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Jyotsna Jha

THE NORTH-EAST ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
By Jayashree Roy
Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi, India, 2004, pp. 288, Rs. 790.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 10 October 2005

The book seems to be one of the many publications that have come on the North East region in the last two decades; attractive because it pertains to a region which has not received adequate attention in the past but disappointing because it is lacking in substance and analysis. The most disappointing aspect is that the book contains painstakingly collected facts but does not analyse them in sufficient depth.   The book, as the title suggests, discusses Elementary Education in the North East region, with a greater focus on two states, Mizoram and Nagaland. These two states, with more than 90 per cent population being tribal converted to Christianity make important cases with good potential for interesting analyses, but the book does not rise up to the potential. The book has apparently been converted from the author’s doctoral thesis and a lot of patch work seems to have taken place in the process. For instance, five paragraphs spread over two pages in the introduction on pages 28-29 have been repeated again on pages 72 -73. It appears that the Introduction, which is a 53 page chapter, has been added later and hence is full of this kind of errors.   A number of Tables lack adequate explanation. For example, it is not clear what four columns under ‘elementary’ signify in Table 1.1 (page 57). Though the text helps understand that the data here are referring to retention rates, it has not been classified as one in the Table. Some aspects have received inadequate attention. For instance, the section on the financing of elementary education included in the chapter 2 providing an overview of the elementary education facilities in the region presents the useful details of expenditure in absolute figures in each of the seven North Eastern states but does not provide the important information of even a rough estimate of per-student expenditure which could have facilitated a comparative analysis. And the information included in one of the Tables, expenditure on elementary education as a percentage of total budgeted expenditure, which could facilitate comparative analysis, has not been used for the purpose. Nevertheless, to be fair to the author, the analysis comparing Mizoram and Nagaland regarding the use of central aid in the sub-sector is relevant and useful.   The basic hypothesis of the study, as mentioned in the book, is that ‘educational development is linked to the political, social and economic forces of the times especially in the ...


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