Educationally backward Districts
Educationally Backward District (EBDs), in contrast to Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs), is identified by University Grants Commission (UGC) for the purpose of planning and allocation of funds for higher education, on the basis of gross enrolment ratio being less than the national average.
Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is a gross measure that includes all enrolled in higher education proportionate to population in the 18-23 years age group.
The following formula defines Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher education =
All enrolled in post higher secondary classes x 100
Total population in 18-23 age group
Accordingly, 374 districts in India have been identified as Educationally Backward Districts while there are around 3479 educationally backward blocks as identified by Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Since 2007, UGC started identifying educationally backward districts based on the criterion of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) being less than the National Average. Before that, UGC had adopted overall literacy rates as the single indicator for disbursement of funds under the educationally backward areas scheme during the Xth plan. Districts that had overall literacy rates below the national average (i.e. 65.4 per cent) were identified as educationally backward. Accordingly, the number of such districts, as per the Census 2001, was 294 for the country as a whole. This criteria was abandoned in favour of gross enrolment ratio as the single indicator of literacy did not capture the complexities of educational backwardness in general and higher education in particular. It was noted that in a developing country such as India there is high rate of illiteracy, low enrolment rates and high drop out rate at the higher secondary school level.
For more details, see UGCs report