Upper Primary Education in India: An Analysis of School Facilities and Costs
By N.V.Varghese and Arun C. Mehta, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi (INDIA), 1998, Processed
On Defining Universalisation of Upper Primary Education
Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) is a constitutional provision and a national commitment in India. Universalization implies educating all children upto the age of 14 which is equivalent to completion of upper primary level of education. Over the years, efforts by the government towards achieving the goal of UEE were focussed more on the primary stage than on the upper primary level of education. With the expansion of enrollment at the primary level of educa-tion, the pressure for expansion of the upper primary level of education has increased. The present study was an effort to analyze impli-cations for provision of upper primary education facilities to ensure that this level of education is provided to all eligible children. This implies creation of easy geographical access conditions to enroll all the eligible children in upper primary schools, provision reasonable levels of physical and infrastructural facilities in upper primary schools and teaching learning materials in the classrooms to facilitate meaningful curriculum transaction.
Universalization of upper primary education in India is normally discussed in terms of enrolling and retaining all chil-dren belonging to the age group 11 to 14. This seems more to be a desirable goal to be achieved in the long run than a realisable target at the present levels of development of primary education. Enrollment is a function of the relevant age group at the primary level of education. However, enrolment in upper primary schools is more a function of primary education completion rates than a function of the relevant age group. It is logical to argue that all children in the relevant age group (11 to 14) cannot be enrolled in upper primary classes unless they complete primary level of education. In other words, all relevant age group children can be provided upper primary education only when all children of the primary school going age group are enrolled, retained and successfully complete the primary stage of education. Since primary education is not yet universalised, this implies that universalization of upper primary education means providing upper primary educa-tion for all children who have successfully completed primary level of educa-tion. The present study has adopted this as the operational definition of universalisation of upper primary education in India. However, once universalisation of primary education is attained, then there cannot be any difference between providing upper primary level of education to all age group children and those who complete primary stage of education. The effort at present needs to be to improve the inter-stage transition ratios from primary to upper primary levels of education.
The stage transition ratios from primary to upper primary levels of education indicate that they are very high in most of the states. Further expansion of primary education will have a demand for expansion of upper primary education even when transition ratios remain the same. In certain cases expansion of primary education may be accompanied by an increase in the inter-stage transition ratios. Under such circumstances, the demand for expansion of upper primary education system may be rather high. In states which are educationally more advanced, the primary stage completion rates and inter-stage transition rates are nearing 100%. In states which are educationally less advanced, the primary stage completion rates are not yet nearing 100% but inter-stage transition rates are very close to 100%. Educationally backward states have lower primary stage completion rates and lower inter-stage transition rates than states which are educationally advanced. Hence implications for expansion of upper primary education facilities may be different in these varying situations. The future demand for expansion of upper primary education may be more in educationally backward states than in educationally the most advanced states.
States and districts in India belong to different levels of development of primary education. States like Kerala have almost achieved universal enrollment and retention at the primary levels of education. But there are states which are educationally backward where universal enrollment at the primary level of education is still a distant dream. Therefore, it is not perhaps desirable to have a uniform strategy and the same level of investments to achieve the target of universalization of upper primary education. Needless to add, the institutional arrangements for universalization of upper primary level of education will vary depending upon the level of development of primary education.
Keeping these factors in view, this study attempts to make a realistic assessment of the extent of provisions required to universalise upper primary education in India. The study was visualised in two phases. The first phase of the study focussed on the existing institutional arrangements to provide upper primary education, patterns of expansion of upper primary education in different states, estimation of future enrollments, trends in teacher-pupil ratios, transition rates from primary to upper primary levels of education and cost estimations to arrive at the magnitude of investment required to universalise upper primary education in India. This part of the study report (Varghese and Mehta, 1998) was based on secondary sources of information and the analysis covered major states of India and was completed in May 1998. The phase II of the study (the present report) focuses more on a direct assessment of level of provisions available in upper primary schools including infrastructural and academic facilities and on the functioning of upper primary schools.
More specifically the objectives of the present study are :
- to study provision of upper primary schooling facilities in relation to provision of primary schooling facilities in a given locality;
- to analyse provision of infrastructural and other academic facilities available in upper primary schools;
- to analyse functioning of upper primary schools in the selected localities; and
- to estimate cost of providing upper primary schooling facilities under different organisational arrangements.
