SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN - A PROGRAMME FOR UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

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CENTRAL INTERVENTIONS

        There have been several innovative schemes in the sector of elementary education following the National Policy on Education in 1986 such as Operation Blackboard, Teacher Education, Non Formal Education, Mahila Samakhya, National Programme for Nutritional Support for Primary Education, State Specific Education Projects in Bihar, Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh and DPEP in 248 districts of 18 States.   It is proposed to integrate these in the fold of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the following manner:

         i.            Operation Blackboard:  

Operation Blackboard aimed to improve physical infrastructure of education whereby school space was expanded and more teachers provided.  However, Operation Blackboard could not cover the entire spectrum of schools.  The SSA will qualitatively improve and expand the existing structure. No fresh teacher recruitment will take place under OBB once SSA programme is operationalized. Support for teachers' salaries under OBB will, however, continue as per the OBB scheme where teachers have already been appointed under that scheme, till the end of the IX Plan. Efforts to access funds for classrooms from rural/urban employment schemes will continue to be made, even though earmarking is no more applicable to these funds.  

       ii.            Strengthening of Teacher Education:

The revised scheme of Teacher Education provides for a Memorandum of Understanding with the states in order to ensure that they receive priority attention of state governments, especially with regard to filling up of vacancies through a rigorous selection criteria. The scheme will be a part of the SSA framework till the end of the IX Plan, after which it will merge in the SSA programme.  This will supplement the DIETs, which provide guidance at district level. The revised Teacher Education provides for strengthening of SCERTs. Support for SCERT will continue under the Teacher Education Scheme.

      iii.            National Programme of Nutritional Support for Primary Education:  


Evaluation of the National Programme of Nutritional Support for Primary Education indicate that the supply of food grains leads to improvement in student attendance while raising their nutritional standard.  It is proposed to continue the scheme with suitable modifications, in consultation with States.  

      iv.            Mahila Samakhya:  


Evaluation studies on the Mahila Samakhya approach indicate the progress made in empowerment of women.  This in turn generates demand for elementary education of girls.  There is a need to further strengthen these linkages with basic education of girls by giving women's groups a more active role in the management of the school. Though the scheme of Mahila Samakhya will retain its distinct identity at the State and the district level, it will provide support for the planning and implementation of SSA in districts implementing Mahila Samakhya.

        v.            Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education:  


Studies on the Non-Formal Education scheme have pointed out the lack of flexibility which impedes effective implementation across different States. Efforts to provide for a diversity of interventions have been made in the revised scheme that has been approved recently such as setting up of Education Guarantee Schools, Alternative Schooling facilities, Balika Shikshan Shivir, 'Back to School' camps, etc. The restructured NFE scheme called EGS and AIE will be a component of the SSA and be absorbed in it by the end of the IX Plan. SSA programme will provide planning and management support to operationalize the EGS and AIE scheme.  

      vi.            District Primary Education Programme (DPEP):  


 DPEP districts indicate that decentralized planning and implementation facilitates community involvement in the process of school management. DPEP has met with varied of degree of success in different States.  Some have availed of DPEP benefits and have improved their elementary education sector.   A large number of teacher vacancies have been filled up in many DPEP states. Setting up of Block and Cluster Resource Centres has facilitated academic interaction among teachers. Development of new textbooks with the participation of teachers and experts has been encouraging in most DPEP states. All DPEP districts would also be part of the SSA framework. Efforts to prepare comprehensive District Elementary Education Plans will be made in DPEP districts. The focus will be on vertical expansion into Upper Primary Education and on consolidation of the primary schooling efforts.

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