The Union Budget of 2018-19 proposed to treat school education holistically without segmenting pre-nursery to class 12. It was, post this announcement that the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education launched the integrated scheme for school education, Samagra Shiksha (National Educational Mission) in 2018. Samagra Shiksha is an overarching programme for the school education sector that extends from pre-school to class 12.
It comprises of four schemes namely, Saakshar Bharat, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education (CSSTE). It envisages ‘school’ as continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels accordance with SDG Goal for Education (SDG-4).
The scheme not only aims at providing support for the implementation of the RTE Act but has also been aligned with the recommendations of NEP 2020 to ensure that all children have access to quality education and equitable learning outcomes. The scheme would also help harmonize the implementation mechanisms and transaction costs at all levels.
Objectives of Samagra Shiksha Scheme
(i) Support States and UTs in implementing the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020).
(ii) Support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009;
(iii) Focus on Early Childhood Care and Education
(iv) Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy
(v) Thrust on Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive and activity-based Curriculum and Pedagogy to impart 21st century skills among the students.
(vi) Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students;
(vii) Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education;
(viii) Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education;
(ix) Strengthening and up-gradation of State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)/State Institutes of Education and District Institutes for Education and Training (DIET) as a nodal agency for teacher training.
(x) Ensuring safe, secure and conducive learning environment and minimum standards in schooling provisions;
(xi) Promoting vocationalization of education
The scheme was implemented as a centrally sponsored scheme by the department through a single state implementation society (SIS) at the state/UT level. At the National level, there is a governing council headed by Minister of Human Resource Development and a Project Approval Board (PAB) headed by Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy.
The Governing Council is responsible for modifying financial and programmatic norms and approve the detailed guidelines for implementation of any initiative within the overall framework of the Scheme.
Further, the department is assisted by a Technical Support Group (TSG) at Educational Consultants of India Limited (EdCIL) to provide technical support in functional areas pertaining to access, equity and quality education by merging TSGs of the Schemes of SSA, RMSA and TE.
The fund sharing pattern for the scheme between Centre and States is at present in the ratio of 90:10 for the 8 North-Eastern States viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura and 3 Himalayan States viz. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and 60:40 for all other States and Union Territories with Legislature.
It is 100% centrally sponsored for Union Territories without Legislature. This is in accordance with the recommendations of the Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Rationalization of Centrally Sponsored Schemes received in October, 2015.
The scheme covers around 36 states and UTs and all districts. There are 11.68 lakh schools that come under the ambit of samagra shiksha scheme and around 15.62 crores of student are enrolled. School children of 16 to 19 years of age, belonging to SEDG categories are given provision to complete their secondary/senior secondary levels through NIOS/SOS.
Andhra Pradesh students show best performance in Science and Mathematics. In language English & MIL, Mizoram and Delhi students have shown best performance.
While Uttar Pradesh has achieved higher number of building Upper Primary School target, Madhya Pradesh and some other states have done better job at construction of Upper Primary Schools
Maharashtra has the highest number of Children with Special Needs(CWSN) covered under Samagra Siksha Abhiyaan. The number of CWSN recognized under SSA in Maharashtra is almost double the number in Uttar Pradesh. Considering the number of reported disabled in Uttar Pradesh is 3.6 million compared to Maharashtra, government may accordingly prioritize.
The sanctioned and completed targets of states for improving the school infrastructure is presented in the below visual. Madhya Pradesh has better sanctioned and completed numbers, when compared to other states. Other than Rajasthan, no state comes close to Madhya Pradesh when it comes to building school infrastructure for elementary schools.
There has been facilitation of transport allowance extended from elementary to secondary level along with strengthening of infrastructure and addition of new subjects instead of stream in existing senior secondary schools.
Free textbooks to all children at elementary level (including braille and large print books for children with visual impairment) and free uniforms to all girls, SC, ST and BPL boys at elementary level were provided. In order to improve quality of education, DIKSHA with quality digital content to address the challenges of multi lingual and diverse classrooms is provided. There is set up of assessment cell at SCERTs to conduct various achievement surveys, develop test materials and item banks, etc, for every competency-based learning.
To support and encourage equity and girls’ education, there is provision of enhanced financial support for existing stand-alone girls’ hostels for classes IX and XII. Incinerator and sanitary pad vending machines are set up in all girls’ hostels. Moreover, stipend for WSN girls @Rupees 200.
Further, there will be greater emphasis on equity and inclusiveness for areas with significant population of Socially & Economically Disadvantaged Groups, such as SC, ST, Minorities and 4 Inclusive educations for Divyang Children. The Samagra Shiksha scheme will play an instrumental role in translating the vision of National Education Policy 2020 at grass root level and building a strong foundation for an equitable and just society.
1. There is constant problem of students dropping out and thus despite of achievements of the scheme it is a challenge to sustain these students throughout their schooling career. Nationally 29% of students dropout before completing five years of primary schooling and 43% dropout before finishing upper primary school. The high school competition rate is only 42%. These figures sum up to reveal that india has 1.4 million out of school children in the age group of 6-11.
2. Secondly, there is vast shortage of teachers across all the levels. The primary schools need additional 689000 teachers to fulfil the RTE norms for pupil teacher ratio.
3. Despite all schools now have a designated girls’ and boys’ toilet, a closer scrutiny reveals only 53% of girls’ toilets are functional
4. The provision of the scheme and RTE have some sever criticism for poor quality of learning across all levels of schooling. As per Pratham’s ASER reports, close to 78% students in class III and 50% students of class V cannot read a class II text. Only 25% of class III students are able to solve a two-digit subtraction problem. Alarmingly, there is lack of accountability under SSA which manifests itself in poor learning outcomes and poor attendance rates of teachers.
Given the shift in the approach to development of school education from input-based to outcome based central sector interventions as envisaged, a paradigm shift‘ is expected in the approach to central sector spending on school education. The Union Budget, 2018-19, has proposed to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-school to Class 12. An overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12 has been, therefore, prepared with the broader goal of improving school effectiveness measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes.
This sector-wide development programme/scheme would also help harmonize the implementation mechanisms and transaction costs at all levels, particularly in using state, district and sub-district level systems and resources, besides envisaging one comprehensive strategic plan for development of school education at the district level. The shift in the focus is from project objectives to improving systems level performance and schooling outcomes which will be the emphasis of the combined Scheme along-with incentivizing States towards improving quality of education.
About the contributor
Nikitha Gopi is a Researcher at IMPRI and she is currently pursuing her Bachelors in O.P Jindal Global University.