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Education innovation in MP

We have been discussing how to make education accessible to all in
India.  I recently made a trip to Madhya Pradesh on the invitation of
the government to evaluate their new Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS)
schools.  It's a great innovation in making primary education accessible
to all in MP.  Basically the scheme works like this:  Any community with
at least 25 primary age children and no primary school within one km can
make a case to "demand" a school. EGS finds a teacher, in almost all
cases from the same community, and trains her.  They pay the salary (Rs
500/month) and provide basic supplies for the school (blackboard,
slates, books, etc) and the community agrees to provide space for the
school.  The community typically uses someone's  varandah as school or
space in the temple, or build some "kaccha" structure (tent etc).

At the cost of about Rs. 8500 a year, EGS creates and maintains a
primary school.  In less than four years they have created about 22000
primary schools as compared to about 33000 that the MP govt created in
last fifty years.  Of courese now the battle is assure participation and
achieve higher quality of learning, but the access is there.

I could visit only a few schools but it was really impressive to see the
dedication of these community teachers and affection the students showed
toward them.  Certainly a good beginning for a meaningful learning!

In the next stage, EGS is adding a teacher (making sure that at least
one of the two teachers is a woman) and giving fixed sum of Rs. 50,000
to build a school building.  The sum is small enough to require
contributions from the community to complete the building.  The money is
given directly to the Village Education Committee and they design and
construct the building.  In less than two months of the program, about
20 or so buildings have come up.


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