SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN: FRAMEWORK FOR IMPLEMENTATION
(DRAFT [December 1999], Copy Right; MHRD, Government of India)
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is an effort to universalize elementary education by community-owner ship of the school system. It is a response to the demand for quality basic education all over the country. The SSA programme is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to the poorest children, through provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode. The prime features of the SSA programme are:
1.1 WHAT IS SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN
· A programme with a clear time-frame for universal elementary education.
· A response to the demand for quality basic education all over the country.
· An opportunity for promoting social justice through basic education.
· An effort at effectively involving the Panchayati Raj institutions, the School Management Committees, the Village Education Committees, the Parents’ Teachers’ Associations, the Mother Teacher Associations, the Tribal Autonomous Councils in the management of elementary schools.
· Am expression of political will not universal elementary education at the highest level.
· A partnership between the Central, State and the local government.
· An opportunity for States to develop their own vision of elementary education.
1.1.1 AIMS OF SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is to provide useful and relevant elementary education for al children in the 6 to 14 age group by 2000. There is also another goal to bridge social and gender gaps, with the active participation of the community in the management of schools.
Useful and relevant education signifies a quest for an education system that is not alienating and that draws on community solidarity. Its aims is to allow children to learn about and master their natural environment in a manner that allows thr fullest harnessing of their human potential both spiritually and materially. This quest must also be a process of value based learning that allows children an opportunity to work for each others’ well being rather than to per it mere selfish pursuits.
1.1.2 OBJECTIVES OF SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN
1 All children in school, Education Guarantee Centre, Alternate School, “-to-School camp by 2003;
2 All children complete five years of primary schooling by 2007.
3 All children complete eight years of elementary schooling by 2010.
4 Focus on elementary education of satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life.
5 Bridge all gender and social category gaps at primary stage by 2007 and at elementary education level by 2010.
6 Universal retention by 2010.
WHY A FRAMEWORK FOR IMPLEMENTATION (AND NOT GUIDELINE)
- To allow states to formulate context-specific guidelines within the overall framework.
- To encourage districts in States and UTs to reflect local specificity.
- To encourage local need based on broad National Policy norms.
- To make planning a realistic exercise by adopting broad national norms.
The objectives are expressed nationally though it is expected that various districts and States are likely to achieve universalisation in their own respective context and in their own frame time. 2010 is the outer limit for such achievements. The emphasis is on main streaming out-of-school children through diverse strategies, and on providing eight years of schooling for all children 6-14 age group. The thrust is on closing of gender and social gaps and a total retention of all children in schools. The education system has to be made relevant so that children and parents find the schooling system useful, absorbing, and most of all, non-alienating from their natural and social environment.
SARVA SHIKSHA ABIYAN AS A FRAMEWOREK AND AS A PROGRAMME
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has two aspects – I ) It provides a wide convergent framework for implementation of Elementary Education schemes; II) It is also a programme with budget provision for strengthening vital areas to achieve universalisation of elementary education. While all investments in the elementary education sector from the State and Central Plans will reflect as part of the SSA framework, they will all merge into the SSA programme within the next few years. As a programme, it reflects the additional resource provision for UEE.
BROAD STRATEGIES CENTRAL TO SSA PROGRAMME
Institutional Reforms - As part of the SSA the central and the State Governments will undertake reforms in order to improve efficiency of the delivery system. The states will have to make an objective assessment of their prevalent education system including educational administration, achievement levels in schools, financial issues, decentralisation 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 carried out changes to improve the delivery system for elementary education.
Sustainable Financing- The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan based on the premise that financing of elementary education inventions has to be 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 conceive a major capacity building role for national and state level institutions like NIEPA/NCERT/NCTE/SCERT/SIEMAT. Improvement in quality requires a sustainable support system of resource persons.
- Improving Mainstream Educational Administration – It calls for improvement of mainstream educational administration by institutional development, infusion of new approaches and by adoption of cost effective and efficient methods.
- Community Based Monitoring with Full Transparency – The Programme will have a community based monitoring system. The Educational Management Information System (EMIS) 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.
- Priority to 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 educational participation of children from 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. These include provision for community-based micro-planning and school mapping, training of community leaders, school level activities, support for setting up information system, office equipment, diagnostic studies etc.
- Trust on Quality – SSA lays a special thrust on making education at the elementary level useful and relevant for children by improving the curriculum, child-centred activities and effective teaching learning strategies.
- Role of teachers – SSA recognizes the critical and central 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 reflecting all the investments being made in the elementary education sector, with a holistic and convergent approach. There will be a Perspective Plan that will give a framework of activities over a longer time frame to achieve UEE. There will also be an Annual Work Plan nd Budget that will list the prioritized activities to be carried out in that year. The Perspective Plan will also be a dynamic document subject to constant improvement in the course of Programme Implementation.
FINANCIAL NORMS UNDER SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN
- The assistance under the programme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will be on 85.15 sharing arrangement during the IX Plan, 75:25 sharing arrangement during the X Plan and 50:50 sharing thereafter between the Central Government and State Governments. Commitments regarding sharing of costs would be taken from State governments in writing.
- The State Governments will have to maintain their level of investment in elementary education. The contribution as State share for SSA will be over and above this investment.
- The Government of India would release funds to the State Governments/Union Territories only and instalments (except first) would only be released after the previous instalments of Central Government and State share has been transferred to the State Implementation Society.
- The support for teacher salary appointed under the SSA programme could be shared between the central government and the State government in a ratio of 85:15 during the IX Plan, 75:25 during the X Plan and 50:50 thereafter.
- All legal agreements regarding externally assisted projects will continue to apply unless specific modifications have been agreed to, in consultation with foreign funding agencies.
- Existing schemes of elementary education of the Department (except National Bal Bhawan and NCTE ) will coverage after the IX Plan. The National Programme for Nutritional Support to Primary Education (Mid-day-Meal) would remain a distinct intervention with foodgrains and specified transportation costs being met by the Centre and the cost of cooked meals being met by the State Government.
- District Education Plans would inter-alia, clearly show the funds/resource available for various components under schemes like JRY, PMRY, Sunshchit Rozgar Yojana, Area fund of MPs/MLAs,, State Plan, foreign funding and resources generated in the NGO sector.
- All funds to be used for up-gradation, maintenance, repair of schools and Teaching Learning equipment and local management to be transferred to VECs/School Management Committees/Gram Panchayat/or any other village/School level arrangement for decentralisation adopted by that particular State/UT. The village/school-based body may make a resolution regarding the best way of procurement.
- Other schemes like distribution of scholarships and uniforms will continue to be funded under the State Plan. They will not be funded under the SSA programme.
The major financial norms for individuals under SSA are:-
NORMS FOR INTERVENTIONS UNDER SSA
2.1 PREPARATORY ACTIVITIES
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan assigns greatest importance to the preparatory activities as these have been conceived as a necessary condition for quality implementation of the programme. Effective mobilization of the community and creation of an effective system of decentralised decision-making are part of the preparatory activities. A number of steps have already been taken in many states and it is expected that such of these State/UTs which have not decentralised powers to Village Education Committees/ Panchayats/ Urban local bodies, would do so as a part of the preparation for implementing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Strengthening of the office of the District Elementary Education Officer has also to be undertaken in the preparatory phase in order to adequately equip it to handle the larger tasks during programme implementation. Setting up of an effective information system has therefore been highlighted, besides procurement of essential office equipment and computer hardware. More important than the hardware component would be the need to provide support for involving community leaders at all levels and orienting existing governmental functionaries in carrying out activities more effectively. An assessment of the additional manpower needs has also to be made during this period. It must be emphasized that setting up of an effective MIS would require contractual appointment of data analysts and data entry personnel, as they are not available in most non-DPEP districts. Similarly, the need for experts on gender, civil works and community mobilization and planning will also have to be assessed in the light of the specific State/UT.
of habitation level education plans through effective community mobilization
for micro-planning and school mapping is the greatest challenge of the
preparatory phase. Since Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan has the clear aim of universalisation of elementary education, it is
mandatory to track the progress of each and every child in the 5+ -14-age
groups. Preparation of Village
Education Registers on the basis of household survey, regular monitoring
through Retention Registers and Pupil Progress Cards, would have to be
developed in the preparatory phase itself.
