Introduction to the Education System in India
India has been the hub of education from ancient times. Starting from ancient universities like
Nalanda to modern day equivalents of the IITs and IIMs, India has remained in forefront. While
the nation talks of achievements in areas like astronomy, nuclear sciences and attributes the
successes in the services industry to the quality of education in the country, it still hounded with
issues related to education in the rural India.
With the second highest population and a developing economy, India struggles with issues of
primary education, literacy and its ability to provide quality education in rural India. With plans
like Universal primary education, midday meals, India has tried hard to ensure primary education
to all the children in the country. The only state to achieve this goal so far is Kerala.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Development, created on 26th September 1985, deals with
all levels of education in India. Under the ministry of Human Resources and Development there
are two departments, which deal with school education and literacy (Department of School
Education and Literacy) and higher education (Department of Higher Education)
Structure of the Education System
Pre-Primary Education is not a fundamental right in India. There is very little information available
on the pre-primary education in rural India. “While primary education provides the fundamentals
of all formal learningquot; (Neeraj Sharma 1997), preprimary learning may be called the foundation
for both education and personal development.1 In the absence of government support, Pre-
primary education remains still a privilege of Urban India and of those who belong to upper
India: Pre-Primary and Primary Education, http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/652/India-PREPRIMARY-
Figure 1 : Structure of Education System in India
Primary Education in India is one of its stronger links. When the eight five year plan was made,
the government laid huge emphasis on reforming the primary education in India and
implemented their plan of universalizing primary education across the nation. They concentrated
on three important factors of access, retention and achievement, which ensured that the
education was accessible to children, that they continued their studies and used it to achieve
their goals. As an effect of this plan, by end of 2000, 94% of rural India had primary schools within
a kilometer and had upper primary schools within three kilometers of range.
While primary and upper primary schools are present across the country and significant efforts
have been put to ensure that quality education is available and students don’t drop out of them,
the higher education remains a major issue in rural areas. While government high schools teach
in regional languages, the urban and sub-urban schools teach in English. The issues faced by
higher education schools are multifold. While there are language barriers, the major issues are in
the areas of availability of trained teachers, quality of study materials and the effort required
ensuring that the content is relevant to the student and his future.
Also, the institutions are heavily subsidized by the government, which makes the cost of
infrastructure and operations very low; while the study materials are not always subsidized by the
government. The cost of the study materials, like textbooks, notebooks and stationary still falls on
the student. Consequently the number of students who drop out after primary education is very
high, especially in the rural parts of the nation.
Another problem plaguing India is the dearth of teachers. India faces a shortage of eight lakh
teachers in primary and middle schools in terms of numbers. And amongst the already existing
force, the numbers of teachers who are willing to go to rural parts of India to teach are very less. 2
Analysis of Education Data (2005-2006)
The website of Ministry of Human Resources and Development, http://education.nic.in/, has
selected education statistics updated for the year 2005-2006. An analysis of this data, keeping
state of Maharashtra as the focus has been done.
Below is the data showing the number of institution that offers various kinds of education. This
data again comprises of the entire state of Maharashtra, rural and urban parts included. The
number of pre-primary schools is very high due to the fact that each of these schools can house
only a very small number of students. Also, they are highly concentrated in the urban areas of the
state. As the graph shows, the number of primary schools is reasonably high but as we progress
towards higher education, the number of institutions offering higher education gradually drop.
This emphasizes the fact that as the education levels progress, the number of dropouts increase,
also the effort put by the government to provide higher education is insufficient.
Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/India_faces_a_drought_of_teachers/rssarticleshow/3199178.cms
Figure 2 : Number of education institutions in Maharashtra, 2005-06
If we were to look at the split up of the institutes providing higher education and the nature of
courses offered by them for the state of Maharashtra, we would see that the major chunk of
institutes provide courses in Arts, Science and commerce. The figure below shows the statistics
collected by Ministry of Human Resources and Development for the year of 2005-06.
Figure 3 : Split up of courses offered in Higher Education Institutions in Maharashtra
The next set of data shows the teacher to student ratio for higher education institutes. The lower
the teacher to pupil ratio, the healthier is the system of education. Though some states show a
higher teacher to pupil ratio due to the fact that the number of students is very less and there are
more teachers available. In this case, it reflects high dropout numbers of the state.
As seen in the chart, Maharashtra ranks way below states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka
in terms of the teachers to pupil ratio in higher education.
Figure 4 : Teacher to Pupil Ratio, State wise
The dropout rates of students are shown in the figure below. As it can be seen from the figure,
the percentage drop out of students increases as we approach higher education.
Figure 5 : Dropout rates across states
While the efforts of the government to ensure good quality primary education has borne fruits
across the nation, the lack of effort to solve the problems related to higher education is leading to
decay in the education system.
We have chosen Ghodegaon, a village in the Ambegaon taluka of the Pune division in the state of
Maharashtra in India. The next section analyses the location of the village top down, from the
state it is in till its map traced from the Google earth tool.
Figure 6 : State of Maharashtra
Located in the west coast of India, Maharashtra is the third largest state by area and the second
largest state by population. With a population of 96,752,247 inhabitants, Maharashtra is the
second most populous state in India.
Maharashtra covers an area of 307,731 square kilometers which is about 9.84% of the total
geographical area of India. The capital of the state, Mumbai is the financial capital of the country
and the largest city in the nation. With the highest per capita income, the state contributes to
about 15% of the country’s industrial output and 13.2% of the GDP (2005-06).
Marathi is the official language, also the most widely spoken language. Marathi is spoken by 68%
of the population in the state. The other languages spoken are Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Non-
Scheduled Languages, Telugu, Kannada and Sindhi.
History of Maharashtra
The Marathas rose to power under the leadership of Shivaji in the 17th century. They fought
against the Mughals, who were ruling a large part of India. The Maratha Empire expanded to
cover most parts of northern India and survived for almost a century. The empire ended after the
third Anglo-Maratha war and most of Maharashtra was made a part under the Bombay state.
After independence, the state of Maharashtra was formed on May 1, 1960.
