SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN IN UTTARAKHAND
In a federal setup like India, strategy for realizing development has to be formulated and implemented at State level within the contours of National framework. Uttarakhand accounts for 1.69 per cent of area of the country as a whole. A brief review of growth trajectory over the past few decades reveals that impressive growth achievements have been made, however indelible scars of poverty, low income of the family, poor educational status of the parents, Geographical conditions like frequent landslides, soil erosion, scattered habitations, force the Government like Alice in the Wonderland to run to keep not accelerated much progress . As such, attaining the MDG becomes all the more difficult if not impossible.
Strategy to achieve MDG must be formulated in the backdrop of population. Uttarakhand’s population has been projected to increase from the 2001 level of 8.48 million to 9.49 million by March 2008, an increase by roughly 10.64 per cent. With a formidable backlog of high incidence of poverty, low literacy achievement level in schools, high infant mortality, gender discrimination, child labour, out of school children and endangered environment coupled with almost 90 per cent of States’ budgetary resources committed towards salary payments makes it an uphill task for the Government to with, hold sliding down of the economy. Under the given circumstances, a whole new approach will be required to realize the MDGs.
A policy mix for development requires that not only supply of services like schooling, medical and health facilities, social infrastructure and basic services will have to be substantially increased but also demand side forces will have to be generated. Effective use of available has to be ensured so as to achieve economies of use in the social sector services. Innovative measures of resources mobilization and effective deployment of public resources will be necessary to pave the way towards achieving the MDGs. Keeping in view. Millennium Development Goals as well as SSA goals Uttarakhand state has formulated goals to achieve universalization of elementary education. The State of Uttarakhand emphasizes the need for providing 100% access and enrolment at both primary and upper primary levels for which educational programmes focusing urban deprived children and urban Out of School Children, rationalization of teachers to single teacher schools, developing civil works and interventions for improving quality of education. An attempt has been made in the paper to review the past growth, present bottlenecks in development and a strategy of policy mix is suggested.
Uttarakhand is comprised of 13 districts, which include 95 development blocks, 1001 clusters and 7227 Village Education Committees (VECs). There are 21 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBB) in the State as per 2001 census. The School Development Management Committees (SDMCs) have been reconstituted under the chairmanship of Headmaster of the school and a teacher as member secretary. Members of Panchayat Samiti representatives, SC and ST Representatives and female members of the village are represented on the SDMCs.
Uttarakhand is implementing both Centrally Sponsored Scheme and State Sector Schemes to impart basic education in the State. Three major Centrally Sponsored Schemes, SSA, Mid Day Meal Scheme and National Literacy Mission Programme are being proposed to continue in the state. Besides, an externally aid project of District Primary Education Programme (DPEP)- III has come to an end in March, 2006. Programmes running under DPEP, like BRC, CRC ECCE centers and teacher training will be continued in Non- Plan as State liability. Centrally Sponsored Schemes :-
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA):
The Government of Uttarakhand has been striving for expansion and access of educational facilities to entire area of the state through SSA since the formation of new State. The schemes of UEE and efforts made under SSA Programme have further improved the position of the State. Obviously, mass community mobilization for implementation and execution of various components of SSA in terms of opening of Primary Schools, alternative schooling facilities, construction of school buildings, appointment of additional teachers, enrolment, retention divers teachers training distribution of text books, up gradation of teaching learning equipments and community participation has resulted in significant progress of literacy levels in the State. Due to the success of SSA, an unprecedented demand has created in the state. There were 27.42 percentage point dropout cases at primary level as on 30th September, 2005. Due to special efforts made by the State Government, these children were brought to the fold of primary education; further efforts are on to cover the remaining children in the near future. In addition, there are 35230 children enrolled in 1279 EGS Centres spread all over the state as on March, 2008. There are about 15896 children reported to be Out of School as per the HHS. The State has registered significant improvement in transition rates in the primary stage. i.e., from Primary to Upper Primary is 99.15% in 2006-07. But, as per flash statistics the transition rate from primary to upper primary in 2006-07 is 81.08%. The efforts of the State Government towards enrolling children appear to be encouraging, keeping in view the large geographical area and socio-cultural and economic context. Out of 25,029 habitations in the state, 22682 (90.62%) habitations are covered by primary schools and 1433 habitations (6%) by EGS centers. However, there