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Oxfam India working papers series September 2010 OIWPS - III

A. K. Shiva Kumar and

Preet Rustagi

Essential Services Elementary Education in India: Progress, Setbacks, and Challenges

This paper provides a stocktaking of progress and shortcomings in India's march towards universalisation of elementary education (UEE), whilst addressing concerns of equity, inclusion, and quality from the central focus which looks into the dimensions of locational disadvantage, social exclusion, gender disparity, and special needs for children of other neglected groups. It focuses on gaps in enrolment, infrastructural provisioning, equity concerns in terms of being inclusive in the context of schools functioning, teachers (social group, training, motivation, transaction and so on), management, and governance issues. The extent and manifestations of non-inclusion or exclusion in the educational context is also related to the capacity of the State as refl ected in the policy fuzziness and ambiguities. Six areas for public action are suggested. Apart from structural reforms, a much stronger public pressure backed by better and shared public reasoning is required for overcoming the challenges for attainment of compulsory and free education to all children


Disclaimer: Oxfam India Working Paper Series disseminates the fi nding of the work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues. An objective of the series is to get the fi ndings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The fi ndings, interpretations, and conclusion expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of Oxfam India.

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