This phase of the study was based on primary data collected from four districts selected from four states of India. While selecting the locations for the study, special care was taken to ensure that the expansion requirements of upper primary education under varying levels of development of primary education are taken care of. The effort was to evolve an educational developmental continuum and hence the study locations are selected from the least developed to the most developed educational localities.
The block forms the unit for the study. There are 8 blocks in the study and these blocks are selected from Malappuram district of Kerala, Bilaspur district of Madhya Pradesh, Aurangabad district of Maharashtra and Muradabad district of Uttar Pradesh. These districts vary in terms of literacy levels, population composi-tion and levels of attainment of primary education. For example, the female literacy rates in the district of Muradabad is only 18.3%; it is 27.3% in Bilaspur; 39.6% in Aurangabad and 84.1% in Malappuram. In other words these districts represent varying levels of educational development with Malappuram at the one end and Muradabad at the other end of the spectrum. The other socio-economic indicators also support the developmental continuum reflected in the selection of these districts. Another consideration to select the districts was the size of the districts. All the selected districts are the largest districts in the respective stages covered under externally funded projects.
The sample consisted of 71 upper primary schools from the blocks of Nilambur and Parappanangadi in Malappuram, 80 schools from the blocks of Mungeli and Kota in Bilaspur, 90 schools from the blocks of Khultabad and Soyagaon in Aurangabad and 43 schools from the blocks of Baniyakheda and Mundepandey in Moradabad and 1391 teachers from these schools.
Access to Upper Primary Education
It is generally believed that access conditions at the elementary level of education are poorly provided in many regions of the country. Our analysis in the study shows that the pattern of provisions for expansion of upper primary education indicate certain features. The districts which are now educa-tionally advanced were historically well endowed with institutions providing upper primary education. For example, majority of the upper primary schools in Malappuram (69%) were established before the formation of the state in 1956. Similarly, half of the upper primary schools in Aurangabad were also established before 1956. However, majority of the schools in Bilaspur and Moradabad were established in the recent decades and the expansion still contin-ues. The expansion was higher during the 1980s in Bilas-pur and during the 1990s in Moradabad.
Upper primary schools are mostly controlled by the Govern-ment in Bilaspur and by local bodies in Aurangabad. However, in Kerala it is a shared responsibility between Government and private aided sector; in Moradabad the private un-aided sector is a significant partner with nearly 1/3 of the upper primary schools in the sample managed by the un-aided private sector.
An analysis of geographical access to upper primary schools indicate that there is atleast one upper primary school within a distance of less than 1 km. for most of the primary schools. More than 90% of the upper primary schools have primary school within less than 1 km in all districts except Aurangabad. Even in Auranga-bad 90% of the upper primary schools are having a primary school within 3 kms. of distance. Further, nearly 80% of the upper primary schools in Malappuram and 75% in Bilaspur and Aurangabad have another upper primary school within 3 kms distance. This shows that upper primary schools are reasonably well provided in most of the locations.
The arrangements to provide upper primary education vary from state to state. The single most dominant arrangement for provision of upper primary schools in Bilaspur is in the form of independent upper primary schools. The dominant pattern of provision of upper primary education in Malappuram and Aurangabad are in the form of upper primary schools as part of primary schools. The other pattern which is found in around 20 to 25% of the upper primary schools is that of upper primary sections attached to secondary schools. In other words elementary schools are more common in educationally developed localities and independent primary schools are more common in educationally less developed areas. The logistics may demand such varying arrangements since a school also need to be seen from the point of view of economic and educational viability. One upper primary school may be sufficient to enrol all the primary stage graduates of 2-3 primary schools in locations where primary schools are small in size. In general, primary schools are small in age in remote rural areas of the educationally backward states. Hence, independent upper primary schools may be a better institutional arrangement to provide upper primary education in the short run.
Discussions on the desirability of independent or integrated upper primary schools elicit varying responses. Many teachers and educational administrators feel that it is better to have primary and upper primary schools together i.e. elementary schools are considered to be the best arrangement. The reasons are many. It is easier from the point of view of administration of elementary education especially on matters pertaining to recruitment, posting and transfer and training of teachers. Another reason for favouring the arrangement of elementary schools is the possibility of having a Headmaster to lookafter the affairs of upper primary section under such arrangement. However, teachers in some of the upper primary schools feel that the subjects like science and mathematics are difficult to handle and therefore attaching upper primary schools with secondary schools has an advantage. They expect that under such arrangements teachers from the secondary schools, who are more qualified can be drawn to teach these subjects at the upper primary level. However, this argument is not empirically valid since such arrangement rarely operates at the school level.
