GUWAHATI, June 21 � Improvement in capacity building right from the grassroots level, is the demand of the hour as far as implementation of the Right to Education in the NE region is concerned. This was the observation made by noted economist and educationist Prof Dilip Kumar Barua. He was delivering the Sixth Prof Atul Goswami Memorial Lecture organised by the Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development (OKD Institute) at Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture here recently.
The NE region should meet the challenges of strict supervision and monitoring of the various programmes and sound financial management in the field of education to improve capacity building right from the grassroots level, Prof Barua said.
He said that education and training, which together make the social infrastructure, are of crucial importance for the NE region as the low capacity building in the region is a powerful backward pulling factor.
He also pointed out the fact that 76.5 per cent of the total revenue expenditure on education is borne by the State and the rest 23.5 per cent by the Centre. Of the total expenditure on education in 2006-07, elementary education accounted for 53.41 per cent, secondary education 28.76 per cent, university and higher education 10.88 per cent and technical education 3.72 per cent.
But in the NE region, he said, quoting Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, it is not the lack of funds from the Centre, but its underutilisation is what demands serious attention. Presumably, he said, underutilisation of funds may be the reason for no fund flow to the region from the Ministry of DoNER after 2006-07, for implementation of the Axom Sarba Siksha Abhijan.
Though the expenditure on education as a percentage of the total budgetary expenditure in the NE region is higher than the all India average, the quantum of expenditure incurred for the promotion of primary education in the region is not encouraging.
The dropout rate is much higher in the NE region, being as high as 48 per cent for the boys and 50 per cent for the girls in Arunachal Pradesh.
The inter-district and intra-district variations in the progress of education in the NE region are too glaring to be ignored. In the study of the contrasting districts of Assam (Jorhat and Dhubri) sponsored by the Administrative Reforms Commission, Government of India, it is seen that the highest dropout rate is among the tea tribes in Jorhat district.