The state is officially divided into thirty five districts which are grouped into six divisions. These
divisions are Aurangabad, Amravati, Konkan, Nagpur, Nashik, and Pune. Historically, the state has
five regions which are Vidarbha or Berar (Nagpur and Amravati), Marathwada (Aurangabad),
Khandesh and Northern Maharashtra (Nashik), Desh or Western Maharashtra (Pune), and Konkan
Figure 7: Divisions in Maharashtra
The major cities in Maharashtra are Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur,
Aurangabad, Amravati, Jalgaon, Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur.
The city of Pune is also known as the ‘Queen of Deccan’ due to scenic beauty and rich natural
resources. Pune city is known on across the world due to its educational institutions. The district
is also an important military base. It is also the most industrialized district in western
Maharashtra and is an important IT hub in India. Pune exemplifies an indigenous Marathi culture
and ethos, in which education, arts and crafts, and theatres are given due prominence. Pune is
the cultural capital of the Maharashtra.
Figure 8: District level map of Pune
Geography of Pune
The district of Pune is located between 17 degrees 54' and 10degrees24' north latitude and 73
degrees19' and 75 degrees 10' east longitude. It has an area of 15.642 square kilometers. The
Pune district is bound by Ahmadnagar district on north-east, Solapur district on the south-east,
Satara district on south, Raigad district on the west and Thane district on the north-west.
Pune is the second largest district in the state and covers 5.10 % of the total geographical area of
the state. Pune district forms a part of the tropical monsoon land and therefore shows a
significant seasonal variation in temperature as well as rainfall conditions.
The district is geographically divided into Ghat, Sub Mountain, and Plain and scarcity zone.
Figure 9: Geography of Pune District
Ambegaon is a tehsil in the Khed subdivision of Pune. It has a part of its land in the plain zone and
the other in the scarcity zone. Though Ambegaon is technically the taluka head, most of the main
administrative offices was shifted to Ghodegaon when the dam was being built on the Ghod
River. Currently all important government offices are based out of Ghodegaon.
Ghodegaon is located in the Ambegoan Taluka. It is second largest village in the Taluka. It is
surrounded by lot of important landmarks, one of the being the IUCAA telescope at Girawali. The
other is the Dhimba dam, which is built on the Ghod River.
Figure 10: Mumbai, Pune and Ghodegaon
How to reach Ghodegaon
To reach Ghodegaon, one can start from either Mumbai or Pune. From the Mumbai-Pune
expressway, near the last toll at the Pune end, one needs to take the road to Chakan. This road,
the NH50 passes Chakan and then goes to Manchar. One would notice that these are highly
industrialized areas of Maharashtra. There are MIDC complexes on this stretch, with companies
like Bajaj, BMW, Mercedes and L’Oreal having their manufacturing units on this road. From
Manchar, a small state highway in the direction of Bhimashankar, a popular tourist spot leads us
Figure 11: Road Map of Ghodegaon
The village of Ghodegaon is surrounded by sixteen other villages that fall into the Ambegaon
taluka. As a part of our study we have visited certain parts of the taluka which are explained
through the Google earth maps below.
Ghodegaon is a village on the banks of the river Ghod, hence the name Ghodegaon. Ghod River is
one of the six rivers in the Pune district. As it can be seen from the image below, the area around
Ghod River is protected as it is a green belt, with highly fertile land and a perennial river. This area
is also has a huge number of protected animal species. The panthers are one of them. The forests
of Ambegaon district is protected by the government and one can see the panthers walking freely
in and around the village. Till date they have not harmed the people living in the villages. The
abundance of flora and fauna coupled with the availability of water from the Ghod River makes
this area highly prosperous.
Figure 12: Ghod River and Ghodegaon
The next map shows an overview of the village, with the main landmarks of the village marked on
it. The Panchayat office, the Court, the Friday market are the State Transport bus stand are the
important landmarks in the village. The road junction that houses the Panchayat office and the
bus stand also becomes the economic hub of the village. All important shops, offices are situated
in and around this junction.
The Friday markets, also known as a ‘haat’ happens near this junction. All the villagers gather on
Fridays in this open land near the mosque, where they set up their stalls and sell their produce.
The milk depot, the temples, the factories, the mosque are all around this junction which forms
the focal point of the village.
Figure 13: Panchayat, Court, Bus Stand
Below is the image of the Girawali IUCAA telescope, which we had the privilege of visiting during
our stay in Ghodegaon. This is a two meter long telescope that was installed in Girawali at an
altitude of 1000 meters above the sea level. There is an observatory and a guest house for the
scientists who work.
Figure 84: IUCAA Telescope at Girawali
The detailed Google earth maps of all the other locations are attached in the annexure. These
include places which were visited for the study as well as other important locations in and around
Ghodegaon: An Introduction
Nestled somewhere in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district, lies the village of Ghodegaon. Fourteen
kilometres west of Manchar on the Nashik-Pune highway, Ghodegaon lies on the road to the
jyotirlinga of Bhimashankar and Shivneri, the birthplace of the original Chhatrapati. The route
passes over hill and dale lined with fields and more fields, the shetkari homelands of
Maharashtra, growing cereal crops; this is not the sugar belt. Manchar, the spot to get down for
Ghodegaon from Pune, presents itself as yet another Indian small town, made prosperous by the
busy Nashik-Pune highway, with its dhabas and medical shops. The bus to our destination is to be
had here, and one takes ones place among a melee of navvaris, turbans, and pan-stained mouths.
The first stop is at Landewadi, which would not be noticed if not for the Bhimashankar High
School, a flashy residential school reminiscent of Panchgani. Opposite it is another school, which
on first look promises to be another such five-star school, but on closer inspection by reading the
Marathi title-board declares itself to be the Zilla Parishad Madhyamik Shala! Plod further on, and
the foothills of the Western Ghats raise the level, only for it to be brought down by a doughty
restoration of the not-yet-finished Deccan. Thus a natural roller-coaster ride is offered to the
rider, though the state PWD has tried to mitigate by providing a decently motorable road, and
even the infamous S.T. buses co-operate. The valley between Landewadi and Ghodegaon bursts
into orange and purple and green, the colours emanating from the marigold fields. At the
destination the road turns sharply left to head on to Bhimashankar. To the right is Ghodegaon,
the length of which is traversed in five minutes. It pretends to have a main road, at the end of
which is the S.T. stand.
