Women Education in India

Development of Women Education in Arunachal Pradesh

Part 1

The tribal families in Arunachal Pradesh are patriarchal. Polygamy is common practice while Monogamy is generally prevalent. The male members are the head of the family and he enjoys the highest status and other members of the family have to follow his advice. Tribal’s of Arunachal Pradesh have different religion e.g., Monpas. Khamptis, Singhos and Membas are Buddhist. They believe in transmigration of the soul and reincarnation. Some tribes profess Christianity and follow indigenous faith.

During the pre-independence period in India, the approaches of tribal development were somewhat a different kind. The tribal’s were most neglected and the tribal areas were the last to come under British regime, because of the difficult terrain and inaccessibility. In consonance with their general policy, isolation being characterized by non-intervention or limited intervention was their direct encouragement to the Christian Missionary activities in the tribal areas. It is an undeniable fact that the Christian Missionaries had done something for the well-being of the tribes like the establishment of schools, hospitals, etc. in tribal areas. But, by way of serving the suffering humanity as their duty, the Christian Missionaries tried to convert them to Christianity and as a result of which large-scale conversion of many tribal groups took place.

Arunachal Pradesh, particularly during NEFA did not inherit any system of its own. Rather, the system of women education which was in vague in the other parts of the country was transplanted in the then NEFA. India spread the British traditional and bequeathal women education throughout the country and Arunachal is not an exception to it. Neither the ancient nor medieval women education had marked any influence here prior to independence. Since, the land was hidden to the people of India during the ancient and medieval period, the system of formal women education in particular had been conspicuously absent in the part of Arunachal Pradesh whereas, in the neighbouring states like Mizoram and Assam, many schools were already opened by 1931. It is revealed that, in the North Western portion of the Kameng district, the mythological women education used to be imparted through Buddhist Monasteries, otherwise, the formal system of women education was introduced by the Adis during the British period.

The first ventured school was opened by the local people at Pasighat in 1918. The Adis of Dibang Valley also opened a similar school at Dambuk in 1922. The medium of teaching in both the schools were Assamese. After passing out Class-Ill standard, the students of these schools had go to Sadiya Middle English School established by American Baptist Mission for further studies. In the month of September 1947, the department of education was constituted under the charge of an Education Officer with headquarters at Sadiya, which was at that time headquarters of the Sadiya Frontier Tract. Mrs. Indira Miri was appointed as the first Education Officer and it was she, who started the pioneering work in the field of women education. The supervision as well as administration of the women educational activities was carried on from Sadiya, where teachers training institute was also established in the month of December 1947, after training of teachers from this institution, were sent for opening of new schools. The great flood of 1952 caused serious damages to the town of Sadiya. With the result that the education department and the teachers training institute were shifted to Margharita in Assam in 1952 and the later was finally shifted to Changlang in the Tirap District 1957.

The very important lapse in the school women education is that there was no curriculum cell or school women education board of its own. As the schools are affiliated to the CBSE, New Delhi, students are to study in English or Hindi. The tribal children who are enrolled in the school understand neither English nor Hindi properly. It was very difficult for the teacher as well as for the learners to communicate without local language or dialect. Until 1965, the policy following by the NEFA administration was to prepare special textbooks for the primary schools in the tribal dialect of the area. A large number of books were prepared and printed in Devanagri script.

The medium of instruction at the different stages of school women education was a complex question. The state is inhabited by diverse tribal groups speaking in different dialects. None of them has a script of their own, but they are familiar with some form of Assamese language. Assamese was, therefore, initially adopted as the medium in the Primary, Middle and High School standards. Hindi was also introduced as a compulsory subject in the schools and also as a medium in the border area schools. Science and mathematics were taught in English from class VII to class X. Later English was also taken up as the medium in the Higher Secondary Schools for classes VIII to XII.

Thus, there were three mediums of instructions in the schools:

  1. Assamese in all stages of school women education.
  2. Hindi in the border area schools, and
  3. English at the Secondary stage.

In 1972, the medium of women education of Arunachal Pradesh became English instead of Assamese, and school women education came under CBSE, course, New Delhi. It was under Assam Education Board till 1972.

The real development in women education was accelerated in Arunachal Pradesh when it was made a Union Territory in 1972. The creation of separate Union Territory gave tribal’s a sense of their own identity and progress in women education, health services, the supply of commodities began to flow (Deori Ommem). Col. K.A.A. Raja had the boldness in shifting the capital of Arunachal Pradesh from Shillong to ltanagar and it paid well. He laid the foundation of higher women education in Arunachal Pradesh encouraging setting up higher secondary schools and colleges. Women education became a movement under his guidance providing an opportunity to everyone. People responded enthusiastically to the model of democratic process initiated by him.

