Education For All: Trend And Out Reach at Tamilnadu in India

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Education for All: Trend and out reach at Tamilnadu in India

The world convention on to Meet fundamental Learning requirements was adopted by the World Conference on Education for All at Jomtien, Thailand, in March 1990. The meeting design comprehensive review of policies concerning basic education. The Education for All (EFA) 2000 appraisal is a major global attempt that aims to enable the participating countries to

(i) Construct a comprehensive picture of their progress towards their own Education for All goals since the 1990 Jomtien Conference,

(ii) Identify priorities and promising strategies for overcoming obstacles and accelerating progress, and

(iii) Revise national plans of action accordingly.

EFA indicators which are grouped according to the following six ‘Intention Magnitude’:-

1. Expansion of early childhood care and development;

2. Universal access to and completion of primary education;

3. Improvement in learning achievement;

4. Reduction of adult illiteracy rate;

5. Expansion of provision of basic education and training in essential skills required by

Youth and adults; and

6. Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values

organized for better living.

For this purpose a National Assessment Group was constituted in the Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development consisting of senior officials of the Department concerned with EFA and representatives of specialized national institutions, like NCERT, NIEPA and NCTE. During its deliberations, the Group felt that the Indian exercise should be carried out in a larger perspective which takes into account the following important developments:

 The wide range of programmes initiated for achieving Universalisation of Elementary Education after formulation of National Policy of Education, 1986;

 The massive effort made in the form of literacy campaigns to reach education to the masses; and

 Enormous amount of activities in the field of primary education witnessed in the country on an unprecedented scale in the 1990s through projects and programmes specifically focused on EFA.

The EFA 2000 exercise is, therefore, seen not merely as a stock taking exercise but also as an effort to review and fine-tune strategies and programmes of basic education.

It is with this dual perspective in view that it has been planned

(1) to make the exercise quite comprehensive covering every dimension of basic education;

(2) to get the various component areas reviewed by independent experts from across the country; and

(3) to evolve a plan of action for the next phase, probably the final phase, of the national effort to reach the goal of EFA.

India’s EFA Assessment 2000 Country Report draws upon the following three documents:

i. Report of progress made with respect to the 18 EFA Indicators as identified in the General and Technical Guidelines given by the EFA Forum Secretariat;

ii. The State of the Art Review (Synthesis) on Learning Achievements; and

iii. The State of the Art Review on Learning Conditions.

The Department of Education in the Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken the initiative to commission twenty-four sub-sectoral studies on various aspects of EFA in India which seek to capture the varied experiences that have emerged from the projects, programmes and schemes undertaken during the last decade. The findings of these studies are proposed to be disseminated widely in India and abroad with a view to enrich the EFA 2000 Assessment exercise and provide useful inputs for policy makers, planners and administrators who are working towards achieving the goals of EFA.

Education for All – frame work

The goal of EFA in India are to be viewed in relation to the stage of education development that obtained on 1990 ¾ the year of world declaration on EFA. By then, fairly large expansion of in all parts of the country. Other sectors of education like adult education Non – formal education had also developed fairly well. Therefore, the main challenges in education in 1990s related to EFA have been the following: Access to basic education for the unreached segments and uncovered habitations

Qualitative improvement in content and processes of education; to make them more responsive to learning needs of individuals-children, youth and adults, families, community and development in different sectors of social and economic life. Consolidation and newer orientation wherever required in different areas of education through innovative programmes and changed role of educational personnel. Community participation in education; making education a people’s movement. Evolving effective and efficient management structures in education.

All goals and targets of EFA to be fulfilled in 1990’s have to be assessed in terms of the nature of the programmes, the degree to which they have led to achievement of the goals of EFA, and the promise they hold for making the processes and supportive structure sustainable. Thus, when EFA programmes were implemented in 1990’s,a new framework for development of basic education in the country was emerging which had the following broad features.

Holistic Approach

The holistic approach adopted for planning and implementation of EFA programmes is characterized by:

– A holistic view of basic education with grater linkages and integration between pre – school, primary education, non – formal education and adult education;

– Relating programmes of education with national concerns such as nutrition and health care, environment, small family norm and life skills education.

– Collaboration of different departments and sectors of development with primary education.

Education Grantee Scheme

The EGS centers in Tamil Nadu deserves special mention as an important new initiative in the 1990s.the remarkable success of EGS drawn the attention of planners and policy maker. The EGS centers covered 6-11 age groups who did not battened school. The key factors on which EGS hinges are community demand and government guarantee. By projecting community demand as a start-up point, EGS addresses the issue of enrollment and retention. The EGS is seen as successful mode of reaching the unreached or ‘Hard to reach’.