are 913 or 4% habitations without access of any kind at primary level which is mainly due to lack of permanent strategy to cover these habitations which are not eligible for regular school or for EGS center. Various efforts are being made to bring un-enrolled girls in the age group from 6-14 years in remedial teaching, vocational skill development, strengthen Meena Manch and mainstreaming them. These efforts are really commendable. Still serious and concerted efforts are needed to bring the hardest to reach children into the fold of education for which proper training of personnel and their motivation is desired besides involvement of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). The major constraint in serving the un served habitations seems to be the geographical diversities coupled with social taboos and non-availability of teachers/para teachers for such areas. The migratory population and child labourers are also the constraints in the way of universalization of elementary education. The State Government has to take newer initiatives in community participation, removal of social barriers and eradication of child labour practices by involving NGOs and social activists. The support of existing teachers at the grassroots level and CRC and BRC in this direction may also prove to be helpful.
Uttarakhand has undertaken several initiatives to promote education of girls. Significant ones are listed below:
- Girls, toilets are built on a priority basis.
- Special coaching classes/remedial classes are run in schools for girls with support from SDMCs. Remedial teaching is provided to weak students as well as volunteers engaged for the purpose.
- For out of schoolgirls especially Bridge Courses are being organized.
- SDMCs in every school decide final incentives to be given to girls which include free textbooks, workbooks, uniform, stationary and other items as per local needs.
- All 25 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhyalayas (KGBVs ), are functional in the State with 1105 girls are enrolled. Amongst these enrollment of girls, 519 are SC girls, 60 ST girls, 190 OBC girls, 267 BPL girls, 69 Muslim Girls, 18 CWSN girls.
The National Programme of Education for Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL) is operational in all 13 districts in 40 blocks with 412 clusters. 4117 primary schools and 942 upper primary schools are attached with these 412 model cluster schools. To monitor the programme State, district and block level committees have been formed. Mahila Samakhya Programme is currently operational in four districts of the State namely Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkasi, Pauri and Nainital.
Keeping in view the socio-cultural milieu of the State, there is need for taking steps to enhance gender sensitization within the education system and also the community at large. Greater community participation and stronger school community linkages would be helpful. Possibility of opening of upper primary schools exclusively for girls may also be examined. Teachers may be trained in adopting classroom processes favourable to girls.
Out of total child population in the age group 6-11 years, the ST and SC population constitute 3.88 % and 25.43 % respectively. The enrolment rate of ST and SC children has been reported to be 99.61 % and 99.43 % respectively. Although access of SC and ST children may not be a challenge, but their retention and learning are certainly the challenges, the State needs to address these issues.
It is yet to be seen how well the ST and SC children do in primary education. All SC and ST children are provided with free textbooks. The quality aspects would need to be taken care of now. Enhancing Learning Achievement and Quality in Elementary Education.
Quality of elementary education generally refers to the product or outcome dimension, which depends on the nature of inputs and processes undertaken. Infrastructure support and availability of teachers and teaching-learning material (TLM) and its use, teacher training, pedagogical practices in classrooms to involve children and pupil evaluation practices contribute towards learning achievement of children – an important indicator of quality at the elementary stage.
The State Government has performed reasonably well in terms of creating and improving adequate infrastructure facilities. Community support and convergence with relief work in infrastructure development is noteworthy. Preference has been given to the following provisions in schools
- School Building with the concept of pedagogy
- Drinking water
- Play Elements
- Child Friendly Class Room
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan
The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan is a flagship scheme of Government of India, launched in March, 2009, to enhance access to secondary education and improve its quality. The implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10 to generate human capital and provide sufficient conditions for accelerating growth and development and equity as also quality of life for everyone in India. Largely built upon the successes of SSA and, like SSA, RMSA leverages support from a wide range of stakeholders including multilateral organisations, NGOs, advisors and consultants, research agencies and institutions. The scheme involves multidimensional research, technical consulting, implementation and funding support. Currently in its fourth year of implementation, RMSA covers 50,000 government and local body secondary schools. Besides this, an additional of 30,000 aided secondary schools can also access the benefits of RMSA; but not infrastructure and support in core areas.