Arunachal has seen a tremendous expansion of school educational facilities since 1947. The State is not lagging much behind in comparison to other North-Eastern States where school education started long before the independence. Table 2.1 shows the quantitative expansion of school education in the North Eastern States and the position of Arunachal Pradesh (1989-90).

Table 1: Number of Educational Institution in North-East India, 1989-90

State School No. of Primary Schools No of L.P. Schools No. of Sec. Schools School No. of Hr. Sec. School
Arunachal Pradesh 952 182 73 48
Assam 25873 4991 2330 365
Manipur 2630 436 336 10
Meghalaya 3683 665 288 2
Mizoram 1004 463 160
Nagaland 1131 291 95
Tripura 1927 419 280 100

Source: Statistical Abstract of Arunachal Pradesh, 1989-90.

In Arunachal Pradesh, however, a movement like several other events made a recent entry. But the progress of educational institution at different stage appears to be encouraging. A good number of educational institutions have come up. The Table 2.2 shows the growth of educational institution in Arunachal Pradesh after independence.

Table 2: Growth Rate of Educational Institution (1950-2001)

Category of institutions 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2001
Primary school 67 93 503 941 952 1323
Middle school 1 10 47 129 241 328
Higher Secondary school 2 7 18 48 69
College 1 2 4 7
University 1 1

Source: Statistical Outline of NEFA and Statistical Abstract (2001) (Arunachal Pradesh).

Besides this, there is one Engineering Institution (NERIST), one Central University, several colleges, schools, Navodaya Vidyalayas, R.K. Mission school, Vivekananda schools and Central schools functioning in the state. The Adult Education Department in the State is running a large number of Adult Education centres to provide women education for adult members of the society, various central scheme are also sponsored by the Government through the District Adult Education Officers.

There was no traditional women educational institution for girls in the state, they learn household works, weaving, etc. by emulating their elder sisters and mothers. With the development in different sector in the state, government is taking important steps for equal education of both sexes giving emphasis on women education like:

(i) Different schools right from Anganwadi level or pre-primary have been established in the state for the easy schooling of the children. Many Anganwadi centres are functioning in the districts under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

(ii)   Mid-day meals are provided to all schools to increase the enrolment of students.

(iii) Free uniform is supplied to the primary school to encourage students and to have financial assistance to their parents.

(iv) Stipend has also been provided to the girls of different school levels to encourage and to assist their parents.

(v) Free textbook is supplied to schools as financial assistance to the poor parents of the students.

(vi)  Lady teachers have been employed in the districts with a view to increase the enrolment of girl students.

(vii)  Girls’ hostels have been established in the districts.

(viii)  Centrally sponsored schemes like KGBVs and NPEGEL are implemented in the state.

Because of all these efforts made by the government and other organizations, the enrolment of girl students indicates a growth in almost all the stages. Table 2.3 shows the enrolment of a girl student at different stages since (1950).

Table 3: Number of Girl Student at Different Stages (1950-1990)

Year 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
Primary school 675 701 9454 28600 84120
Middle school 15 252 500 4110 22067
Higher Secondary school 13 115 118 1544 10711
College 3 11 84 736
University 2 124

Source: Statistical Handbook of Arunachal Pradesh, 1961, 1971, 1981 and 1991.

If you see the enrolment of a girl student in different stages it is quite encouraging. A good number of girls have enrolled in different levels of women education.

In comparison to the total figure of 115345, boys 70335 and girls 45010 during the 5th survey, there is an increase in total enrolment by 53.62 per cent, as revealed by the 6th survey. In the case of enrolment of girls in a different stage of women education, it was found that there is a decreasing trend of girl’s participation from primary stage to higher secondary stage. The stage wise girls enrolment were 48.28 per cent in primary 40.53 per cent in upper primary 37.13 per cent in secondary and 30.25 per cent in higher secondary. Further, 83.54 per cent of the total enrolment of students belongs to rural areas, as Arunachal Pradesh is basically a rural state. The literacy rate of Arunachal Pradesh is 73.7 per cent for male and 59.6 per cent of female and 67 per cent for all according to 2011 census.

Development of Women Education in Arunachal Pradesh
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