Strides in Primary Education: Bihar 2015

Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.

                                                                                                            — Nelson Mandela

In 2005, Nitish Kumar inherited a state with a high 30% illiteracy rate and a shocking 70% illiteracy among women. Believing that education was a crucial pillar for the state’s long-term development, the Nitish Kumar government invested heavily in education. His government made education a high priority, especially for girls and women, and undertook measures to boost the capacity of primary schools, improve funding for the education sector, and initiate schemes that encouraged school attendance.

Measures taken by the government of Nitish Kumar:

  • Doubled spending on primary schools from 5,600 crore rupees in 2006-07 to over 13,000 crore rupees in 2012-13.
  • Focused on enhancing education spending with a steady increase at the rate of 16.7% from 2007 to 2013.
  • Hired more than 2,00,000 teachers through an innovative decentralization program.
  • Constructed 1,00,000 additional classrooms to revive schools.
  • Opened 21,087 new primary schools and upgraded about 19,581 primary schools into middle schools.
  • Improved basic facilities in primary schools. More than 90% of the schools have water drinking facilities and more schools had common toilets and toilets for girls by 2006-07.
  • Trained of 70,000 teachers, particularly for class 1 and 2.
  • Initiated training of 20,000 teachers in science and mathematics.
  • Provided school development grants to 83% schools during the first year of coming into power (2005-06).
  • Disbursed Teaching Learning Material grant to 69% of the schools.
  • Supplied uniforms for children of classes I-VIII in all public schools under the Mukhyamantru Poshak Yojana.
  • Distributed free textbooks to every student.
  • Introduced the Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojana in 2007 to provide monetary help to girls to buy bicycles to commute to high school.
  • Introduced the Mukhyamantri Balak Cycle Yojana in 2009 to provide monetary help to boys to buy bicycles to commute to school.
  • Initiated scholarship programs for girls and boys for awarding exemplary performance, encouraging attendance, and supporting low-income families.
  • Boosted the mid-day meal program to encourage school attendance.
  • Started the “Gyan Jyoti” program to impart vocational training to girls.
  • Initiated “Mission Gunwatta” to impart skill development and vocational training in elementary education.
  • Initiated the “Samajh Sikhen” program to enhance the quality of education in elementary schools.

The improvements in the education sector of Bihar surpassed that of other states during Nitish Kumar’s 10-year tenure as chief minister.

Achievements & Impact:

  • By 2011, the measures had boosted the state’s literacy rate by almost 17%, the fastest among all states in India.
  • For the age group of 6-14 years, the proportion of children out of school declined from 12.8% in 2006 to 3%.
  • For the age group of 11-14 years for girls, the proportion of girls out of school declined from 17.6% in 2006 to 4.3% in 2011. It was the second highest decline among all states.
  • Gross enrolment ratio increased more in Bihar than anywhere else in India.
  • Over 23 lakh children between the ages of 6 and 14 enrolled in schools.
  • The number of schools increased from 52,112 in 2005 to 73,592 in 2015.
  • The number of admissions increased from 1,33,97,041 in 2005 to 1,06,29,206 in 2015.
  • The annual school dropout rate fell from 11.36 in 2005 to 2.64 in 2015.
  • The total number of general toilets in schools increased from 18,785 in 2005 to 55,919 in 2015.
  • The total number of girls’ toilets in schools saw a marked increase from 6,334 in 2005 to 53,730 in 2015.
  • In 2014-15 alone, 1,55,95,048 students received free textbooks and uniforms.
  • Since March 2008, 38, 28,436 students are provided with mid-day meals daily.
  • Since 2007-08, under the Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojana, , 40 lakh girls studying in class IX have received money to purchase cycles.
  • Since 2009-10, under the Mukhyamantri Balak Cycle Yojana, 39 lakh boys studying in class IX have received money to purchase cycles.
  • Since 2011-12, under Under the Mukhyamantri Balika Poshak Yojana, 57 lakh girls studying in class IX to XII have received money to purchase school dresses.
  • Under the “Gyan Jyoti” program, 72,000 girls have received vocational training and 76,000 girls have received theater skill training.
  • The government disburses a large number of scholarships for girls, scheduled castes and tribes, and backward classes each year.
  • In 2012, 76% of the citizens surveyed through the independent Public Affairs Foundation, a Bangalore-based NGO, said they were satisfied with improvements in school facilities.

This year, the Nitish Kumar government has already invested 3,100 crore rupees in education-related programs. These include equipping schools with uniforms, bicycles, and scholarships for children, and investing in earthquake-resistant classrooms. For facilitating higher education, Nitish Kumar’s government has undertaken the construction of plus-two schools in panchayats. Moreover, the state government plans to invest heavily in training programs for teachers to improve the quality of education. Such measures will boost the state’s education sector and continue to yield benefits for the generations to come.