Human Development – Emerging Dimensions: Role of SIEMAT

By Professor Satya Bhushan, paper presented in a Seminar on State, School and Community – Role of Educational Management and Training in a Changing Perspective held at SIEMAT Bihar, Patna, March 20-21, 1999 and Edited by Dr. Sudhansu Bhusan, Additional Director, SIEMAT Bihar, Patna.


The role of education in the over-all development of nations has received major stimulation in the context of new growth theories, logical need of human development and knowledge revolution particularly in the fields of science, technology, information and communication. Tomorrow’s society is visualized as Learning Society with four main pillars – Learning to Learn, Learning to Work, Learning to Be and Learning to Live Together.

International Trends

Human capital with valuable and relevant knowledge built through the process of education has emerged as a critical input for equitable and sustainable growth of societies. According to a World Bank study (1995), Japanese economic wealth consists of 1% natural capital, 14% physical capital and 85% human and social capital. In the US, according to Devision and Solow, 2/3rd of output growth between 1945-81 is attributed to Education, innovation of scales and scientific advances. Role of primary education in the “Miracle of East Asian Economies” is highlighted in a number of studies.

The state of human development at the global level is reflected in the annual publications of UNDP since 1990. 1998 report shows that out of 174 countries, 64 are in the High Human Development Category, 66 in the Medium and 44 in the low category. India is in the low category with 139 ranks.

Eighty countries have published country specific and disaggregated data of human development for policy formulation and planning purposes. There are growing numbers of countries engaged in re-defining agenda for educational development. Contents, strategies and approaches, however, vary in the light of country- specific needs, national perceptions, experiences and future vision. International perceptions on this account are reflected in the UNESCO Reports on Education for 21st century – Learning the Treasure Within and Education and Teacher Education. (1998)

National Scenario

In India, Human Development Index covering sixteen states was published in 1996 and recently Madhya Pradesh has come out with state specific study. Education, Health and per capita income are key ingredients to determine the HDI ranking of states. Kerala is number 1, Madhya Pradesh 16 and Bihar is 13 in the ranking.

Disaggregated Human Development Index (Table – 1)

Life Expectancy (Years) Adult Literacy Rate (%) Real GDP Per Capita (1993 PPPS) HDI Value HDI Ranking
Kerala 72 86 1,017 0.597 1
Punjab 66 52 2,124 0.516 2
Maharashtra 64 60 1,802 0.513 3
Haryana 63 49 1,915 0.476 4
Gujarat 60 57 1,416 0.458 5
West Bengal 61 57 1,186 0.452 6
Himachal Pradesh 64 51 1,180 0.447 7
Karnataka 62 52 1,224 0.442 8
Tamil Nadu 62 51 1,119 0.432 9
Andhra Pradesh 60 40 1,227 0.393 10
Assam 54 49 932 0.374 11
Orissa 55 46 896 0.368 12
Bihar 59 39 640 0.3504 13
Rajasthan 58 36 961 0.3503 14
Uttar Pradesh 56 38 884 0.243 15
Madhya Pradesh 54 41 898 0.341 16


a. Since disaggregated data on combined enrolment ratio is not available, the education index component of the HDI gives the entire weight to the adult literacy index. Comparisons with data for rural India only (NCAER 1996) for which the combined enrolment ratio is available-indicate that variations in the HDI value and rankings due to this omission are minimal.

b. Real GDP per capita in 1993 PPS is calculated by multiplying the ratio of the regional per capita income to the national per capita income by India’s real GDP per capita of 1,240 (in PPS) reported in UNDP 1996b.

(Source: NCAER 1996; Shiva Kumar 1995; and UNDP 1996b.)

Educational Profile

Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution, recommendations of the Expert Committees, 1986 Educational Policy Document and amendments of the Indian Constitution in 1992 are some of the landmarks in formulation of Educational Policies and implementation strategies. Education Balance-sheet is as under:

Progress Failure
Literacy rate has increased more than three times since independence India is first in terms of number of total illiterates (30% of the global world)
Female literacy increased two and half times faster than male literacy between 1930 and 1995 Female literacy (43%) was 26% below male literacy (69%)
There are 91 million more adult female illiterates than males in India
Primary Education
Over 182 thousand new Primary schools built between 1970-71 and 1995-96 About 35 million in the 6-10 age groups do not attend primary schools.
37% of all primary school children drop out before reaching Grade 5
Educational Priorities
Expenditure on Education as % of GNP increased by six times from 0.7% in 1951-52 to almost 4% in 1993-94 The amount allocated to elementary education declined from 56% in First Plan (1951-56) to 29% in Seventh Plan (1983-90).