Education Grantee Scheme in Tamil Nadu (2004-2005)


Administration arrangement: The coordinator have appointed.

Capacity building All the staff/ teachers have completed the strategy planning work shop.

Equivalence strategy The special effort is being taken to enroll the school drop out children.

Duration The short duration of the programme is 60-75 days.

School hours Two to three hours

Number of children per class 25 – 40 is high and low is 10-20

Teacher qualifications, Training and honorarium As per the government norm

Academic support and supervision The separate supervisors for every eight to ten schools

Teaching – Learning Materials The material prepared separately

Collaboration with NGOs Many EGS centers running by NGOs


In accordance with the constitutional commitment to ensure free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years, provision of universal elementary education has been a salient feature of national policy since independence. This resolve has been spelt out emphatically in the National Policy since independence (NPE), 1986 and the Programme of Action (POA) 1992. A number of schemes and programmes were launched in pursuance of the emphasis embodied in the NPE and the POA. These included the scheme of Operation Blackboard (OB); Non Formal Education (NFE); Teacher Education (TE); Mahila Samakhya (MS); State specific Basic Education Projects like the Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP); Bihar Education Project (BEP), Lok Jumbish (LJP) in Rajasthan; National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (MDM); District Primary Education Programme (DPEP).

Why Elementary Education

Social justice and equity are by themselves a strong argument for providing basic education for all. It is an established fact that basic education improves the level of human well – being especially with regard to life expectancy, infant mortality, nutritional status of children, etc. Studies have shown that universal basic education significantly contributes to economic growth.

Constitutional, Legal and National Statements for UEE

The Constitutional, legal, and national policies and statements have time and again upheld the cause of universal elementary education.

Constitutional mandate 1950 – “The state shall Endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of 14 years.”

National Policy of Education 1986 – “It shall be ensured that free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality is provided to all children up to 14 years of age before we enter the twenty first century.”

Unnikrishnan judgment 1993 – “Every child/citizen of this country has a right to free

education till he completes the age of fourteen years.”

Education Ministers” resolve 1998 – “Universal elementary education should be pursued in the mission mode. It emphasized the need to pursue a holistic and convergent

approach towards UEE.”

National Committee’s Report on UEE in the mission mode 1999 – UEE should be pursued in a mission mode with a holistic and convergent approach with emphasis on preparation of District Elementary Education Plans for UEE. It supported the fundamental right to education and desired quick action towards operationalization of the mission mode towards UEE.

The Scenario so Far

Consequent to several efforts, India has made enormous progress in terms of increase in institution, teachers, and students in elementary education. The number of schools in the country increased four fold – from 2, 31, 000 in 1950-51 to 9, 30,000 in 1988-99, while enrolment in the primary cycle jumped by about six times from 19.2 million to 110 million. At the upper Primary stage, the increase of enrolment during the period was 13 times, while enrolment of girls recorded a huge rise of 32 times. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at the Primary stage has exceeded 100 percent. Access to schools is no longer a major problem. At the primary stage, 94 percent of the country’s rural population has schooling facilities within one kilometer and at the upper primary stage it is 84 percent.

The country has made impressive achievement in the elementary education sector. But the flip side is that out of the 200 million children in the age group of 6 -14 years, 59million children are not attending school. Of this, 35 million are girls and 24 million are boys. There are problems relations to drop – out rate, low levels of learning achievement and low participation of girls, tribal and other disadvantaged groups. There are still at least one lakh habitations in the country without schooling facility within a kilometer. Coupled with it are various systemic issues like inadequate school infrastructure, poorly functioning schools, high teacher absenteeism, large number of teacher vacancies, poor quality of education and inadequate funds.

In short, the country is yet to achieve the elusive goal of Universalisation of Elementary education (UEE), which means 100 percent enrolment and retention of children with schooling facilities in all habitations. It is to fill this gap that the government has launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a historic stride towards achieving the long cherished goal

of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) through a time bound integrated approach, in partnership with States. SSA, which promises to change the face of the elementary education sector of the country, aims to provide useful and quality elementary

Education to all children in the 6-14 age groups by 2010.

The SSA is an effort to recognize the need for improving the performance of the school system and to provide community owned quality elementary education in the mission mode. It also envisages bridging of gender and social gaps.


 All children in school, Education Guarantee Centre, Alternative School, ‘Back to School’ camp by 2003;

 All children complete five years of primary schooling by 2007;

 All children complete eight years of schooling by 2010;

 Focus on elementary education of satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life;

 Bridge all gender and social category gaps at primary stage by 2007 and at

Elementary education level by 2010;

 Universal retention by 2010.

