The Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC), popularly known as Bihar Education Project (BEP)... Read More
  Impact /Major Achievements

Access :
In order to enhance availability of schooling facilities to children, the project adopted an approach of opening formal as well as alternative schools. 1743 formal schools were opened in project districts. A large number of habitations do not fulfill the population norm and hence do not qualify for opening of a formal school. A good proportion of girl’s crosses the entry ages of school and remain outside the schooling system. Alternative schools were opened in small school-less habitations as well as in the areas where the number of out-of-school girls in the 9+ age group was high demanding such an intervention. The number of alternative schools opened in the project is 7,184 and enrolling about 2,48,720 children, almost four times ahead of the number of formal schools opened.

Enrolment, Retention, Completion and Equity :
Based on DISE data available as of September 2004, the enrollment in DPEP districts was 5351290. This represents an increase of over 15 lakh or a 41 percent increase in students over the life of the project. Similar increases are evident for girls and SC. With regard to the percent of 6-11 population enrolled (based on the recently released age-wise Census), at project commencement, 72 percent were enrolled and towards the end of the project 81 percent are enrolled. The increase in enrollment for girls is 14 percents and for SC, 12 percent.
The Census data available age-wise allows for reliable calculation of the Net Enrollment Ratio (NER). The NER for all students increased from 70 to 77 percents, for girls, 60 to 70 percent and for SC from 70 to 82 percent. 134481 girls and 44791 boys are enrolled in AIE schools. 240678 boys and 198378 girls are enrolled in EGS schools.

The reduction in gender gap to 5 percent is still to be achieved by the project, it is about 11 percent. The reduction of the social gap to less than 5 percent has been achieved. If the enrollment in AIES and EGS centers is included the gender gap remains the same while the social gap is further reduced.
The completion rate increased from 48 in 2003 to 54 percent in 2004. For girls the increase was from 46 to 54 percent and for SC 39 to 41 percent. Similarly, average grade transition has also increased by about 5 percent in the last two years. The repetition rate in Grade 1 is high (22 percent) reducing in Grades 2 and 3 to 10 percent and in Grades 4 and 5 to about 5 percent. A reconstructive cohort analysis, using five years of data, to understand the extent of dropout taking into consideration the repetition rate reveals that the cohort dropout rate is 20 percent. According to the analysis, on internal efficiency, it takes about six years to complete five years of primary school.
All children with disabilities have been identified through the Household Survey and aid and appliances are being supplied with the assistance of NGOs. The Panchayat Shiksha Mita (PSMs) appointed for formal schools, the Lok Shiksha Mitra (LSMs) for Alternative and Education Guarantee Schools (EGS) and CRCCs have been trained in IED. Community awareness has also been carried out. Schools are also now provided with ramps and handrails. Attention will now need to be given to the inclusion of children with disabilities within the school and classroom.

Learning and Quality:
The need for additional teachers was very critical with very large classes in the early years of the project. With the hiring of over 25,000 para teachers in project districts in 2002, the class sizes became more manageable.
MLL based learner’s evaluation were conducted for each grade this year in all DPEP districts. The results of the Terminal Achievement tests reveals that the results for Grade II indicate that the project has surpassed its targets for achievement in both language and mathematics. The project target was to increase achievement by 25 percent over baseline. Achievement has increased over baseline by 33 percent for language and 31 percent for mathematics. For Grade V, the increase for language is 15 percent and for mathematics 12 percent. Similar increases are evident for both boys and girls. Baselines are not available for SC and ST achievement for Grade II. When compared to the mid-term assessments SC and ST achievements for this grade, in language the increase is about 11 percent and for mathematics about 8 percent. For Grade V, the increase over baseline in language is 16 percent for SC and 22 percent for ST. For mathematics it is 12 percent for SC and 17 percent for ST.

