Strengthening Basic Education in Rural Areas Across the Country

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Strengthening Basic Education in Rural Areas Across the Country

The Department of School Education and Literacy has launched an Integrated Scheme for School Education – Samagra Shiksha which subsumes three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE) from 1st April, 2018.

Samagra Shiksha focuses inter alia on improvement in school infrastructure and quality of education in all States and Union Territories including in rural areas, by providing support for various interventions like upgradation of schools, strengthening of infrastructure of existing schools, provision of composite school grant to every school for providing a conducive learning environment, grants for library, sports and physical activities, in-service training of teachers and school heads, conduct of achievement surveys at state and national level, support for Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan, ICT and digital initiatives, School Leadership development programme, remedial teaching for academically weaker students, support for Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat, etc.

Besides, the following are some of the steps taken to improve infrastructure and the quality of primary education:-

(i) Under erstwhile Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan till 2017-18 and Samagra Shiksha effective from 2018-19, construction of 3.12 lakh school buildings, 18.88 lakh additional classrooms, provision of 2.45  lakh drinking water facility, construction of 4.08 lakh Boys’ toilets, 5.29 lakh separate girls’ toilets and 1.49 lakh Children with Special Needs (CwSN) toilets, 2.79 lakh ramps with hand rail and internal electrification of 2.28 lakh schools have been sanctioned to States and UTs for elementary schools, out of which States and UTs have reported construction of 2.97 lakh school buildings, 18.19 lakh additional classrooms, provision of 2.34 lakh drinking water facility, construction of 3.83 lakh Boys’ toilets, 5.14 lakh separate girls’ toilets, 1.25 lakh CwSN toilets, 2.48 lakh ramps with hand rail and internal electrification of 1.96 lakh schools, till 30.06.2019.

(ii) The Central Rules to the RTE Act, 2009 have been amended on 20th February, 2017 to include reference on class-wise and subject-wise learning outcomes, which have accordingly been finalised for all subjects up to the elementary stage and shared with the states and UTs.

(iii) National Achievement Survey for classes 3, 5 & 8 based on Learning Outcomes was conducted on 13th November, 2017 to enable States & UTs to identify gaps in learning outcomes at district level and design strategies to address these gaps.

(iv) Section 23(2) of the RTE Act was amended to extend the period of training of untrained in-service elementary teachers to 31st March, 2019. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has been entrusted to conduct this training through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. The online D.El.Ed. course has been started from 3rd October, 2017, and about 9.58 lakh teachers have completed the course.

(v) Section 16 of the RTE Act, 2009 has been amended to make provision that there shall be a regular examination in the fifth class and in the eighth class at the end of every academic year. If a child fails in the examination, he shall be given additional instruction and granted opportunity for re-examination within a period of two months from the date of declaration of the result. The appropriate Government may allow schools to hold back a child in the fifth class or in the eighth class or in both classes, if he fails in the re-examination.

(c) Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the Samagra Shiksha scheme. The scheme reaches out to girls and children belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), minority communities and transgender. The scheme also gives attention to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration and children living in remote and scattered habitations. Under the scheme, provision has been made for giving preference to Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs), LWE affected districts, and aspirational districts while planning interventions like setting up of primary schools, upper primary schools, construction of additional classrooms, toilets, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs), Residential Schools etc. 

KGBVs have reached out to girls from marginalised social groups and emerged as the key intervention for promoting girls’ access and retention in elementary to secondary and senior secondary education, particularly of those from marginalised communities in the Educationally Backward Blocks.  A total of 4881 KGBVs are operational with enrolment of 617680 girls. Out of the 617680 girls enrolment, 171800 are SC (27.81%), 157740 are ST (25.54%), 219862 are OBC (35.59%), 26422 are Muslims (4.28%) and 41856 are in BPL category (6.78%).

This information was given by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.