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Regional Disparities in The Realm Of Education: The A.P. Scenario
K.Jayashankar (Former Vice-Chancellor, Kakatiya University)
Deep distrust among the people living in different regions of the state has all along characterised the first linguistic state of India, the State of Andhra Pradesh. This phenomenon is the inevitable consequence of the regional imbalances in the levels of development perpetrated during the last forty years and likely to be continued in the future as well. In such a situation, the people become a inxious more about the problems of bread and butter while the issues concerning linguistic unity and cultural affinity hardly matter.
The Telugu-speaking people living not only in the Telangana region but also in the Rayalaseema region always had doubts about getting a fair deal in the then proposed state called Vishalandra. The periodic recurrence of unrest and consequent efforts to pacify the people by foisting pacts, agreements, accords, formulae etc., bring this distrust to the fore. The Sri Bagh Pact of 1937 aimed at infusing confidence in the people of Rayalaseema was almost still born in its effect. The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1956, which was an assurance of fair play given to the people of Telangana to facilitate the formation of Andhra Pradesh, was scuttled the very same day on which the state was born; ironically enough, by the very same 'Gentlemen' who were signatories to the agreement. The All Party Accord, the Eight Point Formula, the Five Point Formula-the supposed panacea expected to heal the wounds inflicted by the, massive Telangana agitation of 1969- never really worked. The Six Poin! t Formula, a counter prescription to meet the situation created by yet another upheaval in 1972 - the Andhra agitation-further eroded the confidence of the people of Telangana in the political leadership, irrespective of the party it belonged to and irrespective of the region it hailed from. All these exercises ultimately turned out to be futile as they were at best attempts to treat the symptoms rather than the malady. Distrust, therefore, continues to persist.
The objective of this paper is to present a comparative account of development achieved in one of the vital sectors i.e., education. The sources of data are the reports compiled, or published by the state government and other official agencies.
It is to be noted in this context that when the state of Andhra Pradesh was formed there were only two recognised regions in the state-Andhra and Telangana- since Rayalaseema was considered a part of Andhra. After the Andhra agitation of 1972 and the resultant imposition of Six Point Formula, the state was divided into seven zones treating the capital city as a separate entity. The rationale underlying this decision was to make the capital city equally accessible to the people living in all parts of the state. This has the appearance of fairness, but in reality it has deprived the people of Telangana of their legitimate right by a subtle play, which made the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad more accessible to the people of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, and more inaccessible to the people of Telangana. It is, therefore, necessary not to mistake the development of capital city with the development of Telangana region or any other region for that matter. In the pr! esent analysis the capital city is treated as a separate region, in conformity with the philosophy of Six Point Formula.
The main factors that generally form a basis for evolving strategies of development of a region are its geographical area and population, besides resource endowment and the levels of development already achieved. Geographically, Telangana is the largest region of the state covering 41.46 per cent of the total area. while the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema cover 33.57 per cent and 24.93 per cent, respectively. Telangana is inhabited by 39.22 per cent of state's population and the share of Coastal Andhra is 43.20 per cent and that of Rayalaseema 17.58. The development of Telangana region has therefore to be assessed keeping these basic factors in view.
At the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh it was assured that disparities on the levels of development, including education, in different regions of the state would be removed in about five years. But even after forty years, the percentage of literate population in Telangana continues to be the lowest in the state i.e. 37.00 as compared to 46.22 in Coastal Andhra, 44.96 in Rayalaseema and 71.52 in the capital city. Districtwise details regarding the rates of literacy are given in Table 1.Table I
Literacy Rate(%) Districtwise (A.P.)
This has happened because of uneven distribution of educational facilities in different regions of the state. For clarity, a region-wise analysis is made, selectively, comprising-school education, universities, engineering and medical colleges. The facts are as follows:
The important point to be kept in mind, in this regard, is the percentage of population spread over different regions of the state (Coastal Andhra 43.20 per cent, Rayalaseema 17.58 per cent and Telangana 39.22 per cent) in order to assess the adequacy or otherwise of the facilities for education created vis-a-vis the size of the population and the levels of literacy achieved, in these regions. The data chosen for this analysis pertain to the year 1993 (the latest made available by the government) and the figures shown in the brackets are percentages.
During this period, there were a little over 70.31 lakh students in the state enrolled in the primary and upper primary schools run by the government, local bodies and private management's both aided and unaided. The regionwise break-up would be: Coastal Andhra 32.11 lakhs (45.67 per cent), Rayalaseema 13.86 lakhs (10.7 per cent), Telangana 22.53 lakhs (32.04 per cent) and capital city 1.81 lakhs (2.57 per cent). It should be realised that the unaided primary schools do not reflect the endeavour of the government, and if such institutions are not taken into account, the positions would be as follows: Coastal Andhra 31.11 lakhs (48.22 per cent), Rayalaseema 12.81 lakhs (I 9.85 per cent), Telangana 19.71 lakhs (30.55 per cent) and capital city 0.88 lakhs (1.36 per cent).