This calls for a focus on capacity building among the Panchayati Raj Institutions,
members of Village Education Committees, School Management Committees, Parents’
Teacher Associations, etc. The
preparatory phase provides for a process and activity based
constitution/organisation of such Committees and training of community leaders
for improved management of schools. Capacity building in the local community
will also require a constant interface with the school and the teachers. This is being attempted through a large
Through a participatory process a core planning team will be constituted in each village at the habitation level including selected VEC members, selected community leaders, NGO representatives, Head Master, selected teachers and some selected parents, ensuring participation of women as well as persons from the deprived communities. Parents of disabled children may be included in the team. The selection of this team is very critical for effective planning.
A number of effective studies on the Base-line assessment in a district, in order to reflect the current situation with regard to learning achievements, retention, access, gender equity, social equity, physical infrastructure, etc. Would also have to be undertaken as preparatory activities. Effort should be made to feed into the planning process. Besides these locally relevant studies, a few baseline achievement tests could be taken up in the non DPEP states by NCERT. A number of available studies that are State specific will be utilised to determine the base-line status in a State.
For planning to be need-based, it is important that the board norms for improving school facilities are shared with habitation level planning team. The norms under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan provide the broad framework for such an exercise. The habitation level planning team would comprise of community leaders with a keen interest in the education of children. It must have a large number of parents whose children study in the school whose improvement is being attempted.
Identification of a team at District and Block level would also have to be undertaken during the preparatory phase. Efforts to identify teachers who could serve as Cluster and Block Resource Centre Coordinators could also be taken up during this period. These identified BRC/CRC Coordinators could then facilitate the planning activities and in the process of constitution of VECs. The management needs in a particular district would also have to be assessed by the State level Implementation Society. To determine the kind of additional support required operationalizing the team at District, Block and Cluster level. In district that have already operational zed Block Resource and Cluster Resource Centres, the formation of such teams would be easier. In other regions, efforts to make an objective assessment of manpower needs and the restructured command system for the education administration would have to be a priority. The National and State level Mission will facilitate this process of manpower planning for programme implementation through objective assessment by expert teams.
Tasks like rationalization of teacher units has also to be initiated during the preparatory phase in order that deployment of teachers is need based. This will facilitate assessment of additional teacher requirements as also a convergent planning process that appreciates the presence of private schools.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan highlights transparency in programme implementation. All efforts have to be made to ensure that expenditure on elementary education is a public domain subject. The School Display Board has to show all investments being made in the school. Teacher Attendance should be publicly displayed. For improving the quality of school level data regarding Enrolment, Attendance, Retention, Drop out, etc. besides the mandatory maintenance of Village Education Registers, Retention Registers and Pupil Progress Cards, any information sent to Cluster/Block/District level, has to be displayed on the School Display Board for public scrutiny. The seeds of a community based monitoring system can only be sown by acceptance of a right to Information at the school level. Similar efforts at transparency should be made right up to the national level.
Organisation of a large number of school based activities, cultural jathas, and sports and festivals, have been suggested as preparatory activities under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The objective of all these efforts is to ensure community partnership in the management of the school.
Opening of Bank Accounts of Village Education Committee/School Management Committee/Gram Panchayat Education Committee/School level Committee in urban areas will also monitored as a preparatory activity so that effective decentralisation can be brought about. The financial norms clearly state that a number of interventions have to be carried out by the VEC (or its equivalent).
The preparatory activities must also ensure that the formation of the VECs (or equivalent bodies in urban areas ) are process-based. Process –based implies selection through activities and participation rather than by official orders of nomination. Some states have accepted a system of election for School Management Committees and the same will be constituted. There may be a need to reconstitute such Committees in many places where it had been done routinely in the past. Involvement of the teachers, representatives of women and other weaker sections, active community leaders, parents of children studying in that school/EGS, parents of out of school children from poor habitations, has to be ensured in a process based approach. The organisation of School based activities, micro-planning and School mapping, are ways of identifying active community leaders willing to give time for the educational reconstruction in a habitation. The planning team has to have a role in the process –based constitution of VECs. Involvement of NGOs will strengthen this community-based approach for organizing the preparatory activities.
In order to ensure an effective preparatory phase, up to Rupees fifty lakhs has been provided for such activities, based on the actual requirement in a particular district. Besides provision for training and orientation of community leaders and Education Department functionaries, the preparatory phase provides for the following:
- Office equipment as per need,
- Cultural activities for mobilization for SSA.
- Computer hardware and software for effective MIS at the district level
- School-based activities up to Rupees 1000 to a school
- Household surveys and preparation of habitation Plans up to Rs. 3 per household
- A set of base line Studies etc.
The preparatory phase is need based and there is a lot of variation in the demand from districts. Districts that are already implementing DPEP/LJP would limited resources for the preparatory activities. All districts are expected to prepare District Elementary Education Plans before the end of the IX Plan.
The preparatory phase will be monitored by joint teams of resource persons sent by State/National institutions. The districts can ask for resource support for carrying out planning activities and NCERT/NIEPA/SCERT/SIEMAT/TSG DPEP would provide the capacity building support as per requirement. Besides this, the National and the State Mission will have an effective monitoring and operational support group of facilitate capacity building at all levels and to meet specific need of districts. Copies of sanction orders would be posted on the web site of the Department of Elementary Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. State Governments will work out arrangements for professional and operational support at the State level in order to ensure that the capacity development needs of a district receive top most priority in the preparatory phase.
The preparatory activities are expected to initiate a process of institutional development and capacity building for professional management of elementary education sector at the local level. The focus has to be on capacity building through training, rigorous planning processes, focus on community based data collection and its analyses, and most of all, a willingness to allow the local community to manage schools. It is expected that the preparatory phase will take anywhere from four to eight months.
COMMUNITY –BASED PLANNING PROCESS
The success of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will depend on the quality of the community based planning process. While SSA is formulated on the premise that the community can plan, it also accepts the tremendous requirement for developing capacities in communities to do so. The heterogeneity of local communities in many regions often poses problems of unanimity on proposed planning criteria. It is important to recognize a habitation, rather than a village as a unit of planning as most habitations have a higher degree of community solidarity. Similarly, in urban areas, a cluster of households in the same slum settlement has to be a unit of planning.
The starting point for planning activities has to be the creation of a core group of governmental and non-governmental persons, entrusted with the task of implementing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The State level Implementation Society has to exercise utmost caution and care in ensuring that the core team at the District and Block level is carefully selected and is committed to the task of Universal Elementary Education. Besides Education Department functionaries, these teams could comprise of faculty members of DIETs, BRCs, CRCs, NGO representatives, representatives of Teacher Unions, representatives of Women’s Groups, representatives of Self Help Groups, retired and serving National and State Award winning Teachers, local literary figures, Panchayati Raj/Autonomous Council representatives etc. This list is illustrative as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan recognizes the diversity across regions. The objective is to make district level and Block level core team competent to take the community along in its agenda for educational reconstruction. The starting point of the planning process should be an orientation of the district and Block level teams.
These core teams should then undertake an extensive visit of the district, covering every village/urban slum. The funds provided under the preparatory activities for cultural activities and School occasions to identify could be taken up to build advocacy for elementary education. These events could be occasions to identify individuals and community leaders willing to undertake the educational activities in the region. Constitution of Mahila Samoohs and Prerak Dals could also be taken up as a preliminary step towards the constitution of the VEC. These identified individuals, with large representation of women and weaker sections, should then be oriented for managing the affairs of the School. The National/State level Mission could extend operational supporting building capacities for such activities.
The District team must also work out its information needs and steps to develop formats for household and School surveys should also be taken. This would require capacity support from National/State level institutions. The local context must reflect in all such activities.
The School has to play a critical role in the planning process and efforts to bring community leaders to the School should be encouraged. This will be facilitated by regular activities in the School. The Head Master and his/her team have to function like the local resource team for planning.
After orientation of community teams, the process of micro-planning, school mapping should be undertaken. This would involve intensive interaction with each household to ascertain the educational status and the educational need. The requirements have to be discussed at the habitation level before they are finalized. The broad financial and physical norms regarding school infrastructure, teachers and teaching learning materials will have to be the basis of the planning exercise.
