. The past few years have seen unprecedented changes in the political, diplomatic, economic and ideological spheres, but certainly a lot of developments have also taken roots. From growth to growth with equity, from economic development to human development and from services endowment to empowerment, the paradigms of development have certainly come a long way .The development of women in India – who according to the 2011 census represent 48.46 per cent of the country’s population – has occupied the centre-stage in our development planning since independence. In this study, an attempt has been made to identify the female enrollment and employment of teachers in school education in Andhra Pradesh. Several strategies were adopted to promote education of girls as an integral part of the planned socio-economic development of the country. The removal of women’s illiteracy and obstacles inhibiting their access to and retention in primary education will receive over riding priority, through provision of special support services, setting of time targets and effective monitoring. The Data indicate that the participation of Women Teachers has been increasing. The index of female teachers recorded a much higher increase than that of the male teachers. This may be due to implementation of 33.33 per cent of reservation policy in Andhra Pradesh in favour of women. It is concluded that unless all the ladies are totally educated we cannot expect them to play any effective role in the society.
Education plays an important role in the process of development of human resources. Education and modernization are the two wheels of the same cart. Both, when combined together, lead to a rapid socio-economic development of a nation. While study of advanced science and technology helps achieve modernization, the basic education helps the poor masses to take advantage of scientific and technological development, and hence, of modernization. It is, therefore, not by accident that the provision regarding education of the poor masses form an integral part of the Constitution of India enforced on 26th January, 1950. The Article 45 of the Constitution provides for free and compulsory education for all children in the age group 6-14 years, up to a minimum level. The whole idea has been woven around the concept of universalization of elementary education. The level of compulsory education as envisaged in this Article corresponds to the elementary education of eight years duration from Class I to Class VIII for the children aged 6-14 years. Primary education constitutes a very important part of the entire structure of education. It is at this stage, the child starts going to a formal institution and formal education starts. And it is at this stage that the child empowerment starts to build up. This is not to underplay the fact that Andhra Pradesh is among the educationally backward states in the country.
Education of girls has been high on both national and state agendas. Special commissions and committees were set up from time to time to assess the progress of girls’ education and to propose suitable interventions to promote their educational participation. Several strategies were adopted to promote education of girls as an integral part of the planned socio-economic development of the country. The removal of women’s illiteracy and obstacles inhibiting their access to, and retention in primary education will receive overriding priority, through provision of special support services, setting of time targets, and effective monitoring.
History of Women’s Education
The history of India as well as the history of Andhra Pradesh records that women enjoyed a high status in the society. They were provided educational opportunities comparable to men. The social evils like purdah, sati, enforced widowhood and child-marriage crept into the society much later and resulted in the degradation of their status. There were no institutions for education of girls during Muslim period, but girls did receive religious education in the recitation of the Quran in their homes.
Under the British rule, the East India Company was reluctant to take up the responsibility of girl’s education for a long time, due to the doctrine of religious neutrality, which was adopted by the Government so as not to offend the natives even on social customs that had nothing to do with religion. The Indian Education Commission (1882) took a serious note of the status and education of women and rated it to be extremely backward, and recommended measures for improvement. But, because of certain socio-political reasons, no noticeable progress could be made.
After Independence, the University Education Commission (1948-49), set up by the government of India, laid special emphasis on the education of women and recommended that in view of the similar fields of activity for men and women, and some specific requirements of women, maximum facilities should be given for education in Home Economics and Home Management.
During the post-independence period, the main strategy adopted to achieve equalization of educational opportunities has been to make school accessible to every child. It was thought that expansion of educational facilities, as a part of providing universal elementary education for all would make education available to the weaker sections of the society including women.
Gender inequality has become one of the major areas of concern for educationists and policy makers in the developing countries in the 21st century. Gender inequality in India stems from two important sources of differences between men and women i.e. (1) earning capacity that make women utterly dependent upon men and (2) cultural taboos and traditions that greatly restrict the autonomy of women. Biological differentiation has perpetuated a structure, which has deprived women of normalcy of life chances as available to men.
As long as Indian society remains male dominated, the constitutional provisions for legal equality of women with men matters very little. Perhaps, in no area are the laws so openly and widely violated as in the case of women, whether it is a question of education, health, and securing employment or equal wages for equal work. The prevailing mindset of the people of the society is primarily responsible for the gender inequalities, which force women to be submissive.
Women are discriminated against notwithstanding the important role in several aspects of human life and materially contribute significantly for the development of the family, society and the country. Women account for a large percentage of unpaid work, both at home and outside. They actively participate themselves in work on the family farms and in household enterprises. Where they do participate in paid work, their earnings are low employment irregular and insecure, support services inadequate, opportunities for improvement and growth few and collective organization weak.