Ghodegaon is the real headquarters of the taluka, though it is named after the smaller
Ambegaon. It comprises two parts, the old village bazaarpeth and a newer part on the
Bhimashankar road. The two are connected by The Bridge, a major landmark of the town
spanning a nondescript nullah overgrown with weeds. The newer part contains the A.P.M.C.
market yard, so is called the duyyam bazaarpeth the second market district. One notices a
Kapaleshwar Steel Mart strangely reminiscent of Kapaleeshwara of Chennai, the patron God of
cabbies. South Indian culture makes its more familiar impact in the form of idli-dosa sold at the
New India Hotel, which true to Indian usage, is an eatery, not a place to stay. The flashiest place
in town, it evokes the Pankaja Cafe of R.K. Narayans Malgudi, though no one might have noticed
it were it in Thane or Pune. A worthwhile meal is hard poli, underboiled vegetables and ration
rice - a term used by Army wives to describe the poor quality rice given as rations. The favourite
meal of the townsfolk however, is pan-supari, the heady odour of which permeates the
thoroughfare of the village.
Yet, Ghodegaon (and perhaps other villages) is not Malgudi. It has a functional Rural Hospital, and
the S.T. stand is well-connected to the rest of Maharashtra. The very fashionable NIIT and Aptech
both have a presence alongside the Ambegaon Taluka Vidya Vikas Mandals Arts and
CommerceCollege and an Industrial Training Institute. Bhimashankar also dominates the
economy, as a number of rest-houses and eateries of several classes dot the place. And the
marigolds are always there.
Ethnography of Ghodegaon
Ghodegaon is situated in the green belt of Maharashtra and the soil is black and fertile. The
terrain is a mixture of plains and hills. Both pucca and semi-pucca residential houses are seen
here and the commercial establishments are pucca constructions. On an average every household
has 4-5 members.
Ghodegaon being a fertile belt, most of the land is used for agricultural purposes. Due to the
distribution of land amongst the various generations of a family, an average farmer possesses
land of the size of 1-2 acre. These small farms are located in clusters of 5 or 6, indicating the
original sizes of these fields before familial division. The farmers live in the residential area of
Ghodegaon which is demarcated from the farms. Farmers sometimes grow vegetables like
tomatoes near their houses whereas the farms growing staple crops being large are located away
On an average, Ghodegaon grows two crops a year. Sometimes the farmers manage a third crop
if the water supply suffices. The lower lands grow sugarcane, groundnuts, potato and tomato on a
rotational basis. The higher altitude farms in the hilly areas grow rice, wheat (gahu), jowar and
Ghodegaon has a mixed population which is distributed across different age brackets. The
teenagers mostly go to Mumbai and Pune to pursue higher education after schooling in
Ghodegaon. The sex ratio appears to be 1:1 and the average income of a villager is around Rs
1000 – 1500 per month.
Majority of the villagers are Marathas. However, there are other castes like Mali, Matanga, Bondh
and Adivasi. At the obvious level, people don’t lay too much importance on the caste, but the
caste does play a significant role at the subconscious level. The village has a Hindu majority with a
small population of Muslims living in a separate area (near the Friday Market). Again the Muslims
claimed to be happy ‘living as one’ with the other villagers.
The literacy rates are high and the panchayat claims it to be 90%. Although schooling is done in
Ghodegaon, the villagers prefer sending their children to either Pune or Mumbai for higher
education in colleges.
Although the majority is involved in farming, the other noteworthy occupation is trading. The
trading primarily deals with selling agro-products to the dealers in cities like Mumbai and Pune.
Many villagers also work as laborers in the nearby SEZs of Chakan and Manchar. The major
companies employing these villagers are Bajaj (Chakan) and Amul (Manchar) besides 8 to 9 other
factories. There are also some who act as local laborers in the farms of Ghodegaon and they are
paid Rs. 50 – 60 per head. A good number of villagers also participate in politics and consider it as
Ghodegaon Panchayat is the seat of the Taluka Panchayats. The Ghodegaon constituency
witnesses 8000 votes and is divided into 6 wards represented by 17 members. Currently 14
members are from Shiv Sena, who won the election 6 months ago. The panchayat members
include 1 adivasi, 1 matang, 2 itar magasu and 7 women.
Ghodegaon is 100 kilo meters away from Pune and Mumbai lies approximately 200 kilo meters to
the west. These two cities are well connected with Ghodegaon through National highways. The
nearest commercial hub of Manchar is 14 kilo meters to the east. S.T. buses are the main mode of
transport to travel to these cities or the nearby SEZ, besides the shuttle taxis which carry people
and goods to the nearest villages and towns. In fact the S.T. buses connect Ghodegaon to all the
nodal towns around and the bus depot is centrally located in Ghodegaon.
Ghodegaon has 4-5 hospitals and a Grameen Rugnalaya. However, in case of grave medical
requirements, people travel to Pune or Mumbai in search of better medical facilities. They have
maternity facilities but if there is a need for caesarean birth then a surgeon has to come from
Bhimashankar. The current cleanliness drive has improved the general health standards of
There is a post office right in front of the Panchayat office. There are a number of PCOs especially
in grocery shops or in shops which sells mobile connection. Idea cellular has a very good network
in the village besides Airtel and BSNL. There is an absence of Vodafone’s network in the village
which was a surprise as Vodafone has an extensive network in Maharashtra.
Ghodegaon also has a District Magisterial court. There are 40 advocates and 1 judge in the court.
The approximate number of Civil Cases is 250 and Criminal Cases 500 per year. Civil cases
looked more into property disputes and Land issues, mostly amongst family. Criminal cases
constituted accidents that occurred frequently, due to its closeness to the highway and also
marital abuse and maintenance cases. There were no communal or caste dispute cases as per the
advocates of the court.