Requirement of incentives like Scholarship and uniforms will have to be worked out on the basis of State norms. These would be part of SSA framework but not the SSA programme as funding would be from the State Plan. The planning for mid day meal should also be discussed in the planning process, even though changes in this scheme will be taken up separately. Requirement of incentives like Scholarship and uniforms will have to be worked out on the basis of State norms. These would be part of SSA framework but not the SSA programme as funding would be from the State Plan. The planning for mid day meal should also be discussed in the planning process, even though changes in this scheme will be taken up separately.
The habitation level plans should be drawn up on the basis of the micro-planning and school mapping exercise. The Block and the Districts should also undertake an exercise to see all requirements can be fulfilled by redeployment or by schemes under which unspent balances are available with the State governments. For example, teacher deployment could come by rationalization or Teaching learning Equipment could come from sanctions already provided earlier under Operation Blackboard but not utilized so far. The final District Plan will take note of such investments and would also reflect the process of redeployment of facilities, wherever required. The habitation level educational plans will be appraised by the Cluster level units, in consultation with the Block teams. The District unit will appraise the Block level plans. Due care should be taken to ensure that the demand for teachers, classrooms etc. are as per the broad norm for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
The community-based planning process has to result in the effective enrolment and retention of the hitherto out of school children in school/an EGS centre/or a Bridge Course. This calls for a child specific monitoring by the local community. Community planning processes must also result in a specific Action Plan.
PERSPECTIVE PLANS AND ANNUAL PLANS
Each district will prepare a Perspective Plan. The perspective Plan will be a Plan for universalisation within the time frame of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. It will be based on the existing position with regard to attendance, retention and drop out. It will work out the total requirement for universalisation, spread over a number of years. A clear Plan for improving access, increasing retention and ensuring achievement will be a part of the perspective Plan. The Perspective Plan will also be a dynamic document rather than any blue print and would be subject to modifications based on the feed on the programme implementation. It will also work out the requirement of School infrastructure and teaching learning materials based on the assessments. The perspective Plan will follow the broad financial norms set out in an earlier section. The perspective Plans will also take note of the presence of the non-governmental sector and its contribution towards UEE. The perspective Plan will not rule out modifications in the Annual Work Plans based on field experience. The projections of the perspective Plan are tentative and departures on possible interventions may be made as per need.
The Annual Plans have to be based on a broad indication of resource availability to a district in a particular year. The National and State Mission will try and finalise the resource likely to be allocated to a particular district at least six months be4fore the first instalment is released to a district. The district would undertake a prioritisation exercise in the light of the likely availability of resources. The National/State Mission will appraise these Annual Plans and changes in keeping with resource availability could be effected by the National/State Mission.
While the objective of the Perspective Plan is to assess and plan for the unfinished UEE agenda in a particular district, the Annual Plan is an exercise in prioritisation. The perspective Plans of districts would be the basis for placing demand for additional financial resources for UEE in the years to come. As stated earlier, these Plans have to be as per norms mentioned earlier. The appraisal teams would ensure that planning is as per nationally/State accepted norms.
Preparation f perspective and Annual Plans require creation of capacities at all levels. Besides the teams of resource persons from the National/State mission, efforts to develop State specific institutional linkage for planning support will also be explored. Consultation with research institutions for undertaking State specific educational agenda has already been initiated. The same would be finalised in consultation with the State governments. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would require support of institutions of proven excellence for research, evaluation, monitoring and capacity building.
The quality of the planning exercise will depend on the efforts at capacity building and the supervision of the planning process. Institutions like Cluster Resource Centres and Block resource Centres already established under DPEP and being established under SSA in non DPEP district have to be carefully nurtured to provided capacity for quality planning. The starting point in any such exercise is for the States to accept the need for careful selection of personnel from the governmental functionaries and also to deploy experts on contract from the management costs provided under the SSA. The National/State Mission will have a role in selection of personnel in order to ensure objectivity in such processes. It must be reiterated that quality planning process will require institutional reforms that allow local communities to participate effectively in the affairs of the school. The involvement of the teaching community in the planning process would also be necessary to ensure that the School system emerges as the principal institutions for community partnership.
The District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) have a Planning and Management unit. These units have to become fully operational. The effort at entering into Memorandum of Understanding) with State governments under the scheme of Strengthening Teacher Education is a step in that direction. As stated in earlier sections, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan encourages institutional capacity development at all levels. Ultimately, no amount of external supervision by monitoring teams or capacity building teams is a substitute for institutional capacity at all levels. The CRCs, BRCs and DIETs have a large role in the preparation of perspective and Annual Plans and their systematic capacity development has to be a priority in programme implementation.
ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES AS PER APPROVED PLANS
As mentioned earlier, the allocation of resources will depend on the following: preparation of District Elementary Education Plans and their appraisal; commitment of the State Government with regard to the State share; performance of the State government regarding resources made available earlier; institutional reforms in states to facilitate decentralised management of education; reports of supervision teams regarding the quality of programme implementation; availability of financial resources in a particular year. The actual allocation of resources will depend on all these factors. It is likely that districts with poor infrastructure will require more resources. However, the release will also be performance linked. If an educationally ward district does not utilize the resources in the manner intended, it is unlikely to receive a priority. All the districts of the country will be covered before the end of the Ninth Plan. Their Plans will also be appraised and resources made available as per the conditions mentioned above. There is no fixed criteria for allocation of resources as the actual allocation will depend on a large number of factors, including the availability of resources.
As mentioned earlier, the resources will be allocated in two instalments in a year: Once in April and then again in September. The objective is to allow states to fully utilize the allocation before asking for more. The utilization certificates, however, will only become due one year after (the release of an installment. Further release will be stalled if utilization certificates arc not submitted as per the schedule. The expenditure of a State /UT has to be maintained at the level in 1999-2000. Any allocation for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has to be over and above the expenditure already being incurred at the 1999-2000 level in a particular State. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will not substitute State funding for elementary education. In fact, it is expected to encourage states to invest more on elementary education along side a higher allocation by the Central government. The Stale level Implementation Society for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will certify that the level of investments are being maintained in the state, at the time of seeking further allocation of resources from the Central government. The National level Mission will also monitor expenditure on elementary education. NIEPA will provide professional support for regular monitoring of expenditure on elementary education.
.1 WHAT A DISTRICT PLAN MUST HAVE
APPRAISAL OF DISTRICT PLANS
Appraisal of District Plans is critical to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The National/State Mission will undertake Appraisal of plans with the assistance of resource teams constituted by the operational support unit of the National/State Mission. These resource persons will be fully oriented for undertaking the task of appraisal. The Appraisal Missions will undertake regular visits to districts in order to monitor the quality of preparatory activities. The cost of the Appraisal teams will be fully borne by the National/State Mission. The Monitoring and operational support teams at the national/State level Mission will undertake the constitution of Appraisal teams.
Appraisal teams will be jointly constitutes by the National and the State level Mission. One of the National Mission nominees could be a representative of the research institution that undertakes responsibility for that state. The national Mission will circulate a list of resource persons on the basis of past experience gathered under the DPEP and Lok Jumbish Project. The nominee of the State Mission will also have to be approved by the National Mission. The actual Appraisal visit will be for a minimum of ten days to the concerned district and state. A checklist of activities will be prepared for the guidance of the Appraisal team.
As regards the payment of honorarium to the members of the Appraisal team, government functionaries and members of autonomous government funded institutions will not be entitled to any honorarium.
They will be provided TA/DA as per government approved norms. For non-governmental representatives in appraisal teams, besides the TA/DA admissible for government servants, a modest honorarium will be available. Commitment towards the programme should be the motivation to undertake the appraisal and efforts to involve experts by paying higher honoraria should be discouraged.
A few salient features of the Appraisal process will be as follows:
DETERMINING THE BASE LINE STATUS
Many state specific evaluation studies have been carried out in recent months. The National Evaluation of the Operation Blackboard scheme has generated state specific findings on a large number of parameters regarding elementary education. The Evaluation of the District Institutes of Education and Training have similarly generated State specific Reports. In a manner these studies give a broad base line picture with regard to the school system and the effectiveness of the teacher training institutions. The National Sample Survey 52nd Round (1995-96), the national Family Health Survey – I and II (1992-93 and 98-99) also give us insights on 6-14 age children attending schools in various states. These studies serve as a baseline for the launch of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Besides these, provision for base line studies focusing on the local context has been provided as part of the preparatory activities. Base line achievement tests would be undertaken by the NCERT in the non-DPEP states on a priority, to ascertain the current levels. The National and the State Mission will monitor on the basis of these established base lines. Besides the State level Baselines, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan provides for Baseline assessment Studies as a part of the preparatory activities. These studies have to be diagnostic in nature so that these studies contribute to the planning process by taking note of the local contest. NCERT will provide technical guidance for the Base-line Studies.