Structure for Implementation

The Central and State governments will together implement the SA in partnership with the local governments and the community. To signify the national priority for elementary education, a National Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Mission is being established with the Prime Minister as the Chairperson and the Union Minister of Human Resource Development as the Vice Chairperson. States have been requested to establish State level Implementation Society for UEE under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Education Minister. This has already been done in many States.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will not disturb existing structures in States and districts but would only try to bring convergence in all these efforts. Efforts will be made to ensure that there is functional decentralization down to the school level in order to improve community participation. Besides recognizing PRIs / Tribal Councils in Scheduled Areas, including the Gram Sabha, the States would be encouraged to enlarge the accountability framework by involving NGOs, teacher, activists, women’s organizations etc.

Coverage and Period

The SSA will cover the entire expanse of the country before March 2002 and the duration of the Programme in every district will depend upon the District Elementary Education Plan (DPEP) Prepared by it as per its specific needs. However, the upper limit for the programme period has been fixed as ten years, i.e., up to 2010.

Strategies central to SSA programme

 Institutional reforms – As part of the SSA, institutional reforms in the States will be carried out. The state will have to make an objective assessment of their prevalent education system including educational administration, achievement levels in schools, financial issues, decentralization and community ownership, review of state Education Act, rationalization of teacher deployment and recruitment of teachers, monitoring and evaluation, education of girls, SC/ST and disadvantaged groups, policy regarding private schools and ECCE. Many States have already affected institutional reforms to improve the delivery system for elementary education.

 Sustainable Financing – The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is based on the premise that financing of elementary education interventions has to sustainable. This calls for a long – term perspective on financial partnership between the Central and the State governments.

 Community ownership – The programme calls for community ownership of school based interventions through effective decentralisation. This will be augmented by involvement of women’s groups, VEC members and members of Panchayati Raj institutions.

 Institutional capacity building – The SSA conceives a major capacity building role for national and state level institution like NIEPA/NCERT/NCTE/SCERT/SIEMAT. Improvement in quality requires a sustainable support system of resource persons.

 Improving mainstream educational administration – The Programme will have a community based monitoring system. The Educational Management Information System (EMSI) will correlate school level data with community based information from micro planning and surveys. Besides this, every school will have a notice board showing all the grants received by the school and other details.

 Habitation as a unit of planning – The SSA works on a community based approach to planning with habitation as a unit of planning. Habitation plans will be the basis for formulating district plans.

 Accountability to community – SSA envisages cooperation between teachers, parents and PRIs, as well as accountability and transparency.

 Education of girls – Education of girls, especially those belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, will be one of the principal concerns in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

 Focus on special groups – There will be a focus on the education participation of children form SC/ST, religious and linguistic minorities, disadvantaged groups and the disabled children.

 Pre Project phase – SSA will commence throughout the country with a well planned pre project phase that provides for a large number of interventions for capacity development to improve the delivery and monitoring system.

 Thrust on quality – SSA lays a special thrust on making education at elementary level useful and relevant for children by improving the curriculum, child centered activities and effective teaching methods.

 Role of teachers – SSA recognizes the critical role of teachers and advocates a focus on their development needs. Setting up of BRC/CRC, recruitment of qualified teachers, opportunities for teacher development through participation in curriculum related material development, focus on classroom process and exposure visits for teachers are all designed to develop the human resource among teachers.

 District Elementary Education Plans – As per the SSA framework, each district will prepare a District Elementary Education Plan reflection all the investments being made in the education sector, with a holistic and convergent approach.

Components of SSA

The components of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan includes appointment of teachers, teacher training, qualitative improvement of elementary education, provision of teaching learning materials, establishment of Block and Cluster Resource Centers for academic support, construction of Classrooms and school buildings, establishment of education guarantee centers, integrated education of the disabled and distance education.


Non-government Organization

Non – government organizations, commonly referred to as voluntary agencies in India, also participate in EFA programmes. For instance, a large number of voluntary agencies are implementing non – formal education programmes to meet the educational needs of out of school children. Many of them focus on socially and economically back ward areas and marginalized sections of the society and on education of girls. The current decade has seen the emergence of a number of EFA programmes supported by international agencies. These include support multi – lateral agencies including UN bodies, the World Bank and the ADB. Five UN agencies have supported the development of a joint initiative with the government of India and state governments on community based primary education. Assistance from UN agencies and bilateral dononars is in the form of grants, while the World Bank provides concessional loan assistance through IDA. Matching contributions in cash and kind are provided by central and state governments for such projects. The last three five year plans have witnessed significant shift in the expenditure of the department of education in the central government towards primary and adult education and away from tertiary education. That the central government is paying serious attention towards achievement of the goal of EFA is brought out by these actions of government.

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