The vision for secondary education is to make good quality education available, accessible and affordable to all young person in the age group of 14-18 years. With this vision the RMSA has following objectives:-
- To ensure that all secondary schools have physical facilities, staffs and supplies at least according to the prescribed standards through financial support in case of Government/ Local Body and Government aided schools, and appropriate regulatory mechanism in the case of other schools.
- To improve access to secondary schooling to all young persons according to norms – through proximate location (say, Secondary Schools within 5 kms, and Higher Secondary Schools within 7-10 kms)/efficient and safe transport arrangements/residential facilities, depending on local circumstances including open schooling. However in hilly and difficult areas, these norms can be relaxed. Preferably residential schools may be set up in such areas.
- To ensure that no child is deprived of secondary education of satisfactory quality due to gender, socio-economic, disability and other barriers.
- To improve quality of secondary education resulting in enhanced intellectual, social and cultural learning.
- To ensure that all students pursuing secondary education receive education of good quality.
- Achievement of the above objectives would also, inter-alia, signify substantial progress in the direction of the Common School System.
Implementation Mechanism of Scheme:
MHRD is the nodal central government ministry to coordinate RMSA with the help of RMSA State Implementation Societies (SIS) in each state. However, there are a lot of support arrangements and institutions available for better implementation of RMSA. A National Resource Group (NRG) provides guidance for bringing about reforms in teaching learning processes, curriculum, teaching learning material, ICT education and mechanisms of monitoring and evaluation. The Technical Support Group (TSG) supported by MHRD, is a constituent of the NRG and has a direct reporting relationship with the ministry. TSG provides technical and operational support and expertise to national and state level teams.
Besides this, various sub-committees like Curriculum Reform Subcommittee, Teacher and Teacher Development Subcommittee, ICT Subcommittee and Planning and Management Subcommittee have been constituted under NRG. These subcommittees comprise members from the TSG and meet thrice a year to apprise themselves of the progress made on mutually set goals and commitments. In addition, NCERT and NUEPA support through dedicated RMSA units. RMSA-TCA has also been set-up for capacity building support with the assistance of DFID. In terms of financial inputs, the central share is released to the implementing agencies directly, whereas the applicable state share is also released to the agencies by the respective State Governments.
- Appointment of additional teachers to reduce PTR to 30:1
- Focus on Science, Math and English education
- In-service training of teachers
- Science laboratories
- ICT enabled education
- Curriculum reforms; and
- Teaching learning reforms.
Areas of concern:-
- Slow progress in civil works. Overall civil works implementation is 43.51%.
- Huge backlog in recruitment and appointment of approved teachers under RMSA.
- Under ICT, Scheme is yet to be implemented in 500 Schools.
- Under Girls’s Hostel, construction work is yet to start in 04 Hostels.
- The Dropout rate at State level has increased from 12.83% (2013-14) to 13.54% (2014-15). The Retention rate has decreased to 86.46% in the year 2014-15, from 87.2% in 2013-14. The Transition rate has also decreased to 94.90% in the year 2014-15, from 96.63% in 2013-14. The Pass Percentage has decreased to 74.35% in the year 2013-14 from 76.99% in 2012-13. District Haridwar, needs special attention for low GER, 79.69%, low NER 37.2%, low Retention rate 71.59% and high Dropout rate 28.40%. State has accepted the facts and assured to correct the UDISE data.
- There are about 39% overage and underage children in the secondary system is an area of concern. 41 Govt. and 2 Govt. Aided schools have zero enrolment.