SUPERVISION OF ACTIVITIES
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan requires regular supervision of activities. Ideally, the CRCs, BRCs. DIETs have to be developed effectively to carry out supervision activities. Over and above, these supervision teams will be periodically sent by the National/State Mission, besides the state specific resource institution that has undertaken the task of research and supervision in the state/UT. These specific supervision visits besides the overall assessment visits would also be undertaken. Classroom observation by resource persons has also been provided for. State will work out their supervision/appraisal/monitoring and research plans, based onthe indication of resource availability as per the norm approved for such activities under the SSA (Rs.1500 per school per year). This amount would be divided among the National / State and District mission under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Rs. 100 per School will be spent at the National level. The State government will decide regarding the balance amount to be spent on monitoring, research, supervision and evaluation at the various levels, from the School to the State.
Two supervision visits of at least three days each would be undertaken by the National / State level Mission each year, to each of the programme districts. Initially these supervision teams will be constituted in partnership with the States. Subsequently, States will constitute their own supervision teams. Each Supervision team will have four Members, two from the State mission and two from the National mission. Representatives of National Resource institutions and State specific research institutions would be encouraged to participate in the supervision team. TA/DA for governmental representatives who undertaken supervision visits will be entitled to suitable honoraria, over and above the TA/DA. Efforts to involve faculty members of University Department’s of Education will also be made.
The visits will be coordinated by the State and the National Mission of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Instructions to extend full support for supervision teams will be issued by the State governments
Suitable supervision formats will be designed through special workshops to be organized by national / state level resource institutions. State specific research institutions would also be encouraged to undertake planning for supervision teams.
Resource persons involved with training teachers will be also undertaken classroom observation. A modest honoraria may be provided for non governmental / retired resource persons. Members of DIET will be entitled to TA/DA for such visits.
PROCEDURE FOR RELEASE OF FUNDS
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is conceived as a long term partnership between the Central and the State /UT governments. The procedure for release of funds incorporates this idea of a partnership. For the preparatory activities, the districts would prepare their proposals based on the Broad Framework for implementation. The State level Implementation Society for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will forward these proposals to the National Mission of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for release. After assessment of the proposals for the preparatory activities, the Central government will release funds to the State government. The State government would be expected to transfer this to the State Implementation Society within thirty days. The State governments have to give written commitments regarding the sharing of resources and their contribution towards the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
After preparation of the District Elementary Education plans, the perspective as well as the Annual Plans will be jointly appraised by a team of experts constituted jointly by the National and the State level implementation Society. The National Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan mission will approve the Annual Plan on the basis of the appraisal report, the recommendation of the State Implementation Society, the availability of Central plan funds, and the commitment of the State government regarding finical resources. The recommendation of the State level Implementation Society must also be accompanied by a commitment of the State government to transfer its share to the State Society within thirty days of the receipt of the Central contribution, as per the approved sharing arrangement. The release of the first installment to the State / will be processed after receipt of these written commitments. The appraisal and approval of Plans should be completed by 1 march and the first installment, to meet the proposed expenditure of the first six months, should be released by 15 April. Some departure from this norm would be necessitated in the first year of programme implementation.
There would be two installments each year: one in April and the second in September for expenditure between October to March. A supervision visit to the programme implementation districts will be undertaken by a pool of resource persons selected by the National/State Mission, before the second installment is processed. The second installment will be based on the progress in expenditure and the quality of implementation. The utilization certificates from the districts to the States and to the national Mission for funds released in the first installment would become due at the time of the release of the first installment in the subsequent year.
3.1 Management Structure At the National Level
One of the basic features of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is that the mainstream will primarily be used for implementing the programme. A separate Department of Elementary Education and Literacy has already been created for this purpose. In order to facilitate convergence and a holistic perspective, one single Bureau of Elementary Education has been constituted. The General Council at the National level will be headed by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The Chairman of the Executive Committee will be the Hon’ble Human Resource Development Minister. The Secretary, Department of Elementary Education and Literacy will be the Vice Chairperson of the Executive Committee. The Joint Secretary (Elementary Education) will also be the Director General of the National Mission of Sarva Shiksha Mission. He/She shall be the Member Secretary of the General Council and the Executive Committee. The 7-8 Directors/Deputy Secretaries of the National Mission will also work as the Deputy Director Generals of the National Mission under the overall supervision of the DG. Each DS/Director shall have specific functional and geographic responsibility. The functional areas could be - I) Monitoring MIS, Research, evaluation, and operational support; ii) Gender, ECCE and special focus groups; iii) Pedagogy and capacity development for quality, Teacher Education; iv) EGS, alternative and innovative education; v) Teacher recruitment, rationalization and other policy matters; vi) Planning and community mobilization; vii) Budget, Accounts, Annual Reports and Audit; viii) Civil works and development of school facilities.
The under Secretaries and the Section Officers in the Elementary Education Bureau, along with the Office Staff, etc. will be part of the National Mission. In order to facilitate effective monitoring and operational support for MIS, a monitoring and operation support unit will be established from the existing staff and by appointment of a few need based Consultants as per government rules. The National Mission could have as many as 20 positions of Consultants for functional areas. Selection of Consultants will be with the approval of the Executive Committee. The emoluments will be as per government approved rates. The management costs approved for the National Mission will be utilized for engaging the Consultants and establishing the monitoring and operational support unit. The operational support unit will comprise of professionals who will work very closely with the National Resource institutions providing the professional support.
The National Mission has a major role to play in developing capacities. In order to facilitate such a process, demand-based capacity development visits would be organized by the National mission, in consultation with the State Missions. State Missions would also play an important role in meeting the capacity development needs of the districts as per their demand. The professional and operational support institutions will also regularly interact with State Implementation Societies and districts to ascertain the capacity development needs. Flexibility in meeting the capacity development needs is critical to the success of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
The National Mission has the role of disseminating good practices across the states. This will include encouraging Study visits and regularly publishing such good practices. The monitoring and operational support unit of the National Mission, which will function under the administrative control of the Deputy Director General, monitoring, MIS and operational support, will respond to the demand from States and districts. It will have the flexibility of sending monitoring teams at short notice. The National Mission will constantly up-date lists of experts in functional and geographical areas in consultation with State Implementation Societies. The list of experts would be periodically placed before the Executive Committee for approval.
Team members for capacity development would be entitled to TA/DA, besides modest honoraria. Here again, the effort is to value commitment to the cause of UEE rather than sheer pecuniary benefits. The National and the State/Missions will be empowered to organize capacity development visits at short notice.
3.2 Illustrative Management Structure At State, District And Sub-District Levels
· The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan allows States/UTs to have their own management structures, respecting the diversity that exists in these structures across the States. This, however, does not mean that decentralization will not be monitored. In fact, the effort is to empower Schools to take their own decisions, within the overall management context of a state/UT.
· The State have to set up the State level Implementation Society. In DPEP state, it is likely that the existing DPEP Society will be suitably modified to meet the needs of UEE. In other States/UTs either new Societies are being set up or existing Societies like the State Level Mission Authorities for literacy are being suitably modified.
· The State level Implementation Societies have to have effective monitoring and operational support units. Creation of an effective EMIS unit, a team of experts to provide support in specific functional areas, regular monitoring, supervision and appraisal activities, etc. will have to be organized at the State level Implementation Society. These structures could come up from the 6 percent management costs available under SSA. While doing so, States have to ensure that the educational mainstream has to be totally involved in programme activities. This however, does not, rule out the requirement for specific strengthening of the machinery by infusion of experts.
· Each State would like to re-organize the State level setup in the mission mode. Like the National Mission, the State level Mission will have to carry out a large number of monitoring and operational support tasks. In the DPEP states, such support may be provided by the existing State level set up. This office, suitably strengthened, will have the added responsibility of implementing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
· District and Sub district units will similarly be set up by the State. As mentioned in the section on community planning process, creation of a district, Block and Cluster level teams comprising of governmental and non governmental persons would go a long way in establishing effective structures. The selection of the core team has to be very careful as that would determine the quality of programme implementation. Setting up of EMIS team has to be done on priority in order to put in place an effective MIS. The infusion of additional contractual staff will only be after an assessment of the existing staff strength.
