ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Vimala RamachandranSubscribe to Vimala Ramachandran

Urban Schooling

Policies and programmes designed to ensure universal elementary education have failed to capture the specific situation of urban children. Despite the provision of schools, deprived children in urban areas face systematic and schematic barriers in accessing education opportunities, even as the quality of education offered leaves much to be desired.

Why School Teachers Are Demotivated and Disheartened

Increases in enrolment rates, attendance figures and midday meal distribution do not convey the true picture of the state of the education system in our country. Equally disturbing is the high dropout rate from primary to upper-primary levels, the blame for which lies partly with educators, especially teachers who in government schools and in more rural areas appear demotivated and disheartened.

Abortion in India

Despite the legalisation of abortion in India, morbidity and mortality continue to remain a serious problem for a majority of women undergoing abortions. A lack of reliable information, wide regional and rural-urban differences and a thin research base all make it difficult for policy-makers, administrators and women's health advocates to develop strategic interventions. This article highlights issues that emerged from eight qualitative research studies that formed part of the Abortion Assessment Project - which sought to create an evidence-based body of knowledge on all facets of induced abortion. These studies have thrown up some common patterns and themes, such as the unmet needs for contraception and abortion, the question of son preference, the preference for private providers and the neglected needs of the single, widowed or separated women. More crucially, they highlight the need to integrate diverse viewpoints that would further ease progression towards the common goal of making abortion an infrequently used but safe alternative for women faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

Is Schooling for the Poor on the Government Agenda?

While elementary education, its availability and distribution have shown an improvement in recent years, vast sections such as the poor, girls in rural areas, tribals and some among the scheduled castes remain out of its reach. The new government needs to review existing centrally-assisted programmes to ensure that region- and context-specific issues are highlighted, more particularly that such schemes are tailored to meet the varying needs of a vast and complex country.

Urgent Concerns on Abortion Services

While the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) has existed for 33 years, certified and legal abortion facilities account for only a quarter of all such private facilities in the country. Neither the public nor private abortion services have fully measured up to the needs of the abortion seekers.

Through the Life Cycle of Children

This exploratory and illustrative study focuses on children, their family, larger community, the available education and health services in an effort to understand the causality and social processes that affect, partially or wholly, children's full participation in schooling. It explores the continuous and cumulative nature of social and economic exclusion that poor children face and the impact this has on their ability to complete primary schooling. Areas that could make a difference, the study suggests, are well-functioning schools with basic facilities and motivated teachers; an adequate pre-school education component within the ICDS programme; heightened public awareness of health and nutrition and equally importantly, strengthening of traditional community structures.

Backward and Forward Linkages that Strengthen Primary Education

It is widely acknowledged that a significant proportion of children, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds and girls, either drop out of primary school or even if they attend school, learn very little. Moreover, there is a wide gap in learning achievements between government schools and private/aided schools. The active participation of children in primary education hinges on a plethora of factors. Besides access, a range of demand and supply issues influence why children choose to attend school regularly. Thus far, policy-makers and education administrators have focused mainly on the formal school system and on improving access to education. The creation of `backward and forward' linkages is essential to creating an environment where every child not only goes to school but benefits from it

The New Segregation

This article, based on a desk review of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and qualitative micro studies in six states - Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu - attempts to capture the impact of primary education programmes on the ground. Introducing the emergent concept of 'hierarchies of access' to describe the new segregation occurring in primary education, the article focuses on the micro studies documenting the tangible and intangible dimensions of gender and social equity that frame the implementation of DPEP at the village and panchayat level. On the basis of the findings of the desk review and the micro studies, the authors discuss ways to reverse the trend of segregation so as to make universal primary education a substantive reality.

Community Participation in Primary Education

Rajasthan has seen several innovative programmes in primary education and women's development. However, sustainability of innovation remains a perennial problem as several of these projects have been entangled in bureaucratic and political battles. Only a few like Shiksha Karmi manage to survive.

Women's Empowerment as International Showbiz

The high profile colourful encounter between the visiting US president and articulate village women of Niala papers over the story of how a vibrant women's development programme in the state has been systematically destroyed.

Adult Education: A Tale of Empowerment Denied

The National Adult Education Programme and the Total Literacy Compaign (TLC) failed to live up to their initial promise. Corruption undermined the former, a grants-in-aid scheme, and a quick-fix approach the latter, besides the stress on the commitment of individual administrators rather than on system reform that injured both. One upshot was that an opportunity for the empowerment of women that unexpectedly presented itself was squandered.


Back to Top