Power supply is the biggest problem at Ghodegaon with load shedding of more than 8 hours a
everyday. The load shedding is especially severe during the summers with power cuts lasting for
more than 12 hours!
Dimba Dam on Ghod Nadi (river) is the main source of water for irrigation. The water reaches the
fields through canals from the river or though pipelines with motor pumps from the Dam. The
ground water level being good, many households employ tube wells for their domestic needs.
The people here also have poultry farms. It provides an alternate means of income from the same
land. The excreta of the chickens are also used as manure to make the soil more fertile. There are
organization like Amro and Seguna, which provide everything to the farmers, from the
construction of the shed to providing them with the bird food and taking the birds back in 45
days. They pay around Rs. 2.50/ kg of bird they get back after 45 days. This is a security net for
the farmers if the rains don’t come timely or if there are some problems with the crop that year.
Almost every house has cows. Each cow gives around 14-15 liters of milk which they sell at co-
operative societies which collect milk from the families in Ghodegaon and sell it in the Amul
Ghodegaon has 2 English medium schools and 2 Marathi medium schools. Total number of
students, including primary and secondary sections, is around 3000. The only college at
Ghodegaon is affiliated to the Pune University and has courses in BCA, Commerce, Arts and
Science and has around 600 students studying in it. Currently there are no diploma or
professional (Engineering or medical) colleges here, although an engineering college is coming up
in this village.
Ghodegaon sees a lot of festivals being celebrated over the year. Ganesh Chaturthi and Navratri
are the main festivals here along with Bael Gada (bull race). There are many temples in and
around the village and Harishchandra Mandir is the famous one. There are also 2 masjids in
WorldVision, an NGO has worked on this village and villages in the nearby areas. It is a Christian
humanitarian organisation working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and
communities living in poverty and injustice. With more than 50 years of experience in India,
World Vision works in 24 states across the country through
Development that is community based, sustainable and transformational
Emergency response and disaster mitigation,
Advocacy initiatives that are grassroots based.
World Vision India is a national NGO in partnership with a network of over 100 other entities
within World Vision International. World Vision India is registered as a society under the Tamil
Nadu Societies Act with its National Office based in Chennai.
In Ghodegaon it has led the “Swachhata Abhiyan” amongst other such health related programs. It
works with children and schools to teach them about basic hygiene and healthy living.
The dominant caste by the strength of their population as well as in rank is the Maratha. Politics
is also dominated by Marathas. However, as per the civic compulsions, other castes are also
represented. In the Panchayat although women have a fair representation with the Sarpanch
being a woman, men still call the shots. All the advocates of the local court are Marathas with no
other caste being represented. Brahmins are respected but their numbers are quite small. Other
castes like Mali, Matanga, Bondh, Adivasis and Harijans are also there but in minorities. Muslim
are a minority forming 1 percent of the population.
The caste classification is polymorphic. The younger generation freely mingles across all caste
barriers in the schools and colleges as well as in the locality. The older generations avoid crossing
the barrier and interact across castes only during need-based situations. Although the higher
castes don’t belittle the lower castes, they do expect them to respect the superior status of the
higher castes. The lower classes are also conscious of their stature and avoid ‘crossing the
border’. In this regards, we happened to see an adivasi waiting outside a Maratha’s house for
some work and he wasn’t invited inside and the work was settled outside the house.
Professionally, fishermen are the most economically backward and they invariably belong to
lower castes like Harijan. They live by the river banks or across the Dimba Dam in shanties. Many
of them were displaced from the village’s mainland during the construction of the Dimba Dam
and they haven’t been compensated adequately.
The clothing is mostly similar for most of the Ghodegaon villagers with the signature white
Gandhi topi, along with a white shirt and a loose pant or a dhoti forming their attire. Clothing
doesn’t give away the caste of a person. Women mostly use bindi and cover their head with the
pallu of the Sari. Muslim women however refrain from using the bindi, but they do put on lot of
kaajal. The older generation of Muslim men have beards. The younger generation of both the
communities wear similar clothing and cannot be distinguished in any way.
The people are mostly vegetarian, including the Muslims. There is low availability of meat. So, the
non-vegetarian people are people who eat fish. Their breakfast includes poha and chai. The
farmers have bajra or jowar ki roti and onions. But slowly there is a shift to gehu ki roti amongst
the villagers. They make simple food but usually have a lot of mirch in their vegetables. Milk is
readily available as they have cows in their own house.
There is no single most important family in the village. People gain respect if their family heritage
and lineage is great. People also respect people if their son has gone to the city and carved a
name for themselves. Money matters but lineage has far more importance.
The Deputy Sarpanch in his interview mentioned that the villagers are very spiritual. While taking
a tour of the village on our own we saw a temple after every few houses. There must have been
around 10-12 small temples in the village itself and 2 mosques. We went to the village during the
Navratri festival and every temple was beautifully decorated. In the evening women with their
daughters went to the temple. There were less men at the temple during the evening Arati. But
men and women both went for satsangs in the late evening. Bhimashankar has a renowned Shiv
temple and Shivneri and Shirdi are also close to the village.
They do not give too much importance to education, but consider it important to have a good
job. They don’t mind sending their children to Pune and sometimes Mumbai for higher studies if
that would ensure a high paying job. Many of the Maratha caste boys stopped studying before
completing graduation and started their own business. The Brahmins studied more than the rest
of the castes. But the quality of education is far below expectations.
The girl child’s education is more as a modern day requirement in the marriage market than an
option of their employment. They send their girls to English medium schools. But education is not
a high priority for them.
We could not get an opportunity to talk with the girls. They were in school and once back home
they did not come out of their house. There were a few who studied outside the village in Pune,
but one can only draw conclusions on what their aspirations could be. Their life was very
restricted and was inside the house. Women of the village worked in the field with men. Old
women had their own fields and employed labourers to work on their fields. But the primary
objective of parents was to get their daughter married in a good family. The uneducated women
also wanted their children to study. They don’t believe that once the children leave their village
they would ever return back.