3.3 State Mission Authority
There would be a State Mission Authority for UEE. All activities in the elementary education sector, including the operation of the revised NFE programme, should be under one Society. This would facilitate decision making at the State level. The mission mode signifies a focused and time bound arrangement for decision making and the presence of Planning and Finance on these bodies at the State level would facilitate this process. The General Council could be headed by the Chief Minister and the Executive Committee by the Chief Secretary / Development Commissioner / Education Secretary. Representation of Finance and Planning Departments on the General Council and the Executive Committee would facilitate decision-making. Department of Rural Development’s involvement will facilitate the process of mobilizing additional resources under the rural employment programmes for school infrastructure development. Involvement of NGOs’ social activities, university teachers, teacher union representatives, Panchayati raj representatives, and women’s groups would help in ensuring full transparency to the activities of the Mission. Representatives of the Ministry of Human Resource Development would be represented both on the Governing Council and the Executive Committee.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan allows the engagement of professional on contractual terms, subject to the ceiling on management coasts. However, the engagement of professionals, however, has to be done after taking stock of the available manpower. The professionals have to work to strengthen capacities in the mainstream. This would require serious effort and possible restructuring of command structures in many states. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would encourage all efforts at restructuring that contribute to effective decision making and efficiency. The accountability framework of institutions has to be considerable strengthened. This calls for adoption of strict selection criteria while posting officials to institutions like DIETs and SCERTs. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) with States under the scheme of Teacher Education is already highlighting this need for priority to institutional development.
Management cost up to 6 percent of the total programme cost has been provided. It can be used for the following tasks - Engagement of experts for specific tasks and specific periods; date collection and EMIS maintenance; office expenses like stationary, telephone fax, photocopiers consumable, postage, POL, vehicle hiring, TA/DA of functionaries; cost of persons allowed to be engaged on contract basis for the project duration; recurring contingent and miscellaneous costs. For specific tasks, experts may be hired for a given time frame, to provide support to the mainstream educational management structure. Before hiring experts, it will be mandatory for districts/states to assess the existing strength. There would be areas like MIS, pedagogy, teacher training, research and evaluation, community mobilization, gender sensitization, civil works, Alternative schooling, that may require infusion of experts. The actual requirement would depend on an assessment of the existing structure. In a state where institutions like SCERT, DIETs, etc. are already fully and effectively functional, such requirements will be minimal. Experience of elementary education project implementation suggests that a core team of 7-8 persons at the district level and a team of 3-4 persons at the Block level is required for effectiveness implementation. This team will be constituted by selection from existing staff, as far as possible. Full time workers on secondment (as in TLCs), deputation from other government departments, would be encouraged to work as part of the district and block level teams for UEE. After assessment of needs and existing availability of manpower, decision regarding contractual appointments would be taken in consultation with the State level Authority. All contractual appointees will be engaged for a specified time period by the State level Implementation Society (and not by the government) and shall work within the institutional framework.
The selection process of professionals hired on contract (within the 6 percent management cost) has to be very rigorous. Representation of National Mission representative on the selection committee will be mandatory. Selection should be done by expert committees specially constituted for the purpose. The management costs should be periodically monitored to ensure that it is within the ceiling of 6%. Sustainability of such costs have to be taken into account at the time of incurring them.
An illustrative management structure had been provided under the District Primary Education Programme. Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the effort will be to first identify the existing strengths and weaknesses of the implementation team at the district, Block, Cluster and habitation level. The requirement of additional staff will be worked out on the basis of this assessment. In the preparatory phase itself, identification of likely BRC and CRC coordinators from among the teachers should begin. In fact, this team should start functioning from the preparatory phase itself by deputation, if need be. This team of up to 20 teachers could provide useful support to the planning exercise at the Block and Cluster level. Normally, States have found absence of sufficiently trained staff to handle MIS and community mobilization related activities, from the existing staff. Gender related interventions have also required the engagement of persons on contractual appointment. While making an assessment of power needs, districts must assign the top most priority to engaging experts for MIS, community mobilization and gender related interventions. In context specific situations, engagement of experts on tribal education, education of SC children, disabled children, etc., may also be considered. Similarly, in states where the institutional capacity for quality interventions is weak, engagement of experts on pedagogy and teacher training may also be considered. Effective management of accounts also requires effective training and occasionally strengthening of the financial management machinery at the district and the Block levels.
As regards requirement of vehicles, the policy should be to hire vehicles as per need, unless such a practice is not feasible in any particular area. Even in case purchase of vehicles is permitted, no new post of driver should be created. Such purchase of vehicles would only be as substitution of condemned vehicles. In any case, prior permission of the National Mission will be mandatory for any decision regarding purchase of vehicles.
Additional development on contractual appointment at the State level will also be after assessment of the needs. Here again, the need to establish an effective MIS, engagement of experts on community mobilization and micro planning, Accounts experts, pedagogy experts must be emphasized. In State specific contexts, experts on out of school children and Alternative Schooling systems may be engaged.
3.4 Role of Non Governmental Organizations in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan conceives a vibrant partnership with Non Governmental Organizations in the area of capacity building, both in communities and in resource institutions. These partnerships will require nurturing through an on going partnership in activities. The Research, Evaluation, Monitoring activities under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is proposed to be done in partnership with institutions/NGOs. This would improve transparency of programme interventions and would also encourage a more open assessment of achievements.
In the education sector, non-governmental organisations have been making very meaningful contributions. Work related to pedagogy, mainstreaming out of school children developing effective teacher training programmes, organizing community for capacity development for planning and implementation, expressing gender concerns, work in the sphere of disability among children, are some such examples.
Their partnership is conceived in three ways :
· through direct funding by Central and State governments;
· through funding activities by identified National and State Resource Institutions;
· through participation in community activities funded by Village Education Committees.
NGOs can discharge a very useful role in advocacy as well as accountability of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Under the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE), it has been decided to fund NGOs (other than experimental and innovative Projects) through State implementation Societies. It will also be possible to record the contribution of NGO Projects in the District Elementary education Plans as their interventions would also be made in the DEEP. It will facilitate transparency of NGO activities also. Substantial partnership of NGOs is conceived through community organisations like VEC, PTA, MTA, SMCs, etc. This is suggested so that NGOs actually participate in building capacities in the community. It also facilitates transparency in NGO activities.
3.5 Major Central interventions and Their Integration With SSA
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 219 districts of 15 States. It proposed to integrate these in the fold of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the following manner : -
i) Operation Blackboard aimed to improve physical infrastructure of education whereby school space was expanded and more teachers proved. 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 operational zed. Support for teachers’ salaries under OBB will, however, continue where teachers have already been appointed under that scheme. Efforts to access funds for classrooms from rural/urban employment schemes will continue to be made, even though ear marking 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.
iii) National Programme of Nutritional Support for Primary Education:
Evaluation of the National Programme of Nutritional Support for Primary Education indicate that the supply goods 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 indicates 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 district 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, ` to School’ camps, etc. The revised 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 on the process of enrolment. DPEP has met with variety of degree of success in different States. Some have availed of DPEP benefits and have improved their elementary education sector. A large umber 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 teaches and experts have 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.
vii Lock Jumbish Project :
Under the LJP, evaluation studies indicate the positive impact of the micro planning and school mapping in which the community is involved. There are specific interventions for girl’s education through Balika Shiksha Shivirs and Sahaj Shiksha Kendras. While there has been improvement in enrolment and retention, the actual learning achievements have been modest. LJP will be implemented in 13 districts of Rajasthan and holistic District Plans will be prepared for these districts also. LJP will be a part of the SSA framework.
4.1 COMMUNITY BASED MONITORING, EMIS, RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will have a community-based monitoring system. The Educational Management Information System (EMIS) will incorporate provision for correlation of 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 the details thereof. All reports sent to the Block and the District level with regard to enrolment, attendance, incentive, etc. shall be displayed on the school notice board. Reporting formats will be simplified so that the output is demystified and anyone can understand the data. A School would be required to display the information it sends up so that attendance and performance of pupils is public knowledge. The EMIS shall form the basis of the periodic reporting system. besides this, trainers will act as classroom process will be observed to record changes in classroom practices. Periodic monitoring teams will make random visits to selected schools and these will be discussed at various levels. The basic principle in monitoring will be its community ownership and periodic quality checks by external teams will make random visits to selected schools and these will be discussed at various levels. The basic principle in monitoring will be its community ownership and periodic quality checks by terms - external to the activity but internal to the system.