It seems that even teachers in the independent upper primary schools do not prefer independent upper primary schools. Most of them prefer alternative arrangements like upper primary schools at-tached to high schools or primary schools attached to upper primary schools. These two arrangements alone to provide upper primary education do create some logistic problems. The logistics of provision may indicate that all upper primary schools can not be attached to high schools, since the number of high schools required will be less than the number of upper primary schools required. Similarly all primary schools can not be upgraded to upper primary schools since they may not be get-ting enough children to make it a viable unit. Therefore, one can reasonably argue that independent upper primary schools may be needed in educationally backward localities. However, such schools may not be sustained in the long run when a locality approaches universalisation of primary education. Therefore, inde-pendent upper primary schools may be seen as short term solution in educationally less developed regions. These independent upper primary school may be seen as potential secondary schools or elementary schools in the long run.
Upper Primary Facilities
Many primary schools in India are not well equipped which formed the premise for introduction of Operation Blackboard Scheme. The empirical analysis in the study shows that upper primary schools are better placed in terms of provision of facilities. Most of the upper primary schools are not operating under deplorable conditions as in case of primary schools. More than 90% of the schools in our sample had buildings and similarly nearly 95% of the schools in all districts, except Bilaspur, had pucca buildings. However, the condition of upper primary school buildings is far from satisfactory. Therefore, the study argues that investment requirements of providing upper primary education is more in terms of making additional provisions in the existing schools than in terms of opening of new upper primary schools in new locations.
Multigrade teaching is almost absent in most of upper pri-mary schools. Most of the schools have atleast three rooms and three teachers even when teacher pupil ratios may not warrant it. This is a situation most common in educationally backward districts. For example, a number of schools in Bilaspur and Muradabad have enrollment levels less than 100 or 150 (at times less than 50 students in a school). However, classrooms in schools located in developed localities are over-crowded in districts like Malappuram. These schools may require additional space and other related facilities. Enrolment in some of the schools are rather low.
Most of the schools are provided with well qualified teach-ers. In fact, the share of university level educated teachers are quite substantial in all the districts, although the educational qualification requirements for recruitment of teachers to upper primary school is higher secondary level of education. Inter-estingly, larger share of university graduate and post-graduate teachers are found in educationally backward districts like Bilaspur and Muradabad. This is partly due to the fact that many of the teachers in these districts are not regular and many of them continue as temporary or adhoc teachers. Many teachers are working at low levels of salaries in Muradabad. Many of these teachers are working in the un-aided sector. In fact more than 45% of the teachers in Muradabad receive a salary of less than Rs.2000/- p.m.
Female teachers are very rare at the upper primary levels of education. In fact, the share of female teachers is very low in all districts except in Malappuram, where they form the majority. The share of female teachers in educationally backward districts varies from 12.5% in Muradabad to 17.6% in Bilas-pur.
Many schools in Malappuram are not only having large size enroll-ment but also have large number of rooms in the schools.. More than 85% of the schools in Malappuram have more than 11 rooms and there are also schools in the sample which have 20 to 25 rooms. However, in other districts the most common pattern is that of 3 to 6 rooms. Even in terms of provision of other facilities like teaching- learning materials and other physical facilities, most of the schools in Malappuram and Aurangabad are well placed. However, very few schools have separate toilets for girls. in all districts. However, the high inter-stage transition rates indicate that non-availability of separate toilet for girls is not a constraining factor for parents to send their girl children to upper primary schools.
Girls who come to upper primary level of education belong to the age group of 11 and above. Therefore, separate toilets for them may become a necessity. However, our discussions indicated that lack of separate toilets for girls is not a constraining factor for sending them to school by their parents. Perhaps in most of the rural areas households are not used to such facilities and hence they do not expect such facilities to be provided in schools too.
Student Transitions in Upper Primary Schools
Upper primary schools operate under different managements in India.. A pattern that can be generalised in case of enrolment is that the share of enrollment in aided schools is consistently higher than their share in the total number of schools. This is not true in schools under other types of management, especially so in case of un-aided schools. During our discussions in the schools, it was found that many parents prefer aided private schools over other schools for many reasons.