The older generation likes to continue with the hierarchies and rituals followed by their previous
generations. They look forward to their children’s return to the village. They like the simple life of
waking up, reading the newspaper, discussing with friends over a cup of tea, moving around the
village and meeting people, having a nice lunch back home, have a nap, go out again in the
evening, sometimes to the temple and then time with the family.
Marriages seldom occurred within the community. Women got married by the time they were 22
years old and men by 25 years. Inter-caste marriages were not welcome and neither were love
marriages. Adivasis got their daughters married even at the age of 15 years. There were very few
women advocates in the court, and women in general were home makers and sometimes worked
in the fields if the family did not have enough income to get labourers to work.
The youth of the village aspired to garner respect from its society on the basis of a respectable
profession which provided good monthly income. They were not too keen in pursuing farming.
That was something which was their parents’ occupation.
The underlying culture of Ghodegaon is very patriarchal, conservative and orthodox in nature
with some modern attributes added externally. The youth might not be wearing the Gandhi Topi
and dhoti but they connect the innate value of a Maratha with these symbols. They might be
going to the same college as other castes and religion and eat with them, but they will not marry
someone from another caste. The value of money has increased and they want to earn early and
Media diffusion in the village
Newspaper has the maximum reach amongst men of the village. In various corners of the street
or in a restaurant there would be a man reading the newspaper in Marathi. English newspapers
were nowhere to be found. The newspapers include Saamna, Lokmat are available at the
newspaper shop. There is no delivery system at home. This makes it an almost exclusive property
of the men. Women are told about important news by their husbands. The newspaper is a shared
possession. Usually the elder most person in the gully or the retired teacher buys the newspaper
and then it is taken by the younger people or people who are working. The non working people
come and discuss the news with the shopkeepers and their neighbors as well as in group chats in
the evening under a tree.
Radio has its presence but it is not one of the preferred medium of either entertainment or news.
Television penetration is surprisingly high in the village. People and restaurants have small color
TVs. In hotels it is put on throughout the day for customers to watch and enjoy. If there is cricket
then it is the sports channel or invariably it would be on the Marathi channel either ETV Marathi
or Zee Marathi. Women also get to watch television in their houses. One of the villagers as well as
a retailer mentioned that women look at an advertisement on TV for a particular soap and then
they come and buy that soap. Thus, TV definitely affects consumer behavior of women. Men
mostly watched news on the TV while women watched soaps and movies. Women saw TV during
the afternoons. Although the men said that they watched the news in the evening they usually
missed the news due to power cuts.
Satellite channels are available in Ghodegaon by Dish TV and Tata Sky. There is no cable network
as it is on a hilly terrain and cable network does not work well for them. The mobile network is
good in Ghodegaon especially for Airtel. But the network is very weak as one move up the hills
and cross the Dimba Dam. The surprising element was the deep knowledge of the latest
technologies in the phone. The users knew how to create videos and transfer them via Bluetooth
to our phones, while they were the same people who caught snakes for fun.
Media Behavior (reading/listening/viewing)
As one can conclude from the above observations, men are more prone to reading while women
are more affected by viewing and listening.
Perceptions of Media
The newspaper is considered to be the most authentic source of information while television was
more for entertainment and modern values. Satellite channels were accepted easily as they
connected and understood Marathi channels better than Hindi channels. Radio was on a
backburner after the entry of television. TV is slowly taking up the position of community
watching, but newspaper holds its sway.
Consumption of Information
Information about latest happenings, the state of the country and economy was taken from the
newspaper. TV provided information about the latest FMCG product which would be available at
some discount or has some special offer. But at the end of the day if the retailer tries to push a
product people take their word for it, in the case of soaps, and oil. But the scenario is different for
durables. Friends and people from the city provided information about durables like a television
or a refrigerator. As one of the villagers said:
“Dukaan daar toh kuch bhi bechega jisme usse faayda hoga. Uspe kya bharosa. Aur woh koi
service bhi nahii deta. Mehengi cheez soch samajhke khareedni hogi.”
(The shopkeeper would sell anything which would give it profits. How can one trust them? And he
won’t even provide any after sales service. When we are making a big investment we need to
consult and decide carefully)
Durable brands are decided by consulting other people on the village who have that product and
what kind of experience they have had. They also consult their friends and family in the city as
they believe they would know better. Philips has its presence in a number of households in the
form of 12-14” colour TVs.
Agro-inputs are bought from the Krushi Utpadan Kendra and the brands are decided either by
previous experience or by asking the seller at the counter. The village has a few such shops with
an array of seeds and fertilizer brands.
FMCG products were decided either by watching the ads on television and the decision maker is
usually the woman in the family. The decision changes if there are some special offers running.
The retail stores have a number of small SKUs available for most of its products.
In clothes, the educated people know about brands, especially if their children are in the city. But
they would buy an unbranded trouser at Rs.500 than pay Rs. 1500 for a branded one.
Cars were few and far between. Mostly people had bikes for their transportation needs.
Advertising and Point of Purchase
The mobile phones and networks advertise through painted walls as well as shop display. Some
brands like Kit Kat had polythene branded and kept at retail shops for free. This ensured brand
In the Friday Haat, one observed a number of spurious brands in the market, with similar colour
combinations and names on the packaging. Thus the recall of a brand was mainly through its
packaging colour combination.
Retailers were given schemes to promote products with better margins for higher sales. HUL had
a very good network in the village with its representative coming at least once a week and
providing the retailers with Point of Purchase display materials. Point of Purchase provided
instant trigger to consumers and also made them aware of the offers available on the products.
Talekarwadi: A case study
Located about five kilometers from Ghodegaon is Talekarwadi, a small village that has gained
national acclaim. Since we were staying in the house of the Talekars, they urged us to visit their
village. There was a Gram Sabha happening in the village, and we were invited to attend it. All
thrilled at the prospect of visiting a Gram Sabha, three of us started out for Talekarwadi. On the
way we stopped at the shrine of the Saint Krishna Das who was the patron of the village. The
shrine was well maintained with marble flooring and clean ambience.