Institutional capacity building and program implementation:
The project also aimed at strengthening planning and management capacities at decentralized levels of primary education sector. There are ample evidences to reveal that it succeeded in building/enhancing capacities at different levels of implementation. Capacity building can be viewed in three ways:

  1. Training and support inputs to individual personnel at different levels : The project supported different types of training and support activities to strengthen teaching-learning process in formal/alternative schools on the one hand and to strengthen other linked activities on the other. While almost all primary school teachers in the project districts received two rounds of 10 day training and a few of them also received subject specific training depending upon the need assessed or expressed. In addition to these the teachers attend one day monthly meeting at CRC. CRC coordinators were trained in their responsibilities and skills that they require. They also attended monthly reflection meetings at BRCs to discuss their problems and issues while the BRC coordinators met in monthly reflection meetings at district headquarters. The State prepared a team of trainers in all districts to act as resource persons at district and BRC levels. The state opened a number of AS and ECE centres under the project and imparted induction as well as recurrent training's to instructors and other personnel. In order to strengthen pre-school component of existing Anganwadis run by ICDS, the instructors and helpers were provided training by the project. Pre-school education is said to have positive linkages with participation and achievement levels at primary school level and hence investment is in this area is considered desirable. Running of AS and ECE centres were made responsibilities of Mothers’ groups and they were imparted orientation for the purpose. Capacity building of village level bodies was an important aspect of the project in order to facilitate greater community involvement and role in the functioning of school and other such facilities. General orientation of a large number and training of selected number of VEC members has been part of this strategy.
    In addition, considering the low level of female literacy and girls’ participation in schools, the project supported women’s empowerment programme which focused on activities related to generating commitment to education among women and running centres/programmes for education of adolescent girls. A significant number of women’s groups were trained during this process. In lowest female literacy blocks, special Girls’ Education Programme is being implemented with an objective to create awareness about the issue and women are being trained for the purpose. Thus, it can be seen clearly that the project did invest substantially in building individual capacities in various knowledge and skill areas at ground level.
  2. Building/Strengthening institutions at different levels,The project supported establishment as well as rejuvenation of existing institutions at various levels (state, district and block). At block level, very few teacher-support institutions existed in the pre-project period. The concept of Cluster Resource Centre (CRC) as a readily available and accessible institution for discussion and problem solving among teachers was introduced in selected blocks during Bihar Education Project (BEP) phase. Teachers of 10-12 primary schools (35-40 in numbers) together formed one CRC with this being located in one of the member schools. The concept was institutionalized in DPEP III by establishing and operationalising CRCs in the entire project area. In order to make regular training of teachers a reality it was important to decentralize the organization of training programmes for which institutional capacities at sub-district levels were required to be built. 152 Block Resource Centres (BRCs) were established to serve all blocks for this purpose in 20 revenue districts.
    As mentioned earlier, the project also aimed at strengthening community support by various means including that of constituting / rejuvenating Village Education Committees (VECs). Under the project the VECs were reconstituted with greater representation from disadvantaged groups and were rejuvenated to participate and take interest in the activities / issues related to school functioning. Total number of VECs in the project districts was 25,460. VECs played very active role in various activities, especially in those related to construction and community mobilization. In this context, it may be mentioned that the role of community in construction activities in DPEP III has been hailed by various evaluations. At district level, the project had proposed to strengthen District Institute of Education and Training (DIETs). At state level, the project had proposed strengthening of SCERT through their involvement in a number of activities and by granting them certain responsibilities. The state had also proposed strengthening of Bihar State Textbook Publishing Corporation (BSTBC) by providing them computers and supporting training activities. The state proposed to establish State Institute of Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT) as an organization functioning within SCERT. Although the organization could not function to its full potential for variety of reasons, it undertook a number of significant tasks related to research, training and technical support in the area of planning and management. The Project, has also succeeded in operationalising EMIS (DISE) in all districts.
  3. Transfer of power and responsibilities to decentralized levels.Starting from 2000, the Government of Bihar (GOB) has taken certain important decisions regarding transfer of powers and responsibilities relating to primary schools to PRIs and other representative community groups. These decisions have largely, although definitely not solely, been guided by DPEP experiences in Bihar and elsewhere in the country and reflect the impact of the programme on the larger educational management system. Three important decisions in this context are (i) constitution of Vidyalaya Shiksha Samiti (VSS) through an Act with a well-defined role in school related decisions, (ii) provision of one Panchayat Shiksha Mitra (PSM), a para teacher, in every primary/upper primary school in rural areas and (iii) adoption of Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) with a clear role for PRIs at different levels in its management. Vidyalaya Shisksha Samiti (VSS) Act was passed in 2000.

Literacy : An average decadal growth of 10.90% in DPEP & 9.88% in Non-DPEP districts has been noticed while comparing the literacy data of 1991 & 2001 census. Although, the DPEP districts are better by an average 1% point, the change can be seen substantial, keeping in view that these districts were selected on the criteria of being backward districts.