The State implementation Societies (SIS) will also undertake intensive monitoring. Representatives of the National Mission for UEE and, National level institutions like NCTE, NIEPA, and NCERT will also undertaken periodic monitoring and provide resource support to the SIS to strengthen appraisal and monitoring systems. Efforts to associate autonomous institutions willing to take up state specific responsibilities for research and evaluation will also be made. Many ICSSR institutions and other independent institutions would also be associated in developing effective books for conducting achievement tests, monitoring quality aspects of programme implementation, evaluation and research studies.
A total provision of up to Rs.1500 per school could be made for community - based monitoring, research, evaluation, etc. has been made. Rs. 100 per School will be available at the National level. The State will decide on the division of resources at various levels, from the State to the School from the balance Rs.1400 per school.
The funds for monitoring will be used for carrying out the following activities :
· creating a pool of resource persons at national, state, district, sub district level for effective-field based monitoring.
· providing travel grant and a very modest honorarium (as per state specific norm) for resource persons for monitoring.
· provision for regular generation of community based data.
· conducting achievement tests, evaluation studies
· conducing research activities
· setting up special task force for low female literacy districts and for special monitoring of girls, SCs, Sts.
· expenditure on Education Management Information System
· contingent expenditure like charts, posters, sketch pen, OHP pens etc. for visual monitoring systems
· assessment and appraisal teams and their field activities
· analyses of data at sub district/district/state and national level
Besides community based monitoring, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will encourage independent research and supervision by autonomous research institutions. Institutions of proven excellence have been requested to take up State specific responsibilities. The focus in partnership with institutions will also be on developing capacities through the interaction in SCERTs/Siestas/DIETs to carry out research and evaluation tasks. Faculty of Education in Universities, Departments would also be requested to participate in such activities under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The Regional Institutes of Education (RIE) of NCERT will also be associated in these tasks.
Effective community based-monitoring requires demystification of processes. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will make efforts to develop partnership between communities and research institutions in order to improve the quality of monitoring and research.
NCERT will undertake base line assessment of learning achievements in the Non-DPEP States in order to provide a base line for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. These assessments must also take a larger view of the assessment process rather than simply a one-time assessment of achievements. Efforts to develop context specific item pools must also be simultaneously made.
Monitoring of programme
· Joint Review by Government of India and the State government
· Community based monitoring with full transparency
· Continuous visit to field by resource persons and suggestions for improvement
· State specific responsibilities to research and resource institutions for supervision, monitoring, evaluation and research
· Community ownership mandatory for preparation of District Elementary Education Plans
· Statement of expenditure in each school to be a public document
· Mandatory implementation of many activities by VEC
5.1 GIRLS’ EDUCATION
Education of girls, especially those belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, is the primary focus in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Efforts will be made to mainstream gender concerns in all the activities under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme. Mobilization at the habitation/village/urban slum level, recruitment of teachers, up-gradation of primary into upper primary schools, incentives like midday meals, uniforms, scholarships, educational provision like textbooks and stationery, will all take into account the gender focus. Every activity under the programme will be judged in terms of its gender focus. Besides mainstreaming, special efforts like the Mahila Samakhya type of mobilization and organization, -to school camps for adolescent girls, large - scale process based constitution of Mahila Samoohs, will also be attempted. The selection criteria takes into account the low female literacy among the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe women.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan recognizes the need for special efforts to bring the out-of -school girls to school. This would require a proper identification of girls who are out of school in the course of micro planning/school mapping. it also calls for involving women through participatory processes in the effective management of schools. Experiences across the States under Mahila Samakhya and under the District Primary Education Programme have suggested the need for a clear perspective on women’s issues. The provision for girls’ education would have to be situated in the local contexts and interventions designed to suit the specific community needs in this regard. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is committed to making these interventions possible.
A few lessons from the DPEP stages are mentioned below:
5.1.1 Lessons from DPEP and Lok Jumbish Project
Range of interventions for improved access and enrolment under DPEP:
6.0 Regular enrolment drives conducted in most States. In Uttar Pradesh, a 23% increase has been recorded in girls’ enrolment in 2000-2001 over last year’s enrolment figures.
7.0 Conducting special camps and bridge courses for girls to mainstream them.
8.0 Setting up special models of Alternate Schools exclusively for girls - angana vidyalayas, bal vidyalaya, bal shalas, AS cum ECE centres.
9.0 Providing formal schooling facilities in centres of religious instruction viz., Moktabs and Madarsas.
10.0 Intensive mobilisation efforts among the resistant groups.
11.0 Working in close collaboration with the community in identified pockets.
12.0 Using women’s groups (both formed under the programme and those already existing), VECs, MTA, to follow up issues for girls’ education.
Range of interventions for retention of girls:
6.0 Monitoring attendance has been high on the agenda in all states where micro initiatives for girls’ education have been taken up. Community involvement is highly in this process, particularly in mobilizing parents for regular attendance of their children.
7.0 Follow up of drop out girls to bring them to school either through camps or bridge courses.
8.0 organizing retention drives to put regular pressure on parents and the school system to ensure retention of girls. These are not one time drives but are organized at regular intervals to sustain the pressure and take up corrective measures as many be necessary.
9.0 In pockets identified for intensive activities, attendance of each child is monitored to prevent dropouts.
In Uttar Pradesh, children are awarded graded colors for their monthly attendance - green for the best, yellow for the mediocre and red for the deficient. This system is showing results. Children want to achieve the green color.
It is proposed to publically felicitate the children with good attendance records at local level functions. This has not only enthused the children further, but has also instilled a sense of commitment and responsibility among parents and guardians. Emphasis on improved learning outcome for girls is another area that has gained importance with the maturity of the programme. Focus on the achievement levels of girls through :
- Special coaching classes/remedial classes for SC girls.
- Creation of a congenial learning environment for girls in the classroom where they are given the opportunity to learn. This is being done through special inputs to teachers - either in selected pockets or across the programme districts
- Remedial classes being organised by VEC/MTA members for girls who are not faring too well at school
10.0 Improved classroom environment to provide equitable learning opportunities to girls. Most interventions have been through teacher sensitization programmes. There are examples of States that have tried to address the issue of providing congenial learning environment of girls in the schools/classrooms although the approaches have been varied. States like Karnataka and Gujarat have taken a lead in this process.
Kerala undertook a study on classroom processes with a gender focus in 168 schools. This formed the basis for the teacher training module developed on this theme. Almost 28,000 teachers have been taken through this training and have given reference material.
Another area which has seen emphasis in the states is encouraging, capacities for local specific planning and implementation.
- States have been sensitized on the use of available data for local level planning for girls’ education with community involvement.
- Field-based training’s have been conducted in Assam, Kerala, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. States have been buildings on these skills and are concentrating in certain very deprived pockets. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have also initiated focused interventions along similar lines.
The Lok Jumbish Project had also developed very innovative interventions for girls and women’s education. Some of them are :
* Balika Skikshan Shivirs ( Camps for adolescent girls).
* Sahaj Shiksha Kendras - an alternative schooling system.
* Adhyapika Manch - a forum of women teaches.
* Intensive Review and Planning process.
* Mahila Shikshan Kendra - a special initiative for education of women in low female literacy locks.
The educational development of children belonging to the Scheduled castes and Scheduled Tribes is a special focus in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan . Every activity under the Project must identify the benefit that will accrue to children from these communities. Many of the incentive schemes will have a sharper focus on children from these communities. The participation of dalits and tribals in the affairs of the school will be specially monitored to ensure ownership of the Abhiyan by all social groups, especially the most disadvantaged.