The village which was about half a kilo meter from the shrine was a small nicely arranged set of
semi pucca houses. All of them painted the same color of pink. If one didn’t know that it was
village, it could easily be mistaken for a planned township or colony. We went to the newly built
Panchayat house and met the Sarpanch and interviewed him. While talking to him, we learnt an
astonishing amount of information. For example, the whole village has undergone a cleanliness
and sanitation campaign with the help of the NGO, World Vision. In this process, all the houses
have built toilets inside them and made proper facilities for sanitation. The village has won an
award from the ex-president of India, APJ Kalam for their cleanliness drive.
Also, a closer examination of the village revealed the extensive usage of solar panels as a source
of power. They also had modern water storage techniques and Sintex branded water storage
devices above the houses.
After the chat with the Sarpanch, we went on to visit the school in the village. There was a
primary education school in the village. Though it was the weekend, there was the head mistress
of the school who was there correcting class notebooks. There was also one of the staff who
takes care of the administrative jobs in the school. We were allowed to interview them and take
notes about the school. We were invited into the teacher’s room. Here we got to see various
interesting data on the notice board, like the number of students who are enrolled in the school,
names of people who are in charge of the school, its governing committees etc. While talking to
them, we learnt that they had a video documentary shot on the village. They had a computer in
the teacher’s room, and though the staff seemed to lack confidence operating the computer,
they managed to show us the video documentary. This documentary explains how this village has
transformed itself into a cleaner and more modern version of itself through the help of World
From all the interviews done in Talekarwadi, this is
the basic picture of the village that we have gained.
The people here don’t have a perennial source of
water unlike Ghodegaon, where the Ghod River acts
as their saviour. In Talekarwadi, water comes at a
premium. People do farming during the rainy seasons
and winter using the water in the ponds, which dry up
in summer. They save the money and water for the
summer season, when they are effectively without a
source of livelihood besides the cattle they own. The
new canal system is something which they hope will
give them some relief.
They send their kids to primary school in
Talekarwadi, and those kids who want to continue
their education go to ghodegaon for higher
education. While they seem to have lot of respect for education and that too primary education, they
seem very sceptical about higher education. The village is connected to Ghodegaon through the road, and
there are about two state transport buses that commute on the road daily. Since, the buses aren’t
frequent and the distance to Ghodegaon is only a few kilometres, people walk or hitch rides on any
vehicles that are on the road.The most interesting part about Talekarwadi is that, when we came back to
college and did secondary research on the village, we found a blog on the internet which was hosted by
the village Panchayat. The link of this site is www.talekarwadi.blogspot.com.
Sign Boards: A study of Communication Content
The study of signboards and advertisements in Ghodegaon served as a lesson communication
studies. We took the photographs of the signboards so that we can later study then and
understand the community better. For example we found that the names of shops are an
interesting phenomenon to study. When we were doing the rurals, we realized that most of the
shops are named ‘Dosthi’. We started wondering if there is any logic to it and hence started
reading all the shop names and realized that there is a pattern to it. The shops are names are of
three types, one would be on an adjective or quality, say ‘Dosthi’ or ‘Adarsh’, the other category
would be shops named after people, this could be saints, political figures like Shivaji or names of
a respected elder in the family. The third category of names would be modern names written in
English, like say a ‘Smile’ for a beauty parlor or the name ‘Royal’ for a mobile store. We believe
that these names make it more approachable for the people in the village.
We also analysed the sign boards that companies like Airtel,
Idea and political parties put up in the village. Idea seems to
be having a good coverage in the village and hence have come
up with a brilliant campaign that is in Hindi
and talks about the coverage of the network. While Airtel has
opted to installing pay phones inside State Transport buses. Also a study of the hoardings shows that there
is a huge wave of pro-Maratha faiths in the village, also there is some sense of insecurity about Hindu
Muslim relations. This can be seen in the hoardings shown below.
Another interesting thing that we noticed was that people liked to write down all the messages that they
want to communicate. Like when an object is gifted, the detail of who gifted it and when it was gifted is
written on the gift. We noticed this in the house where we stayed and also few other houses we visited.
Though the villagers say that it is written in fond remembrance of the person who gifted it, we feel that it
might be because fights related to property occur frequently in the village and having the details of the
ownership written on the property is a way of marking the item.
Similarly, in one of the retail stores we visited, we found interesting boards that announced that the
owner of the shop was not willing to loan money to anyone. We assume that there would have been at
some point a perennial problem of people asking for credit and fed up with it, the shopkeeper has put a
sign board out. The message in the sign board is innovative, funny and puts a harsh message in a light
manner using humour as a tool.
Finally, in all the schools we visited, we noticed lot of messages that talk of the importance of education,
promoting primary education. This we believe is a due to government’s efforts to promote primary
education in rural areas. At the same time we don’t see an effort to promote higher education.
The most interesting aspect was that we found people, youngsters, who could use mobiles and
technologies like Bluetooth with ease. They would use the latest models of the handsets, have good
knowledge of the market and would advice the older people in the village about technology. These we
believe are the major influencers in the village when it comes to promoting a technology or new product.
The House of Talekars: A case study
We lived in the house of Shankar Talekar. He was a farmer who had a farm in Talekar wadi, a
small village near Ghodegaon. He employed daily laborers to work on the farm and he stayed in
his pucca 2 room house in Ghodegaon near the houses of his 2 brothers. His wife and his mother
stay with him in the house.
The house was spacious with very few pieces of furniture. There was one diwan in the drawing
room where we stayed and the TV in an almirah which has a mirror and few items on display. The
door was the back entry and guests came to the house from there.
Adjacent to it was the kitchen with a gas stove and utensils of various kinds and sizes. In the
photograph you would notice a paint box which has been re-used as a bucket for storing water.
A small corridor opened up to the bathroom and toilet on the left and the main bedroom on the
The bathroom was preceded by a wash basin. Although the bathrooms and wash basin had water
pipe connection but we were asked to use a mug and take water from already filled buckets of
water. The toilet and bathroom were separate, but there was only one mug for use. The
bathroom had a rope tied for hanging clothes. There was a tiny little place on the window sill for
keeping soap in the bathroom. For our bath we got hot water which was heated in an iron stove
over coal fire. The wash basin had a small tube of Colgate.