The position obtaining at the high school level is also more or less similar i.e., Coastal Andhra 47.00 per cent, Rayalaseema 18.30 per cent, Telangana 32.00 per-cent and capital city 2.70 per cent.
These figures are self-explanatory, evidently not commensurate with the size of the population of Telangana region and its backwardness. In all fairness, at least 40 per cent of the students enrolled at different levels of education should be from the Telangana region, but they never constituted more than 30 or 32 per cent of the total enrolment. This state of affairs is bound to further aggravate the problem of disparities in the years to come.
Regional disparities with regard to university education are more glaring. The three regions of the state have two universities each with their jurisdiction restricted to the regions concerned. The Osmania University, however, stands on a different footing because of its location and also for historical reasons. The imposition of Six Point Formula has, in fact, nullified its regional character.
In addition to the six universities with regional jurisdiction, there are six more universities having their jurisdiction over the entire state. None of these universities is located in the Telangana region. Of these six universities, the University of Health Sciences is located in the Coastal Andhra region (Vijayawada) and the Women's University in the Rayalaseema region (Tirupati), while all the other four universities, i.e., Agricultural University, Technological University, Open University and Telugu University are in the capital city. Further, the Agricultural and Technological Universities have their campuses and colleges in the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions as well, but no such facility exists in the Telangana region. It may be recalled that the Technological University was actually started at Warangal in the Telangana region, but was subsequently shifted to Hyderabad for inexplicable reasons. Similarly, the Open University was initially launched at Nagarj! unasagar in the Telangana Region, but was later started in the capital city, again for no valid reasons. There are two institutions of higher learning deemed to be universities, namely, the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences and the S.V. Institute of Medical Sciences. The former is located in the capital city and the latter at Tirupati in the Rayalaseema region. In addition, a Sanskrit university funded by the Government of India and the Satya Sai Institute of Higher learning, a deemed university in private sector, also are located in the Rayalaseema region at Tirupati and Anantapur, respectively. It is further proposed to locate the University for Dravidian Languages at Kuppam in the Rayalaseema region.
There are two more institutions in the capital city which are fully funded by the University Grants Commission. They are: The Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, a deemed university and the University of Hyderabad, established in the year 1975, as an offshoot of the Six Point Formula. The primary objective of starting this university was to augment the facilities of university education in the capital city so as to compensate, at least partially, the loss sustained by the youth of Telangana region under the Six Point Formula. But no one, neither in the government nor in the university, seems to remember this fact of history; and thereby, the very purpose of starting this university has been defeated. Today, the University of Hyderabad is as good - or as bad - as any other central university in the country in so far as giving preferential treatment to any particular region in matters of admission and recruitment of staff is concerned.
Regarding the appointment of vice-chancellors of six state-level universities and the directors of two deemed universities, besides other three functionaries of identical status, i.e., the chairman and vice-chairman of A.P. State Council of Higher Education and the chairman of A.P. College Service Commission, Telangana region has all along received a raw deal. Out of these eleven functionaries only one, at present, belongs to the Telangana region and all the other ten hail either from the Coastal Andhra or the Rayalaseema regions. While it is not a reflection on the persons who are now heading these institutions, it is certainly a cause of concern for the academics of Telangana region who are constantly ignored. Such a partisan approach, over the years, has adversely affected the interests of the region in matters of recruitment of staff to the teaching as well as non-teaching cadres. It is significant to note that the staff pattern of these universities is predominantly ! (more than 90 percent in quite a few cases) characterised by the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema personnel.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University which was originally started at Warangal and subsequently shifted to the capital city does not have even a single college located in the Telangana region. Even with regard to the starting of private engineering colleges, the Telangana region has been discriminated against. Out of a total of seventeen colleges in the private sector, only one college is in the entire Telangana region. The Regional Engineering College, however, is situated in Warangal; but its jurisdiction is not confined to the state of Andhra Pradesh alone, leave alone the Telangana region.Medical Education
There are nine government medical colleges in the state, out of which four are in the Coastal Andhra region, two in the Rayalaseema region, two in the capital city and only one in the Telangana region. The three nursing colleges in the government sector are shared equally by Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and the capital city, with the Telangana region drawing a blank. Regarding the nursing schools attached to government hospitals, the position is more or less the same i.e., three are located in Coastal Andhra, two in Rayalaseema, two in the capital city and only one in Telangana.Conclusion
Educational development affects, and in turn, gets affected by the pace of economic development. There is a bi-directional linkage, and in this process the low rates of literacy and economic backwardness sustain each other. This precisely is the problem of Telangana.