5.1.2 EDUCATION OF SC/ST CHILDREN
The interventions for children belonging to SC/ST communities have to be based on the intensive micro planning for every child. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan provides flexibility to local units to develop a context specific intervention. Some interventions could be as follows :
6.0 Engagement of community organizers from SC/ST communities with a focus on schooling needs of children from specific households
7.0 Special teaching support as per need
8.0 Ensuring ownership of school committees by SC/ST communities
9.0 Training programmes for motivation for schooling
10.0 Setting up alternative schooling facilities in unserved habitations and for other out of school children
11.0 Using community teachers
12.0 Monitoring attendance and retention of children from weaker sections regularly
13.0 Providing context specific intervention in the form of a hostel, an incentive or a special facility as required.
14.0 Involving community leaders in school management
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will develop context specific interventions, over and above the mainstreamed interventions, to tackle the problems in girls’ education. All successful interventions so far will serve as the guiding principle for preparing such interventions. An expenditure up to Rupees 15 lakhs for each such innovative intervention is provided for under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
5.1.3 PROVISION UNDER SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN
All the interventions listed above can be undertaken in the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The following provisions have been made for girls’ education :
i Interventions for Early Childhood Care and Education
ii. School/EGs like alternative facility to be set up within one kilometer all habitations.
iii. Up-gradation of EGS to regular schools
iv. Special mainstreaming camps for out-of-school girls under the Alternative and Innovative Education component.
v. Mahila Samakhya like interventions from the innovation fund.
vi. Provision of process-based community participation with a focus on the participation of women
vii. Provision of context specific innovative intervention for girls’ education - upto Rs.15 lakh per intervention and up to Rs.50 lakh in a district in a particular year.
viii. Training programme for community leaders to develop capacities for school management
ix. Setting up of Block and Cluster Resource Centres for effective academic supervision.
x. Free textbooks to all girls up to Class - VIII.
xi. Mid-day-meal programme to continue as at present.
xii. Incentives like uniforms and scholarships to be funded from State Plan only.
xiii. Adequate Teaching Learning Equipment for all Primary and Upper Primary schools.
xiv. At least 50% of the teachers to be appointed have to be women
xv. Provision for
* school and teacher grants for all teachers.
* 20-day in-service training each year for all teachers.
* all disabled children
* community-based monitoring, partnership with research and resource institutions, and periodic feed on interventions
5.2 INTERVENTIONS FOR DISABLED CHILDREN
Disabled children require specially trained teachers and special gadgets for mainstreaming them in schools. Expenditure up to Rs.1200 per disabled child could be incurred in a financial year to meet the special learning needs of such children. The interventions being made under the scheme of Integrated Education of Disabled children has to be taken note of while developing a strategy for intervention. The household surveys will cover all aspects of disability and the District Elementary Education Plan must also have a plan for disabled children. The ceiling on per disabled children investment will apply at the district level.
Besides specific interventions for the disabled children, due care has to be taken of the needs of such children while designing school infrastructure, preparing teaching-learning materials, etc.
The provision of Rs.12 per child is very modest. It has been adopted as a first step towards providing meaningful opportunities for mainstreaming disabled children. Annual provision of nearly Rs.240 crores is available for such interventions under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Integration with efforts of other Departments and Ministers has also been ensured.
The definition of a child, as incorporated in the Disabilities Act (up to 18 years of age) will apply to disabled children being covered under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
* Each district will carry out a survey of the disabled children in the course of the micro planning/school mapping exercise and the household surveys. A Plan for effective interventions, both from the perspective of teacher training, and from the point of providing additional material support will be worked out. Identification of very difficult cases of disability requiring a specialized attention in a separate institution will also be worked out, based on the data gathered.
* The Plan for disabled children has to meet the individual needs of every child. This would call for an organised system of resource support. Non governmental Organizations engaged in the implementation of programme for disabled children will also be associated as resource institutions for teacher training, etc.
5.3 EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE AND EDUCATION
The National Policy of Education (NPE) has given great deal of importance to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). it views ECCE as a crucial input in the strategy of human resource development, as a feeder and support programme for primary education and as a support service for working women of the disadvantaged section of society. It has also taken into account the holistic nature of ECCE and has pointed out the need for early care and stimulation of children belonging to the vulnerable sector. Since the age span covered under ECCE is from conception to 6 years, emphasis has been given to a child-centered approach, play-way and activity-based learning in place of formal methods of teaching and early introduction of the three R’s. The importance of community involvement has also been highlighted. Emphasis has been given to establishing linkages between Integrated Child development Services (ICDS) and other ECCE programmes.
The Revised Policy Formulations reiterate the postulates of NPE, 1986 on ECCE. The prescriptions of POA, 1986 continue to be of relevance. What is attempted here is to update the POA, 1986 taking into account the developments since then and the need to strengthen the programmes by, inter-alia, improving the programme components, co-ordination mechanism and enlisting community participation in mobilizing resources, planning and monitoring.
Realizing the crucial importance of rapid physical and mental growth during early childhood, a number of programmes of ECCE were starred particularly after the National Policy for Children (1974). The existing ECCE programmes include:
ii. Scheme of assistance to voluntary organisations for conducting Early Childhood Education (ECE) centers.
iii. Balwadis and day-care centers run by voluntary agencies with Government’s assistance.
iv. Pre-primary schools run by the State Governments, Municipal Corporations and other governmental and non-government agencies.
v. Maternal and child health services through primary health centers and sub-centers and other agencies.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan realizes the importance of pre school learning and early childhood care and its role in improving participation of children in schools. IN order to facilitate a greater convergence with the integrated Child Development Services, efforts to strengthen them in the area of pre-school education will be made. As under DPEP, specific support will be available to existing ICDS centre coming in such a habitation, the pre school facility will necessarily have to work in conjunction with the ICDS.
A provision of up to Rupees fifteen lakhs in a district for any innovative intervention for Early Childhood Care and Education has been made. The District Elementary Education Plan has to have a Plan for early Childhood Care and Education. It also has to list the facility already created under the ICDS. The supplementary support for ECCE will always be in conjunction with the ICDS. Provision of honorarium for pre school teacher, training of Aanganwadi Sevikas for Pre School learning, activity materials, play items, etc., could be provided as support for ECCE.
Recognizing the continuum of learning and development, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would make all efforts to develop an integrated approach to meet the educational needs of the pre-schoolers. Some illustrative interventions could be as follows :
* strengthening pre school component in ICDS by need-based training of Aanganwadi Sevika, provision of additional person, learning materials etc.
* setting up balwadis as pre school centres in uncovered areas
* building advocacy for importance of early child development
* organising training programmes for ECCE
* development of materials
* promoting convergence between the school system and the ECCE arrangement.
5.4 STRATEGIES FOR OUT-OF-SCHOOL CHILDREN: EDUCATION GUARANTEE SCHOOLS IN UNSERVED HABITATIONS AND ALTERNATIVE AND INNOVATIVE EDUCATION FOR OUT OF SCHOOL CHILDREN INCLUDING CHILDREN IN DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES
The Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and innovative Education scheme is a part of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan framework. Guidelines issued under the EGS & AIE shall apply. The management structure for implementation of EGS & AIE will be incorporated in the management structure of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Planning, appraisal and supervision processes will also be the same.
The new scheme makes provision for diversified strategies and has flexible financial parameters. It has provided a range of options, such as EGS, to School Camps, Balika Shivirs, etc. There are four broad focus areas :
i. full time community schools for small unserved habitations
ii. mainstreaming of children through bridge courses of different duration
iii. specific strategies for special groups like child labour, street children, adolescent girls, girls belonging to certain ward communities, children of migrating families, etc.
iv. innovative programme-the innovations can be in the areas of pedagogic practices, curriculum, programme management, textbooks and TLMs, etc.
All habitations not having a primary school within one kilometer and having a minimum of school age children, will be entitle to have an EGS type school. Children who have dropped out-of-school will have an opportunity to avail of bridge courses, aimed at their mainstreaming. The objective is to see the EGS and AIE as integral to the quest of UEE.