It is a well-known fact that women play a very important role in agriculture, as it is largely a household enterprise. They are engaged in agriculture both as main workers and as marginal workers also. Women perform a variety of tasks in agriculture transplantations, such as fertilizer application, weeding harvesting. Their role in the allied activities like management of dairy, poultry, sheep breeding etc is also well known. Indian women are major producers of food in terms of value, volume and hours of work.
Women, of late, have been increasingly involving themselves in work outside agriculture – in the secondary and tertiary sectors. Increasing levels of educational attainments have facilitated such involvement. To carry forward this trend, it is necessary that education of females should continue to be accorded greater and greater priority. Fortunately, the changing norms in the society are now enabling more and more women to actively seek education. Now they can be found in large numbers in the fields of Information Technology, science and space research and in other such fields that demand high level of skills.
As per the National Policy on Education (NPE) – 1986, the government of India launched several programmes. One such programme was the Mahila Samakhya, whose main emphasis was empowerment of women. The programme endeavors to create a learning environment where women can collectively affirm their potential, gain the strength to demand information and knowledge and move forward to change and take charge of their lives.
The government of Andhra Pradesh has taken up certain pioneering initiatives such as Operation Black Board (OBB), Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP), District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), establishment of School Education Committees, Village Education Committees, Mandal Education Committees, Maa Badi (our school), Chaduvula Pandunga (festival of studies), Akshra Sankranti (literacy festival), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Vidya-Volunteer Scheme, Mid-day Meal Scheme, etc. to provide quality primary education for all. Due to the existing programmes, and some initiatives on the part of the government, the girls’ education has developed faster than that of boys in Andhra Pradesh.
This paper address itself to the quantification of advances made by females in respect of primary, upper primary and secondary education in Andhra Pradesh from 1959-60 to 2014-15.
The Specific Objectives are
1. To estimate disparity index between male and female literacy rates.
2. To estimate the growth of enrollment of girls vis-a-vis boys in primary, upper primary and secondary education, and
3. To examine the increase in the number of women teachers employed in primary, upper primary and high schools.
The secondary data relating to the enrollment of students by sex in primary stage and the number of teachers by sex working in primary schools for the period from 1959-60 to 2014-15 in Andhra Pradesh are obtained from the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad and the Commissioner and Director of School Education, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad.
The Structure of School Education in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh has accepted a uniform structure of education popularly known as 10+2+3 pattern of school and college education. This pattern visualizes 10 years of general education including 7 years of elementary followed by 3 years of secondary education, 2 years of senior secondary / Intermediate followed by 3 years of college education leading to the award of first degree. A child is admitted to Class I, normally, at the age of 6 years and is supposed to complete primary education up to Class V at the age of 11 years, and elementary education up to class VII, at the age of 13 years upto this stage the state is constitutionally obliged to provide for free and compulsory education to all children under Article 45. At the end of VII class there is a district common examination. Elementary education is followed by three years of secondary education popularly known as ‘High School’. At this stage also there is no diversification of courses and there is common curriculum for all children. The main purpose of this stage is to build a strong foundation in the fundamental principles of all basic subjects. At the end of this stage, that is, after 10 years of general education, the first public examination is held. This stage is followed by two years of senior secondary/ Intermediate education. The senior secondary or +2 stage consists of two streams, academic and vocational.
Special Schemes and Programmes for Promoting Education of Girls
Several strategies were adopted to promote education of girls in Andhra Pradesh. Theoretically, all formal and non-formal education and training programmes are open to women also along with their male counterparts. However, separate provisions are made for opening of separate institutions or separate wings for girls exclusively. Education is free for girls up to the higher secondary stage and several states have made education free for girls right up to the university level as well. Besides, there are other incentives like free noon meals, free books, free uniforms, scholarships for good attendance, bicycles etc.
In the first three Five Year Plans, girls’ education covered under special component plans with additional allocations. In the Eight Five Year Plan, a central scheme was introduced to provide funds to the state governments to hire a woman teacher for all single teacher primary schools and also towards cash awards and prizes for villages, blocks and districts with good performance in female education/literacy. Girls belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes received additional benefits for showing better school attendance. As a result of the protective discrimination policies under constitutional provisions, the enrollment of the SC and ST girl children as considerably improved.
Progress of Female Literacy Rate in Andhra Pradesh
As per the figures based on 2011 census, women constitute about 49.79 per cent of the total population of Andhra Pradesh. In fact this percentage should have been 50. The sex ratio is adverse. In the field of education these disparities between males and females are still larger. Table-1 shows the gap between the literacy rates of males and females. It shows how the gap has been persisting since 1961. In 1961 the female literacy rate was 12.03 per cent as against 30.19 per cent among males. The disparity index (ratio of male literacy rate to female literacy rate) in 1961 was 2.51. The literacy rate of females rose to 59.74 per cent in 2011 even as the rate for males increased to 75.56 per cent. As shown in table-1, the literacy rate among females has increased at a faster rate than among males. This is evident from the successively decreasing trend of disparity index from 2.51 in 1961 to 1.26 in 2011. In Andhra Pradesh females responded far more enthusiastically than males to the total literacy campaigns launched by the government with the help of non-governmental organizations and the cooperation of NGOs.
