About the scheme
- Samagra Shiksha is an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12. The centrally sponsored scheme has been prepared with the broader goal of improving school effectiveness measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes.
- It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
- The Integrated Scheme envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels.
- It was introduced in the Union Budget, 2018-19.
- The major objectives of the Scheme are
- Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students;
- Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education;
- Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education;
- Ensuring minimum standards in schooling provisions;
- Promoting Vocationalisation of education and
- Support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009;
- Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the scheme. The scheme reaches out to girls and children belonging to SCs, STs, minority communities and transgender. The scheme also gives attention to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration and children living in remote and scattered habitations.
- Acknowledging that issues such as lack of toilets in schools and unavailability of schools within a short distance play a big role in school dropouts, especially among girls, the scheme supports states for strengthening of school infrastructure including in rural areas.
- Under Samagra Shiksha, various interventions have been targeted to promote education, which include opening of schools in the neighbourhood, provision of free text-books up to Class VIII, uniforms to all girls and SC, ST, BPL boys up to class VIII, provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools, teachers’ sensitisation programmes to promote girls’ participation, construction of residential quarters for teachers in remote/hilly areas/in areas with difficult terrain.
- In addition, there is a provision for twinning of schools under which well-functioning private or government schools in urban or semi-urban areas are linked with schools located in rural areas for interaction and exchange of experience.
- The Department of School Education and Literacy is also implementing the component of vocational skills training under the umbrella of Samagra Shiksha.
Why in News?
- The Union Cabinet has approved the extension of the centrally sponsored Samagra Shiksha scheme from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026 with an estimated outlay of around ₹3 lakh crore.
- The scheme is in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG-4) and has now been aligned with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 to ensure inclusive and equitable, quality and holistic school education.
- The scheme covers 11.6 lakh schools, over 15.6 crore students and 57 lakh teachers of government and aided schools (from pre-primary to senior secondary level).
- Keeping with the NEP’s recommendations on encouraging Indian languages, the revamped scheme has a new component for appointment of language teachers, which includes salaries, and training costs as well as bilingual books and teaching learning material.
- In accordance with NEP’s recommendation on pre-primary education, Samagra Shiksha will now include funding to support pre-primary sections at government schools, both in terms of teacher training as well as ₹500 per child per year for teaching and learning materials, indigenous toys and games and play-based activities. Master trainers for pre-primary teachers and anganwadi workers will be supported under the scheme and in-service teacher training for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).
- Another new component is the NIPUN Bharat initiative for foundational literacy and numeracy, which will get an annual provision of ₹500 per child for learning materials, ₹150 per teacher for manuals and resources and ₹10-20 lakh per district for assessment.
- As part of digital initiatives, there is a provision for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) labs and smart classrooms, including support for digital boards, virtual classrooms and DTH channels which have become more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The pandemic is likely to cause more school dropouts as well, so it is important that Samagra Shiksha now includes a provision to support out of school children from age 16 to 19 with funding of ₹2000 per grade to complete their education via open schooling.
- The Centre also plans to pay students their Right to Education entitlements such as textbooks, uniforms and transport allowance in the form of direct benefit transfer (DBT).
- There will also be a greater focus on skills and vocational education, both for students in school and dropouts.
- Other features of the revamped scheme includes:
- Incinerator and sanitary pad vending machines in all girls’ hostels;
- training for 3 months for inculcating self-defence skills under ‘Rani Laxmibai Atma Raksha Prashikshan’;
- additional Sports grant of up to Rs. 25,000 to schools in case at least 2 students of that school win a medal in Khelo India school games at the National level.