Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Educational Development and Its Determinant in Minority Concentrated Districts (MCDs) of West Bengal: A Case Study of Malda District

Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Educational Development and Its Determinant in Minority Concentrated Districts (MCDs) of West Bengal: A Case Study of Malda District

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

The Sachar Committee Report, 2006 (1) specifically addresses the social, economic and educational backwardness of the Muslim community in India. Ministry of Minority Affairs, followed by the recommendation of Sachar Committee Report (SCR), have introduced Multi Sectoral Development Project (MSDP) for selected 90 minority concentrated districts during the 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) for improving the quality of life of the people and reducing the socio-economic imbalances through socio-economic and infrastructure development of the minority concentrated districts. These ninety districts have been selected by the Ministry of Minority Affairs on the basis of three criteria, viz. (i) minority population, (ii) religion specific socio economic indicators and (iii) basic amenities indicators. In West Bengal out of 19 districts 12 have been identified as minority concentrated and 151 C.D blocks with substantial minority population have been identified that are severely lagging behind in most of the crucial parameters of well-being, such as education, health, livelihood and other physical and social amenities that are regarded as supporting factors for promotion of social well-being. Previous research on West Bengal (2) has shown that certain districts such as Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Koch Behar, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur and Dakshin Dinajpur in the north, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum in the west and the two 24 Parganas (North and South) districts and some pockets of regions like Jungalmahal and Sunderbans are socio-economically more backward than the rest in West Bengal. Of the above-mentioned districts, Uttar Dinajpur and Dakshin Dinajpur and Birbhum have substantial Muslim population. Malda and Murshidabad are Muslim dominated that outnumbered other communities. But the development deficit of the Muslim minority in West Bengal has not been adequately addressed. The State HDR (3) did not recognize the Muslim community as a separate socio-religious group. While data for SC/ST and other castes exist, the absence of focus on the Muslim community did not bring to light their specific socio-economic status.

West Bengal is known for its pro-poor politics but the social sector planning suffers from faulty design of implementation. Special allocation for identified backward areas within a state is a commonly used strategy in West Bengal. However, geographical targeting in West Bengal to 'develop' the 'backward' regions by allocating more resources is less emphasised. Targeting geographical spatial units can reduce leakages significantly. The attempt made by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Government of India, to identify 90 Minority concentrated Districts and implementation of Multi Sectoral Development Project (MSDP) for selected districts is an important step in this direction.

Against backdrop of this broad overview, this paper attempts to explore the pattern of educational development (its deprivation) at elementary level in Malda district at C.D block level as well as micro-level (revenue village and municipality ward level). The district of Malda is marked as Muslim minority district and belongs to category 'A' of the MCD districts with 54.27 percent Muslim population and religion specific average indicator value 38.2 percent and average basic indicator value 16.2 percent.

Malda district is lagging behind in almost all the parameters of elementary education, what is worrying is that enrolment at upper primary level is far from universal, which means total literacy and universal retention in the near future remains unattainable unless a concerted effort is made to bring to schools all out-of-school children in the relevant age group. According to MHRD report of 2001-02 (4), Malda was one of the 21 districts in India (Murshidabad, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas and Uttar Dinajpur are among the others from West Bengal) where the absolute size of out-of-school children was higher than 50000. …

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