Enrolment and Attendance in Select States (Table 2)

State Primary gross enrol- ment rate (%) Children aged 6-10 in school (%)
Kerala 103 93
Tamil Nadu 137 90
Punjab 81 84
Gujarat 110 77
West Bengal 98 73
Karnataka 111 76
Uttar Pradesh 69 61
Madhya Pradesh 96 56
Bihar 71 50
Rajasthan 83 59
All India 92 70


a. About three-quarters of out-of-school children live in six states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

b. Gender disparity is as high as 42 percentage points for enrolment rates in Bihar and 31 in Uttar Pradesh, but is only 3 percentage points in Kerala and 5 in the Punjab. While Bihar has a female literacy rate of only 29 per cent, Kerala can boast rate of 82 per cent.

c. Participation rate from standard 6 to 8 in Bihar is 34.8% the lowest among all states (National Source)

d. Key Educational Challenges are:

  • Low Access
  • Low achievement
  • Low completion

In the budget for next financial year there is a provision of National Human Development Initiative to empower the vulnerable sections of society by enabling them to have access to education, health care, food, employment and shelter through schemes to be implemented by elected Panchayats. Year 1999-2000 is declared as the “Year of Gram Sabha” to accelerate the process of decentralized democracy with human development as the core objective of planning.

Proposed National Education Guarantee Scheme will provide an elementary school in every habitation which does not have one within a radius of one km. At least 1.8 lakh schools are planned to be made operational during the next three years. Initially, the local community will provide the premises and select a local person as teacher. The Gram Panchayat will mobilize contributions from local community in cash and kind for running the school, while the state and central government will provide professional and technical assistance.

The Institutional Dimensions

National level perceptions of Management System of Primary Education is a multi level framework with political, administrative and technical components at each level. Community involvement is envisaged through Panchayati Raj Institutions and provisions of technical and professional support by new organisations like SIEMAT, DIET, Block and Cluster Resource Centres.

Management System of Primary Education (Table 3)

Level         Political Administrative Technical
Central Govt. of India,
Education sectt.
State State Govt., Ministry of Education Education Sectt. Directorate SCERT, SIEMAT
District Zilla Parishad Distt. Education
Block Panchayat Samiti Block Education
Block Resource Centre
Mandal/Taluka Mandal Block
School  Inspectorate Cluster Resource Centre
Village Gram Panchayat VEC Head Teacher Teachers

Source : Primary Education in India.

Role of SIEMAT

The evidence cited in the preceding sections and wider acceptability of Prof. Amartya Sen’s formulations clearly show a shift in the paradigms from the earlier growth model based on accumulation of physical capital and labour force to the new approach based on behaviour of the people responsible for the accumulation of productive factors and knowledge. Human development envisaged by enlargement of people’s choice through acquisition of knowledge and ensuring their access to resources for decent standard of living and long life becomes the desired aim of the growth. Education in this process plays decisive role (Human Development Report, 1996).

This development needs to be recognised by the Educational Policy makers, planners and managers. Despite our policy pronouncements and Constitutional Directives, our record of implementing new thrusts is mixed one – some successes and many failures. Provision of technical and resource support at the grass root level was a part of larger strategy to energize the system and achieve national goals in Elementary and Adult Education. Socio-cultural, economic and political dynamics, unevenness of development, need of active involvement of community have their bearing on educational planning and management and demand situation specific approaches for effective implementation of programmes. Detailed guidelines spelling out the concept-context, mission, role and functions-were circulated by the HRD Ministry in 1989. Some of these formulations may be useful for effective operationalization of the SIEMAT.

In the Background Paper some basic issues and areas of concern are highlighted and during our discussions we will get opportunity to go into further details in our search for viable strategies to meet the exigencies of the system. In the implementation dynamics of educational reform, identical problems have arisen both within our country and outside. Our friends are thus in tune with the main stream and this reflects their sincerity of purpose and commitment to the cause of education. Are there any remedial measures available? The success stories of programmes in Bihar and outside shows that answer is “Yes” with one proviso that each approach is situation specific and as such we may learn from the same but should not overlook the relational aspect of the same to our conditions. Mechanistic application of imported models will not give the desired results.

Keeping in view the complexities of the situation, emerging challenges and urgency for achieving our desired goals, the SIEMAT and other Technical-cum-Resource Institutions cannot be simply training institutions and they need to develop into “Learning and Action organisations” where people continually expand their capacities to create the results they truly desire and perform pace-setting role in the process of educational change. Three main tasks before the Institute will be :

(a) Acquisition of Knowledge

  • Generation of knowledge through Research e.g. Disagreegated Human Development Index of Bihar, Action Research
  • Research findings from other sources
  • Compilation of case studies based on the national and international experiences.

(b) Dissemination of knowledge through

  • Use of media
  • Publications
  • Sensitization sessions
  • Seminars and Discussions

(c) Capacity to absorb knowledge and use it for developmental purposes e.g.

  • Orientation of functionaries, trainers, community leaders
  • Render professional and technical advice
  • District and Micro level planning
  • Improving school effectiveness – Institutional Planning
  • Extension work

In the performance of these tasks, the Institute will concern itself with planning and management aspects of Basic Education and seek active collaboration and support of state functionaries, NGOs, Research Institutions, identical agencies like SRCs, SCERT, and particularly DIETs, Block and Cluster Resource Centres.

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