by Rona T. Pamonag
The primary school itself, its facilities, and pedagogical methods, all affect the child’s learning experience and exert an influence upon retention or drop-out. In some countries, the facilities available are inadequate for the number of students who attend the schools. There are not enough schools, and within existing schools there are not enough benches, desks, or chalkboards to mention only the most basic equipment. This is particularly true of many schools in the poorer nations of the region. In some countries, there appear to be enough schools, for example in India over 90 per cent of her habitations have either their own primary school or primary section, or have one located within one kilometer. The problem is that around one third are only one teacher schools, and few have actually one teacher for each primary grade.
As some states had only four primary grades, the actual provision of one teacher per grade is slightly better than it appears. One teacher schools may be very good, particularly in situations where there are few children and a wide variety of learning materials are available, and the teachers have been adequately trained for the purpose. The school situation then resembles an ungraded classroom, and the teacher becomes a resource person to all his or her pupils. Unfortunately, the best conditions for one teacher schools are rarely available and the need to change them has been recognized in India and in other countries also.
The upgrading of many of the single teacher schools to accommodate all the primary school students seems a necessary condition in helping to prevent drop-out. If there is not even seating room for the children there is little incentive for the child to attend. Provision of sufficient basic facilities would be a major factor in preventing drop-out. Provision of basic physical facilities is not enough. In addition, a sufficient number of trained teachers must also be...