The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has been designated as the vehicle for implementing the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
Since the inception of SSA in 2000-01 till 31.03.2017, 3.64 lakh new elementary schools, construction of 3.11 lakh school buildings and 18.73 lakh additional classrooms, 2.42 lakh drinking water facilities, 10.36 lakh school toilets and 19.46 lakh teacher posts have been sanctioned to States and UTs.
Out of this, 3.59 lakh elementary schools have been opened, 2.93 lakh school buildings and 17.76 lakh additional classrooms have been constructed, 2.32 lakh drinking water facilities have been provided, 9.83 lakh school toilets have been constructed and 15.75 lakh teachers have been recruited as on 31st March, 2017.
The implementation of SSA is reviewed twice every year by a Joint Review Mission comprising independent experts and external funding agencies covering States. The Ministry of Human Resource Development convenes periodic meetings with State Education Ministers and Secretaries to review the programme implementation.
Educational data on outcomes is collected through a Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) every year. National Achievement Surveys (NAS) are conducted to check the health of the educational system and to provide information about the learning achievement of students.
The RTE Act, 2009 in its Schedule lays down pupil teacher ration (PTR) for both primary and upper primary schools. At primary level, the PTR should be 30:1 and at the upper primary level, it should be 35:1. As per UDISE 2015-16, the PTR at national level for elementary schools is 25:1.
The recruitment, service conditions and deployment of teachers are primarily in the domain of the State Governments and UT Administrations. The Central Government has been consistently pursuing the matter of expeditious recruitment and redeployment of teachers with the States and UTs at various fora. Advisories on this issue have also been issued to States and UTs from time to time.
As per an independent survey commissioned in 2014 by Ministry of Human Resource Development, 60.64 lakh children were estimated to be out of school in the age group of 6 to 13.
Universal enrolment is the first goal of SSA, and hence all efforts are being made to bring all children in schools. SSA has provided 2.06 lakh primary and 1.61 lakh upper primary schools for ensuring universal provisioning of schooling facilities. Preference for opening of school is given to tribal areas, and areas with high concentration of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and minority population.
In addition, 3729 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, which are residential schools for girls at upper primary level, have also been sanctioned to the States for improving access to marginalised girls particularly out of school, either drop out or never enrolled.
Under SSA, provisions have also been made for residential schools/hostels and transportation/escort facility for children living in sparsely populated areas, children living in areas where schools cannot be opened due to unavailability of land and children in need of care and protection. Special training is also provided to all such children who are school dropouts and long absentees and they are enrolled in “back to school” camps.
Additionally, other strategies adopted under SSA such as strengthening school infrastructure, improving pupil-teacher ratios, providing incentives like free textbooks, uniforms for eligible category of children and mid-day meal in schools have proved to be useful in increasing the enrolment of children in elementary schools.