Many parents feel that teaching-learning process is better in aided private schools than in government managed schools. Aided private school do not charge high fees as in un-aided schools and hence aided schools are affordable from the financing point of view. More importantly, many parents consider that English as a subject is taught better in aided schools. This is more so in Aurangabad and Malappuram. For these reasons, parents prefer to send their children to aided private schools wherever they are available.
Transition ratios are very high at the upper primary level of education. This is in contrast to the situation at the primary level where dropout rates are very high.. Drop out rates are very low; and repetition rates are higher than dropout rates at the upper primary level. Interestingly, repetition rates are higher at the terminal grades than in other grades of upper primary education. In many localities repetition rates of boys are more than that of girls. Repetition rates in general are low in Aurangabad and Moradabad when compared to other districts.
The input-output ratio, which is an indicator of efficiency of the system, indicates that wastages are relatively less at the upper primary level of education than at the primary levels of education. The input output ratios are 1:1.24 in case of Malappuram; 1:1.41 in case of Bilaspur; 1:1.11 in case of Aurangabad and 1:1.20 in case of Moradabad. These input-output ratios show that wastage is less in upper primary schools except in Bilaspur. More importantly wastage on account of repetition is atleast three times higher than that on account of drop-outs.
Most of the upper primary school teachers come from agricul-tural families with illiterate mothers. The only exception to this pattern is Malappuram in case of educational levels of parents and Aurangabad in case of sector of employment. In Malappuram the parents are literate and school level educated and in Aurangabad many parents are engaged in non-agricultural activities. The teacher spouses are well educated and definitely better educated than teacher parents in all districts. In Malappuram the spouses are better educated and well employed than the teachers themselves. This is partly due to the fact that this district has a very high share of female teachers. It is an accepted social norm in India that educated and employed females look for husbands who are equally qualified or more educated and better placed than themselves. Interestingly, many teachers prefer to send their children to private schools, even though many of them are still teaching in the government schools.
As noted earlier most of the teachers in upper primary schools are qualified and a good percentage of them are trained in Malappuram and Aurangabad. However, the share of trained teachers is less in Moradabad or Bilaspur. At the same time a larger share of teachers employed in Bilaspur and Muradabad are university graduates or post-graduates. As explained earlier, this may be due to the nature of ap-pointment (in the category of temporary teachers) and sector of employment (unaided school).
In- service training is more common in Malappuram followed by Auran-gabad. Only 50% of the teachers in Bilaspur and 36% of the teachers in Moradabad are in-service trained atleast once. However, in terms of frequency of in-service training programmes, the teachers in Aurangabad are better placed. In Aurangabad, nearly 43% of the teachers are trained atleast three times as against 8% in Malappuram and none at all in Mura-dabad. However, DIETs are not the organizations which provide in-service training to these teachers. For example, most of the teachers who receive in-service training in Muradabad got it from BRCs which implies that they are essentially trained for primary school teaching. Most of the teachers in Aurangabad and Bilaspur received inservice training from institu-tions other than DIETs. The state government of Maharashtra had introduced SMART which were conducted mostly in Zilla Parishad buildings.
Language teaching takes larger share of teaching time at the upper primary level of education. Infact, on an average one finds that lan-guage teaching is atleast three times more than teaching of any other single subject area. This is understandable because three languages are taught in most of the upper primary schools. However, schools located in different localities vary in terms of number of hours of instruc-tion. Malappuram has lowest hours of instruction at the upper primary level of education and Aurangabad has the highest number of hours of instruction in the upper primary level of education. This may be partly due to the fact that Malappuram is a Muslim majority area and Friday is a holiday in those schools which have majority of students belonging to Muslim community. Any school holiday cannot be compensate by working on a Saturday, since, Saturday is a regular working day in Malappuram. Malappuram is poorly placed in terms of instructional hours per week and total number of working days of a school in a year. Therefore, students in Malappuram have the lowest in-school learning time.
Teachers have access to most of the teaching-learning materials only in Malappuram and Aurangabad; they are deprived of these facilities in Moradabad and Bilaspur. Most of the teachers say that they are regular in giving class-work and homework to children. An analysis of the distribution of teaching time of teachers indicate that the pattern varies across districts. For example, in Aurangabad 70% of the teaching time is spend on classroom lectures with very little time available for other activities. In other districts lecture time is only 27% to 35% of the total instructional time. In schools of these districts an equal emphasis is given to class-work, correc-tion, feed back and students copying from the black-board.
