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Education policy reforms and the quality of the school system : a field study of primary schools in Madhya Pradesh, India

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  • François Leclercq



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    (english) Reforms of primary education undertaken in Madhya Pradesh since the mid-1990’s have been said to be bringing the state close to universal enrolment, yet they have sparked much controversy and have hardly been the subject of any independent research. This paper presents the results of a field study of public schools conducted in Betul and Dewas districts in 2002. Substantial progress has been made in enrolling underprivileged children, but the quality of education now deserves more emphasis. Indeed, the ‘education guarantee’ offered is incomplete, as the schools under study are affected by low quantity and poor quality of teaching. The potential for better school management created by decentralisation does not actually translate into adequate incentives (e.g. through the new training and inspection system) for the local residents recently appointed as teachers to work effectively. Meanwhile, there is a risk of fragmentation of the school supply between different types of public and private schools limiting the equalising impact of educational development on rural society. _________________________________ (français) Les réformes de l’éducation primaire entreprises depuis le milieu des années 1990 dans l’Etat du Madhya Pradesh (Inde centrale) ont visé à étendre le secteur public par la création de nombreuses écoles et à en décentraliser la gestion, tout en facilitant le développement du secteur privé. Le taux de scolarisation primaire aurait ainsi considérablement augmenté, mais ces réformes ont suscité des controverses aiguës, alors qu’il en existe peu d’études indépendantes. Cet article présente les résultats d’une étude de terrain menée dans les districts de Betul et Dewas en 2002, portant en particulier sur un programme intitulé «Education Guarantee Scheme ». La scolarisation des enfants issus de milieux défavorisés a manifestement augmenté, mais la « garantie éducative » en question est incomplète, la quantité et la qualité de l’enseignement dispensé dans les écoles étudiées étant insuffisantes. La décentralisation de la gestion des écoles (renforçant notamment la formation et l’inspection des enseignants) ne résulte pas pour l’heure en une structure incitative adéquate pour que les habitants des villages nommés instituteurs puissent enseigner de façon efficace. Enfin, la coexistence de différents types d’écoles publiques et privées risque d’aboutir à une ségrégation sociale du système scolaire qui pourrait limiter l’effet égalisateur du développement de l’éducation sur la société rurale.

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    Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2003/12.

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    Length: 29 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2003
    Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200312
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