The bedroom was a private area and we were not allowed there by an unspoken and unwritten
rule. They had a few rose plants outside the house and numerous Tulsi plants.
They woke up early in the morning around 6:00 am and woke us all up as well. The bath water
was made ready in the stove. After everybody had their shower we were given poha and chai or
coffee for breakfast. They fed us in the morning even if they had a fast. Shankar Talekar went
around the village with us, introducing us to everyone as friends of Suresh his nephew from
Mumbai. He was friendly and protective about us. He would not hinder our conversation.
Suresh’s dad was busy constructing the 1st floor of his house so did not have too much time for
us, but Shankar was always with us. Their third brother Kishore also gave us company when we
travelled to Girawali Observatory and went to Talekar Wadi for the Gram Sabha.
In the afternoon Shankar Talekar would come back home to have lunch or to just take a nap while
we had our lunch in the Vijayalakshmi Hotel.
In the evening he would sit at the retail shop near his house and chat with the shopkeeper about
their everyday affairs. At times he would go and socialize with other people in the locality and
discuss local and national happenings. And at other times they come to his house. The power cuts
hindered their TV timings and most of them had petromax and lanterns at their place.
The ladies of the house are usually in their own world. Their socialization is limited and it is
mostly with other women of the family. The day ends with some time spend in front of the TV.
The family talks during meal times and in the early evenings.
They had stocked a number of blankets which came in very handy for us. The furnitures and
doors all had the name of the owner and date of purchase written on it. The electric meter
looked like one from long past era. There were liquidators and Mosquito coils to ward off the
huge number of mosquitoes.
When we left Shankar went with us to the bus stop. Even though language was a little barrier, but
we with our broken Marathi and he with his broken Hindi managed to communicate quite well.
He took our numbers and noted it down in his notepad and exchanged his cell phone number for
us to inform him once we reach the city safely.
Communication Problem - An Analysis
What is the problem?
In one sentence: Lack of good quality, skilled and qualified teachers in the school and colleges.
This problem has led to higher drop outs at all levels.3 Girls continue to study for a longer period
of time due to the modern day requirement of a literate wife in the marriage market. They are
not taught with the view that they would be working someday. Boys leave school to start work,
either in the family business or farm or go to the industrial areas and work as unskilled labourers.
Very few pursue higher education seriously, even though there are a number of colleges.
Why is the problem?
Education is not considered to be of primary importance by the villagers. If you would look at the
hierarchy of values, education lies towards the bottom of their choices. The people who have
large enough farms believe that their sons should take care of it. People who have some business
would want their son taking it up after them. The poorer population would rather have an extra
earner in the family and send the boy to work in factories in nearby industrial areas as unskilled
For those who wish to pursue higher education the subjects are difficult to grasp and requires
quality teachers, who are absent. Also the subjects being taught in the college seems very
irrelevant to learn as they have little practical use.
The teachers are also old people who have been teaching for the past 20 years and have almost
no enthusiasm to improve. The salary is also not inspiring for them to try harder.
Exhibit on education data
How many in the village have been affected by the problem?
All the children, who never complete their studies and continue doing family business or get
married after completing matriculation or at the most graduate. This would be about 800 – 1000
people and the future generations to come.
What is the attitude of the rest of the population about the problem?
They feel it is not important for the boys to complete the studies, as long as they have some basic
education, they can take over family businesses instead of wasting time in graduating. If the
student is really interested in studies, they can continue. Higher education provides a job in the
city which takes the child away from the village, and there is a sense of regret in letting the child
go away and not have them by their side when they are in their old age.
But there are a few people who are working like the advocates and the doctors and a few
retailers who want their children to have good education and keep opportunities open for them.
Some farmers also considered it important to have their children educated in some professional
course like Engineering and Medical. The system can be made stronger if the primary and
secondary level schools also have good quality teachers.
How do the affected population presently tackle the problem?
Currently the school is trying hard to recruit good teachers, which is very difficult with the low
pays they are given. While the students who really want to complete their higher education move
to other places like Manchar or Pune. Here quality of education is better and there is more
Which are media in use for feeding information in the concerned area?
There is right now no media vehicle to tackle this problem.
Awareness about the problem
The population is partly aware of the problem but it is in the stage where they do not
acknowledge it as a grave problem.
Awareness about solution of problem
The villagers are completely unaware about the solution to the problem.
What is the credibility of different media used to inform about the problem and its
Newspapers are highly credible media source. Also word of mouth works very strongly in the
village as everybody knows everybody and it is easier to trust what one’s own villager says than
what an outsider says. Print and TV has good penetration and Print is preferred over TV in terms
How would the new communication strategy help them?
It will empower them and help them come at par with their urban peers and make them more
competitive and employable in this highly competitive and technology savvy world.
How much Financial / infra-structural supports would be required to convert the
information into action?
Infrastructure is available in the village in terms of Zila Parishad Schools and college buildings. But
financial support would be required to motivate the teachers. Also there would be a need to
develop innovative ways of teaching the students. Hence there would be finance involved in
creating the content. There are international and national organisations which donate books,
uniforms and tuition assistance for kids like CRY, Akanksha and Deoki Nandan Education Trust
(DNET) amongst many more. World Vision which has worked on health and hygiene can also be
roped in to work on this.
From our analysis, we conclude that the education system of Ghodegaon ails not in physical
infrastructure as much as in poor human resources. The threshold quality levels of the teachers in
schools are low and as a result, the children’s fundamentals viz. primary education is weak. These
weak fundamentals impede the learning and growth of the individuals in secondary education
and more so in the competitive higher education spheres of under-graduation and post-
graduation. Thus it is imperative to enhance the quality of schooling by having better teachers at
the primary and secondary education levels.