Most of the teachers indicate that the most commonly used teaching aid is teachers guide in Aurangabad, Maps in all districts and dictionary in Malappuram. Many teachers feel that they do not get much support from the inspecting officers except in Auranga-bad. Most of them feel that support and help from the head of the school and from other teachers of the school are more easily available. However, all the teachers in Aurangabad feel that the support that they receive from the head of the school complex teacher is very substantial and satisfactory. The teachers feel that when the head of the school complex visits the school academic matters are discussed and moreover, teachers respect them but are not scared of them since they can be better equate with them than with a typical school inspector.
PTA meetings meetings are not very regular in any district except in Malappuram. Many teachers feel that they need to improve their academic competency and therefore they need more inservice training in the subject areas to improve their subject knowledge. While teachers in Malappuram feel that the training should be in-school based, teachers in other district feel that training may be organised in separate institutions far away from the schools.
Most of the teachers express difficulty in teaching subjects like Science, Mathematics and English. In fact, many of them suggested that they are unable to teach these subjects. In the absence of teacher guide books and adequate training programmes they feel helpless. It seems that the teacher competency development programmes have not kept pace with the changes in the curriculum and text-books. Perhaps one may have to seriously look into the qualification requirements while recruiting upper primary school teachers. Although many teachers are university graduates, most of them had specialization in arts and humani-ty and hence they are equally ill-equipped as their less educated counterparts to teach Mathematics and Science. Many of them have taken these degrees through correspondence courses while on job and that too at times in regional language medium. Therefore, they are not better equipped to teach English language.
School management has two dimensions : (i) efforts made by Headmasters of the schools and by other administrative authorities; and (ii) the support received by the schools from the community. The support from PTAs is rather limited except in Malappuram. The VECs focus more on issues related to primary education and therefore, VECs have not yet become effective mechanisms of community support at the upper primary level of education.
The Headmasters do not have much control in the selection of teachers. This is true in schools under any management. Teacher selection in government schools is a responsibility of the Public Service Commissions; it is the responsibility of the school management in aided and unaided primary schools. This shows that headmasters in upper primary schools can only re-organise the human resources already provided to them. Our study shows that a considerable amount of time of the head master is spent on non-teaching activities. Infact, we made a detailed analysis of the time spend by head-teacher on various activities and it is estimated that nearly 5 to 10 days of a headmaster is spend every month on school related activities taking place outside the schools. Similarly, the headmaster also devotes time for administration of schools activities in the schools.
Our estimation indicate that a total nearly 40% of the working time of the headmaster in Malappuram is spend on administrative activities. The corresponding per-centages are 21% in Bilaspur and 29% each in Aurangabad and Muradabad. It seems that if we expect the head-teacher to close-ly monitor the school activities one may have to devote atleast half of the total working time of the Headmasters on non-teaching activities. In Kerala such responsibilities may account for 2/3 to 3/4 of the total working time of the Headmaster because the schools are large. This implies that treating headmaster as just another teacher is not realistic. The teaching time of the head- teacher needs is to be reduced and his/her managerial role needs to be in-creased. However, from the academic point of view it is impor-tant that the headmaster also teaches. But teaching responsibility of the headmaster may by kept at a minimum level. what is more important to improve school functioning is to raise the status of headmaster as educational managers than as teachers. Unfortunately, many upper primary schools do not have separate headmasters unless it is an independent upper primary school. Therefore, the argument is to devise mechanisms to have separate head-masters for the upper primary sections/schools.
At present the headmasters are not in a position to do any evaluation of teachers either through observation of classes through or checking of notes prepared by the teachers. He/she plays limited role in planning of school activities. Therefore, one may have to develop a system by which the headmaster will be actively taking up these managerial responsibilities. This further confirms our argument for a separate headmasters with limited teaching responsibilities for upper primary schools in India.
Cost of Education
The study also made an analysis of cost of upper primary education provided under alternative arrangements. The cost composition of upper primary education varies between schools under other managements. For example, salaries account for nearly 95% of the total educational expenditure in all schools under the government, aided private and local body schools. Teacher salary accounts for the major share in government and local body schools. The share of non-teaching salary is higher in private schools than their counter parts in the government sector. This implies that the support system that the school receives in terms of non-teaching staff is very poor in the government schools.