Progress of Girls’ Enrollment in Different Stages of Schools in Andhra Pradesh
Table-2 shows the progress of girls’ enrollment in primary, upper primary and secondary stages. In 1959-60, the enrollment of girls was 37.88 per cent (10.63 lakhs out of 28.06 lakhs) at primary stage, 22.94 per cent (61,752 out of 2.69 lakhs) at upper primary stage, and 17.88 per cent (39,594 out of 2.21 lakhs) at secondary stage. By 2014-2015, the situation had considerably improved with girls’ enrollment reaching 48.88 per cent (37.98 lakhs out of 76.92 lakhs) at primary level, 47.61 per cent (13.16 lakhs out of 27.00 lakhs) at upper primary stage and 47.89 per cent (13.09 lakhs out of 28.35 lakhs) in secondary stage.
Table – 2: Percentage of Girls Enrollment to Total Enrollment by Stages
1959-60 to 2014-15
Sources: 1. Commissioner and Director of School Education, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
2. Statistical abstracts of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, for various years.
The enrollment of girls has increased at a faster rate than that of boys at primary, upper primary and also secondary stage. During our study period (1959-60 to 2014-15) the Annual Compound Growth Rate of enrollment of girls was 10.25 per cent as against 0.87 per cent of boys in primary stage. The corresponding figures were 9.04 and 6.34 in upper primary stage and 6.83 and 2.88 in secondary stage respectively. The foregoing analysis shows that during the whole period of 45 years after formation of the state of Andhra Pradesh, the growth rate of enrollment of girls has been higher than that of boys. It shows clearly in Table – 3.
Progress of Female Teachers in Different Types of Schools in Andhra Pradesh
Table – 4 shows the percentage of female teachers to total teachers in primary, upper primary and high schools. The female teachers constitute only 18.20 per cent in primary schools, 22.49 per cent in upper primary schools and 16.10 per cent in high schools compared with the corresponding percentage of 81.80, 77.51 and 83.90 among male teachers in 1959-60. These figures increased to 50.55 per cent in primary schools, 51.32 per cent in upper primary schools and 39.73 per cent in high schools as against 49.45 per cent in primary schools, 48.68 per cent in upper primary schools and 60.27 per cent in high schools among male teachers in 2014-15. One should consider that increase in the number of women teachers is a healthy sign for the reasons (1) that it contributes to gender equality, and (2) the women teachers exhibit care and patience, their general traits, in teaching in primary, upper primary and secondary schools.
During the period of our study (1959-60 to 2014-15) the Annual Compound Growth Rate of female teachers was 3.79 per cent as against 0.83 per cent of male teachers in primary schools. The corresponding figures were 7.39 per cent and 5.29 per cent in upper primary schools and 6.32 and 3.41 in high schools respectively. These data indicate that the participation of women has been increasing. It shows clearly in Table -5.
To repeat, the number of women teachers reached an all time high at primary, upper primary and high school stage in 2014-15. The number of both male and female teaches in primary, upper primary and high schools shows as increasing trend over the period of our study. It is particularly noteworthy that the index of female teachers recorded a much higher increase than that of the male teachers. This may be due to implementation of 33.33 per cent of reservation policy in Andhra Pradesh in favour of women.
Conclusions and Suggestions:
At the time of the formation of the state, females were way behind males in terms of educational attainments, as elsewhere in the country. This is not a surprise given the cultural taboos that come in the way of educating females and given the son preference that is so glaring in our society. However, as time passed by, females made rapid progress especially in school education, the constitutional provisions and special efforts at the state level coming in handy. A process has set in motion where by the gap between males and females in literacy rate is getting reduced, the growth rate of enrollment of girls at the school level is exceeding that of boys, the gender disparity index is fast decreasing and, more importantly, large number of females are taking to teaching in schools. Though women share is about fifty per cent in the total population, their involvement in the education system is quit far far behind. Mother as the first teacher of the child, herself being an illiterate and one cannot expect miracles from her. It is a shame that we have kept mother India illiterate, ignorant and second grade citizen of the society. Unless, all the ladies are totally educated we cannot expect them to play any effective role in the society.
Therefore, it is time that we concentrate on women education as a first priority. If resources are scarce it is highly advisable that the women educational needs are satisfied first.
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