Ghodegaon does have colleges which churn out a few hundred graduate youths every year. In the
absence of adequate job opportunities, these youth go to Pune or Mumbai to earn their
livelihood. We propose to employ some of these bright young minds passing out of colleges to
teach at the school-level. These graduates are to be adequately trained before they can be
assimilated in the schools of Ghodegaon and nearby villages. This way Ghodegaon’s people can
honourably work in their hometown for their community’s betterment. The biggest impediment
in this approach is to change the mindset of the villagers where they currently view education as
an ancillary requirement in life – for girls it is to improve their marriage prospects and for boys it
is merely a formality. Hence we have to start off with a campaign that will enlighten the villagers
with the necessity of quality education and the infinite opportunities thereof. Not that the
villagers are currently averse to education. We need to reposition education as a fundamental
necessity of life and make quality an indispensible part of it. This can be done by highlighting the
success stories of people of Ghodegaon who went to Mumbai and Pune pursuing quality
education and were now doing well professionally.
Financial assistance can be expected from some of the corporates who pursue rural education as
their corporate social responsibility. IDEA Cellular, whose current positioning is one of an enabler
of distant education and also has a sizeable subscriber base in and around Ghodegaon may be
interested. ITC, having empowered many farmers across the country, can provide their IT
expertise in this endeavour. Times of India’s Teach India is an initiative which is doing well at the
city-level and can be employed at the village level too. In the pre-school sector, KidZEE can be
roped in. Thus we see that branding opportunities exist from many corporates who will gain great
mileage through PR of these activities, empowering and enabling the village of Ghodegaon in the
Education scheme rarely functions in a satisfactory way especially in India. Problems can be
manifold and often have a human dimension to it. The problems are too complex and have many
layers and can’t be solved by a simple single solution. As various factors are involved with
different interests and insights, 'hard' idealistic criteria cannot be used. The conviction grows
that, to resolve these complex problems, the design of education schemes should take place as a
kind of ‘learning process’ which involves all relevant factors. For such a common learning process
to take place, mutual trust and communication between the different factors is essential.
Communication between pro-education activists and farmers, however, is often very
problematic. To find ways of enhancing a ‘learning process’, we have tried to find answers to the
What is the difference between our perception of education and that of the villagers?
To what extent can educationists and villagers learn from each other through exchange of
How can the exchange of knowledge be optimized and communicated in a way that can
bring about change?
What mediums should be used to get the communication across to them and make it
relevant for them?
After analysing and answering these questions amongst ourselves and with a few people who
have come from the same village we have formulated the following implementation plan, which
involves the people of the village for themselves.
We plan to start an innovative teaching module for graduates who are resident of Ghodegaon.
They would be given training to teach students of primary and secondary schools at no extra cost.
The teaching would primarily be in English as that is an area which is lagging the most as of now.
Involving the youth brings in more enthusiasm in the teaching process and keeping it free of cost
makes it affordable for all who are interested in having an alternate career opportunity by staying
at home. The module will have a small entrance test to gauge the intelligence and aptitude of the
student in becoming a teacher. This would in turn make it more focussed and make the selected
students feel it is a course they have earned for themselves rather than take it as just another
For content creation we could look at NGOs like Teach India initiatives or Kidzee to provide us
with their training models. We could also see if that is a possibility with World Vision which right
now is recognized for its good work in the village.
Partnership with NGOs or Corporates
The training module would require funds and a dedicated teaching staff. We would require funds
for the program. So the need to involve private players is important. Government and the
Panchayat have funds allocated for this but it gets lost before reaching the desired TG. The good
part about Ghodegaon is that its infrastructure in terms of school buildings is available. So there
would not be a requirement for creating these basic infrastructures. Also, as the Swachhata
Abhiyan was conducted and supported by the NGO and the villagers, the people have show an
inclination in accepting change if they can be convinced it is good for them.
IDEA Cellular and ITC Group are 2 corporates who might be interested in taking up this project
and make Ghodegaon a model village for other villages to follow.
Taking the Panchayat into Confidence
The Panchayat has it’s headquarter in Ghodegaon. Thus, any activity in the village would require
their permission as well as cooperation. We could convince them by making them understand the
short term and long term benefits of the program. In the short term, their village would get the
limelight of becoming more advanced than the other villages, which in turn would create goodwill
for them and their party. In the long term, the more skilled and better intellectual people would
be an asset to the country. The model village Ghodegaon, created under the aegis of the present
Panchayat would prove beneficial for them.
We could probably use the opinion leaders like the advocate and the principal of the schools to
talk about it with them.
Promotion and Communication
The mediums to be used for our communication would be various.
Print could be used in creating pre-launch promotion where articles are given by informing
people about the program and how it will help them in editorial space. Activations at schools,
colleges and Gram Sabha would reach the people at important social and secular touch points,
making it more relevant to the people. We also plan to get people from the city who were born
and brought up here and made it big in their profession after a lot of struggle to talk to the
villagers and make them feel the importance. This would also make the people coming to their
villages feel that they have been able to give back something to their village and make their
parents and family living in the village proud. Thus, we would be able to touch an emotional
chord with the villagers. Word of Mouth buzz can be generated by the opinion leaders and the
panchayat members. It would also help in reaching the women in the village better. News in
Alpha Marathi, Zee Marathi and/ or ETV Marathi can show the launch of the scheme and could
also report how it would benefit the villagers. It is an extraordinary experience for anyone if their
village or town is the focus of good discussion on television. This could channelize their energy in
making the scheme successful.
Long Term Proposition
The flip side of the program is that results won’t show early. Thus it requires long term
sustainability. The program is a trickle down process. As the youth starts teaching the school
students, the general pool of intelligence increases and as these students get into college they
need to have a good teaching faculty as well as relevant courses. If the students perform well at
the school level then this program can be extended to the college level and modules could be
created especially for teaching in colleges. The schools need constant funds to pay the teachers
enough to make them stay in the village and have a comfortable life. Hence the salary of a
teacher needs to be revised to incentivise the youth to take up the profession in the village rather
than travel to cities and do daily wage work. The teachers created from this module can then go
to nearby villages and teach at different Zila Parishad schools in and around Ghodegaon, thus
improving the level of education in the Taluka.