The per school expenditure varies from locality to locality. It is found that schools managed by Zilla Parishad have less per school expenditure than the schools managed by the state governments. But per school expenditure in government schools, on an average, are less than that in private aided schools in all districts except Moradabad and unaided schools have the lowest per school expenditure in all the districts. However, expenditure per school in un-aided school is very low in Malappuram and very high in Moradabad and Bilaspur. Per school expenditure is influenced by the number of teachers. Small schools, in general may have low per school expenditure. Therefore, unit cost, unless adjusted for the size of the school may be misleading. Per student expenditure may be a more reliable indicator from this point of view.
Per student expenditure in Malappuram and Aurangabad are very similar in schools managed by the government and local bodies. Per student expenditure in government schools is high in Bilaspur and it is the highest in Moradabad. Per student expenditure variations are not substantial in aided private schools. However, per student expenditure in private unaided schools seems to be lower than that in other types of managements. Per student expenditure in government schools is the lowest in Malappuram and the highest in Moradabad; per student expenditure in aided private schools is the lowest in Malappuram and the highest in Aurangabad; and per student expenditure in unaided schools is the highest in Aurangabad and the lowest in Bilaspur.
Within a given locality private unaided schools have the lowest per student expenditure in all districts except Aurangabad where local body schools have the lowest per student expenditure. The low per student expenditure in unaided schools is primarily due to the low level of salaries paid to the teachers in these schools. However, one crucial distinction between unaided and schools under other mangements needs to be noted. The burden of cost of education in unaided schools is entirely borne by the parents. Hence, even when per student expenditure is lower in unaided schools, it is the most expensive form of education from the parental point of view.
Total cost of providing upper primary education in a block varies widely. It varies from Rs.3.8 millions in Mundapandey to Rs. 31.7 millions in Nilambur. Needless to add, the total expenditure of a block is a function of total number of schools in a block and the number of teachers in a school which is determined by the size of student enrolment. Schools in Malappuram have large student enrolment and hence the total number of teachers and the total expenditure are also substantially higher than that in other localities. In general one can argue that provision of upper primary schools in developed districts may cost around Rs. 22 to Rs. 32 mil-lions; While it may cost between Rs. 12 millions to 22 millions in blocks located in moderately developed areas; it may cost between Rs. 4 millions to Rs. 17 millions per block in the least developed areas like Muradabad; and it may cost between Rs. 14 to 20 millions in blocks in Bilaspur. Although, the number of schools in Bilaspur are less than that in Aurangabad, the level of teacher salaries are higher in Bilaspur and hence total expenditure is also high in this district. In other words, the cost of providing upper primary education to all children in a block will increase from a minimum of Rs. 4 millions when most of the age-group children remain outside the school to around Rs. 32 millions when all age-group children will be enrolled and retained in the upper primary schools.
Which is the least expensive institutional arrangement to provide upper primary education in India? The cost of independent upper primary schools vary from block to block. Independent upper primary schools are the most expensive in Baniyakheda with a per school expenditure of Rs. 1 million and it is the least expensive in Kota with a per school expenditure of around Rs. 0.3 million. Upper primary schools with primary schools are the least expensive in Mungeli with a per school expenditure of Rs. 0.2 millions and the most expensive in Nilambur with a per school expenditure of Rs. 0.8 millions. The per school expenditure in integrated schools (upper primary schools with Higher Secondary) is the lowest in Mundapandey with Rs. 0.4 million and the most expensive in Nilambur with Rs. 1.1 millions. Integrated schools from primary to secondary levels are the least expensive in Kota with Rs. 55.4 thousand and most expensive in Nilambur with Rs. 0.7 millions.
Integrated upper primary schools primary to secondary are the least expensive arrangement in Malappuram, Bilaspur and Moradabad. Independent upper primary schools are the most expensive arrangement in Malappuram and Moradabad. Upper primary schools attached to secondary schools are the most expensive arrangement in Bilaspur and Aurangabad. Incidentally, Aurangabad does not have any independent upper primary schools. As argued earlier, cost cannot be the only criterion to provide compulsory levels of education. And hence independent upper primary schools may become an unavoidable institutional arrangement in the educationally backward districts. However, it is important to visualise any independent upper primary school as an interim arrangement which in the long run may be converted into integrated schools either as elementary schools or as secondary schools.