6.1 PEDAGORY, TEACHER TRAINING AND CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has brought out the revised National Curriculum Framework after an intensive consultation process. Excellence with equity is its basic approach and an effort has been made to critically examine the modern context and its implications for learning. The national curriculum framework strongly recommends indigenousness of the curriculum. The National Policy of Education and its Programme of Action 1992 had already laid down the steps for the adoption of the Minimum Levels of Learning. These are :
- Preliminary assessment of the existing levels of learning achievements;
- Modification of the MLLs to suit local conditions, if needed;
- Initial and recurrent orientation of teaches to competency based teaching;
- Preparation of teacher training handbooks for MLL based teaching;
- Introduction of continuous and comprehensive evaluation of students and using evaluation results for remedial action;
- Preparation of unit tests and other evaluation materials and putting them in an item pool for using as and when required;
- Using MLL norms as and when curriculum and textbooks are revised;
- Provision of competency-based teaching learning materials to make the educational process activity based and joyful.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would like to situate the pedagogical interventions within the current national framework. The two volumes entitled “The Primary Years - Towards a Curriculum Framework” (NCERT) will also be used to identify most suitable processes to improve the learning environment for the child. Efforts to decentralize the whole process of curriculum development down (grassroots level) to the district level will be made. Reducing the load of non-comprehension by facilitating child-centered and activity based learning will be attempted. Learning by doing, learning by observation, work experience, art, music, sports and value education shall be made fully integral to the learning process. Appropriate changes will be made in the evaluation system to make it more continuous and less threatening. Performance of children will be constantly monitored in consultation with parents but shall not be restricted only to cognitive areas. Teachers’ role in preparation of text - books and secondary learning materials will be enhanced. School timings will be made contextual. based on a broad curriculum framework, districts would be free to define their content areas in their local contexts. State and national level institutions will facilitate this process of decentralized arrangements for development of curriculum and evaluation systems. Some guiding principles in curriculum and evaluation reform will be as follows :
* teacher/community participation in material preparation;
* focus on good quality printing, illustrations for books along side improvement in content; freedom from `cheapest syndrome’ in maters of children’s books;
* use of local dialects as language’ in classes one and two;
* community-based and school-based projects for work experience;
* association of local artisans/workmen in school activities;
* primacy to cultural activities, art, sports, etc.;
* content based and motivational training for teachers;
* continuous assessment of students for all round development;
* facilitating child-to-child learning;
Norms approved under the scheme of Restructuring of Teacher Education will apply. Block Resource Centres and Cluster Resource Centres will be set up as per the norms mentioned earlier. They will function under the guidance of DIETs. The selection of personnel for BRCs and CRCs will be done by a specially constituted Committee from among the teachers.
Efforts to identify teachers as resource persons will be attempted through adoption of objective criteria. Teachers as resource persons could then interact with pedagogy experts and other teacher educators to develop useful learning approaches for children/Efforts to recognize the unique learning needs of children must be made. The diversity of learning environments and learning approaches should be encouraged and teachers should have the freedom to experiment on a much larger scale.
The effective interface of teachers and teacher educators is critical for developing a context specific intervention. Study tours of teaches will be encouraged. NGOs with experience in pedagogy will be associated in developing capacity among teachers for innovative practices.
6.2 TEACHER RECRUITMENT, RATIONALIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
States have their own norms for recruitment of teachers and a lot of diversity exists in payments being made to new recruits. In many cases the appointing authority is the local Panchayat. The States will be free to follow their own norms as long as they do not violate any of the norms established by NCTE. There will be no compromise on standards even though payment of less than State pay scale as an interim measure may be adopted in states with large - scale vacancies. Rationalization of existing teacher units will be a priority. The presence of the non-governmental sector has to be taken note of before working out vacancies. The programme will provide for Primary and Upper Primary school teachers to ensure that there are no single teacher school. Overall, the effort will be to provide at least 1; 40 teacher pupil ratio. Qualifications of upper primary teachers will be as per state specific norms and the number of Upper Primary schools will be broadly as per the national policy norm. The practice of at least 50% women teachers will be strictly followed.
The support for teachers’ salaries (on a reducing basis) under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will be for a ten-year period. The sharing arrangement will be 85-15 in the IX Plan, 75-25 in the X Plan and 50-50 in the XI Plan period. Long term sustainable financing of teachers’ salaries is likely to enthuse states to fill up teacher vacancies as per requirement. Assistance will not be available for filling up existing vacancies that have arisen on account of attrition. States that did not utilize the support under Operation Blackboard for a third teacher in Primary or an additional teacher in Upper Primary will be eligible for assistance for new posts created to meet the rising enrolment of pupils.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will encourage decentralised management of teacher cadres. The local government should recruit and the community should have a say in the selection process. The Gujarat model of recruiting full trained teachers on fixed pay as an interim strategy could be adopted in states with large-scale teacher vacancies. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would like to improve the accountability of the teacher vis-à-vis local community without diluting the standards for selection of teachers, as laid down from time to time by the National Council of Teacher Education.
Opportunities for the professional development of teachers have to be encouraged and all efforts to provide effective In-service training and orientation has to be made. The Budget for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan provides for effective In-service training. Arrangements for classroom observation after training programmes, by the Resource Persons will be encouraged.
Community participation should be the only means of undertaking any civil works in improvement of school facilities. Experiments in community participation under Lok Jumbish and under DPEP in many States have been very encouraging and such experiments will be further carried out. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would first of all try to mobilize resources under Rural Employment Programme and other developmental schemes for constructing school buildings. The community would have to come forward to maintain school facilities if any investment is proposed in a village. An annual support to the community for repair and maintenance is envisaged under the SSA. The upper ceiling is Rs.5000 per year, based on the actual need and the willingness of the community to contribute. The Lok Jumbish Project has had significant success by adopting this procedure.
Ordinarily, the allocation for civil works will not exceed 33% of the perspective and the Annual Plan. The elementary education becoming an obligation of the state (including the local. government), the Panchayats could even be directed to prioritize construction of school facilities where it does not exist.
The participation of the community in all civil work activities will be mandatory in order to ensure a sense of ownership and a departure from contractor driven approaches. Engagement of contractors will not be allowed under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. School Management Committees/Village Education Committees/Gram Panchayat Committed on Education will have to carry out the civil works activities through a transparent system of account keeping. The DPEP and Lok Jumbish Project have developed effective community based approaches for civil works. These will be mandatory in all Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan districts.
The principle of social audit could be accepted for minor repairs. The School Management Committee/Village Education Committee could certify the maintenance and repair work under taken in a school. For larger repair and maintenance as well as new construction, technical provisions will be followed. The technical provisions however, have to be totally demystified (as has been done under the Lok Jumbish Project) and the communities’ right to know the cost parameters has to be fully respected.
Efforts to improve the school environment by addition of a few inexpensive internal and external elements will be made. New building designs developed in Lok Jumbish and DPEP would be adapted to promote child centered learning. Use of local materials and cost effective technologies will be encouraged. A civil works innovation fund will be set up in each state/UT to encourage experimentation with design.
Repair and maintenance of buildings will be given the top most priority.
A large number of (more than 100) building designs for schools have been developed in DPEP districts. These designs, apart from being attractive, are child centered, functional and in tune with the new pedagogical concepts. The publication called “Building rural Primary schools” published by the Ed Cil and the building construction manuals developed by the Lok Jumbish Project should be utilized by all the States/districts to develop their civil works plan. The States must make use of designs already developed under DPEP/Lok Jumbish Project in their specific local contexts. Incorporation of child-friendly internal and external elements will be mandatory in all the new construction and repair works.
SSA will encourage use of local construction of materials and low cost technologies. This would require a large amount of capacity building, including training of engineers and masons in these technologies. Apart from the Technical Resource Group of DPEP, assistance of Resource institutions like HUDCO may also be sought for this purpose.
There will be a Civil Work innovation fund of Rupees fifty lakhs in each State. This will be used for civil works innovations, demonstration buildings, and capacity building.
Civil works under SSA should start with a proper assessment of the infrastructure requirement for each district. There need to be a school-wise compilation of physical and monetary requirements. The attempt should be to find out the minimum money required to provide adequate infrastructure to each school including repairs, toilets, drinking water, boundary wall, etc. Provision of additional classrooms is to be considered only after exploring possibility of repairs and double shifts. Once the total requirement for the district is obtained, one needs to find out how much of this requirement can be funded through the on going schemes and therefore what is the gap that is required to be funded through SSA.
There should be a single agency in each district to manage all funds related to school construction. Ideally, it should be an engineering cell in the district team. All school infrastructure works should be executed by the single agency.
Each State must formulate a strategy for repair. The Rupees five thousand available to a school for regular maintenance and repair could be used to create a maintenance corpus in a school. The money will be credited to the VEC and the VEC could decide to use only part of the funds and use the rest to create a corpus. Community involvement is a must if the school infrastructure has to be well maintained.