An overarching program, Samagra Shiksha, has been launched by the government of India for the school education sector, informed the minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. In a written statement to the Lok Sabha, dated July 1, 2019, the minister highlighted that the overall improvement of the education is the prime objective of the scheme and for the purpose measures such as in-service training of the teachers and heads, support for digital initiatives, grants for libraries, sports and physical activities, composite grant for every school to provide a conducive learning environment, school leadership development program, remedial teaching for academically weaker students, etc., have been adapted.
One of the key highlights of the scheme is to bridge the gap of social category and gender that exists at the school level. It also encapsulates within its fold girls and children belonging to Schedule Caste (SC), Schedule Tribe (ST), minorities and transgender. It also covers children affected by periodic migration, the urban deprived children and children living in remote and scattered habitations. Various interventions, such as setting up of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs), primary schools, upper primary schools, additional classrooms, toilets, etc., have been planned.
The following pointers reflect on some of the important measures taken for the improvement of infrastructure and quality of primary education:
i. An amendment, in the year 2017 (20th February), to the central rules of the RTE Act, 2009, aimed at including learning outcomes based on the grade and subject. They were finalized for all subjects up till the elementary level and got circulated amongst states and UTs.
ii. A national survey for classes 3, 5 and 8 was conducted on November 13, 2017. The survey was based on learning outcomes and it was aimed at identifying gaps in the learning outcomes at district level so that the states and UTs could structure strategies for overcoming such gaps.
iii. The training through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Mode is to be conducted through the NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling). The online D.El.Ed. course was started on October 3, 2017 and so far thirteen lakh teachers have joined it.
iv. With the inception of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan scheme in the year 2001, if one looks at the progress made till March 31, 2018, the states and UTs have so far constructed 2.94 lakh school buildings, 18.03 lakh additional classrooms, 2.35 drinking water facilities, 3.76 lakh boys' toilets, 1.21 lakh CWSN toilets and 5.07 lakh separate girls' toilets.
All in all the programme covers school as continuum from preschool, primary, upper primary, secondary and upper secondary level. Samagra Shiksha is thus an integrated scheme of education that aims at ensuring inclusive and equitable education for all, covering grades pre nursery to twelfth.
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