Courtesy: PR DEPTT, HP GOVT
Human Recourses Development is an essential input for promoting the economic growth and development. Education and training constitute the most significant factor in raising the level of the quality of human resources. The State has made enviable progress in the field of education. Education receives priority in the State and allocation of resources is much higher in Himachal Pradesh which is first State in the country to achieve the target of 100 percent enrolment of children in the age group of 6-14 years. This has been possible due to the schooling facilities, which have been provided within walkable distance of 1.5 kms.
The State Government is spending about Rs. 1208 crore in this vital sector during current financial year which comprises 13.90 percent of the total budget. The State has a vast network of 10,613 primary schools, 3752 upper primary schools, 943 high schools, 714 senior secondary schools and five special schools besides 62 colleges and three Universities. As many as 8,97,402 children have been enrolled in primary and upper primary schools, which makes the State one of the front runner State in the country to have such a huge number of students enrolled in primary schools. The drop out rate at primary stage of education in the State has also come down to 0.89 percent.
Under Special Enrolment campaign, 26,906 mild and moderately disabled children out of the 29,122 identified children have been enrolled in the schools and 1900 children with severe and profound disability have been brought under Special Home Based Education Programme, under “Serv Shiksha Abhiyan”. Besides, three special day care centers have been set up, one each at Shimla, Mandi and Dharmshala, for the education of disabled children. In order to achieve the goal of Universalization of Elementary Education and to provide quality Elementary Education, the State Government has established a Directorate of Elementary Education in the State.
An ambitious Rs. 532 crore Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan is being implemented in the State. As many as 2906 Early Child Care Education Centres, 579 Libraries at cluster-level and 1130 science and math labs in upper primary school level have been established under this programme.
Himachal Pradesh is the first State in the country which is provding free education to girl child at all level, including professional courses. For encouraging girl education, National programme of education for girls at Elementary level and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme is being implemented in seven educationally backward blocks of the State where the female literacy rate is lower than the National Rural Female Literacy rate. This endeavour of the State Government has borne fruit and as many as 5,43,805 girls have been enrolled in 10,613 primary schools of the State.
English subject has been introduced from Class 1st onwards in all the Government Primary Schools of the State in order to check the out-flow of children from Government Primary Schools towards the so-called English medium Public Schools. In addition, new text books of other subject for class 1st to 4th have also been developed and introduced in all schools, besides Bhoti language has been introduced for Class 1st to 5th class.
Though, the State has reached a reasonable density of schools, yet new institutions would be opened on need base. Towards mitigation of such gaps, as many as 200 middle schools through Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, 25 High Schools, 50 Senior Secondary Schools and eight colleges would be opened during the current financial year, especially in far-flung and rural areas.
In order to promote opening of private schools of par excellence, the State Government is also contemplating to introduce Himachal Pradesh Private Universities (Establishment and Regulation) Bill-2006. This Act would promote and regulate setting up of institutes of excellence in the State, which would be the first step in making the State a “Knowledge State”, of the country.
The State Government is ensuring that the students studying in the rural schools, besides getting quality education also have access to other basic amenities such as adequate class rooms, drinking water and toilets. As many as 3682 primary and middle schools have two class rooms, 5305 schools have three rooms and 4175 middle and high schools have more than three class rooms. The State Government has decided to construct 10,527 additional rooms out of which 3330 rooms have been constructed and remaining 6163 rooms would be constructed in next two years.
To ensure sufficient teachers in the schools, especially in remote and tribal areas, the State Government has formulated “H.P. Prathmik Sahayak Adhayapak/ Primary Assistant Teacher-03 scheme for the State. Under this scheme, 3410 Primary Assistant Teachers have been appointed and posted in different and remote areas of the State. Computer literacy programme has been started in 282 schools of the State. Under this programme, the students would not only be given elementary knowledge of computers but the mainstream subjects would also be taught through computers.
All these concerted efforts of the State Government has earned appreciation from several quarters. The State in the recent survey conducted by a prestigious magazine has ranked Himachal Pradesh the top State of the country in the field of education and teacher-student ratio.