Elementary Education: India

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Elementary Education


Launched in 2001 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is one of India's major flagship programmes for universalisation of elementary education. Its overall goals include universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in elementary education, and achieving significant enhancement in learning levels of children.

SSA is being implemented in partnership with the State Governments and reaches out to 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations across the country. SSA Goals are :

a. Enrolment of all children in school, Education Guarantee Centres, Alternative school, 'Back-to-School' camp by 2005;

b. Retention of all children till the upper primary stage by 2010.

c. bridging of gender and social category gaps in enrolment, retention and learning; and

d. Ensuring that there is significant enhancement in the learning achievement levels of children at the primary and upper primary stage.

Since inception, SSA has provided support for: Opening 3,02,872 new schools; Construction of 12,77,0,72 school buildings; Construction of 2,81,943 additional classrooms in existing schools ; Provision of drinking water facilities in 1,90,961 schools; Provision of toilets in 3,47,857 schools; appointment of 10.30 lakh teachers; Textbook support for approximately 10 crore children annually; Teacher training support for approximately 35 lakh teachers; and Establishing 2573 KGBVs in which 2,38,600 girls are enrolled, with priority to girls from SC, ST, Muslim, and BPL groups.

Provisions of Right to Education Act are being implemented through SSA. Accordingly, norms has been revised/modified to allign them with the requirement of RTE Act, 2009.

Central Government has approved an outlay of Rs 2,31,233 crore for implementation of the combined TRE-SSA programme for the five year period of 2010-11 to 2014-15. The annual requirement of fiends for the combined RTE-SSA programme will be approximately in the range of Rs 40,000 to Rs 49,000 crore both for the Central and State Governments.

Under SSA India has not only been able to improve access to 99 per cent of primary level but has also been able to reduce out of school children to 3-4 per cent of the age cohort of 6-14 years. Under this programme, special focus is on girls, children belonging to SC/ST Communities, other weaker Sections, Minorities and urban deprived children.

==EDUCATION GUARANTEE SCHEME AND ALTERNATIVE AND INNOVATIVE EDUCATION== Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education (EGS and AIE) is an important component of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to bring out-ofschool children in the fold of Elementary Education. The scheme envisages that child-wise planning is undertaken for each out-of-school child.

Under EGS, educational facilities are set up in habitations that do not have a primary School within a distance of 1 km. Any habitation with 25 out-of-school children in the 6-14 age group (15 in the case of hilly and desert areas and tribal hamlets) is eligible to have an EGS Centre. It is a transitory facility till Primary School replaces it within a period of two years.

Alternative Education interventions for specific categories of very deprived children e.g., child labour, street children, migrating children, working children, children living in difficult circumstances and older children in the 9+ age group especially adolescent girls are being supported under EGS and AIE all over the country.

A sizeable number of out-of-school children are in the habitations where schooling facility is available but these children either did not join the school or dropped out before completing their schooling. These children may not fit into the rigid formal system. To bring such children back to school, back to school camp and Bridge Courses strategies have been implemented. Bridge courses and Back to school camps can be residential or non-residential depending upon the need of children.


National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL) Scheme is a holistic effort to address obstacles to girl's education at the micro level through flexible, decentralized processes and decision making. It is implemented in educationally backward blocks and addresses the needs of girls who are 'in' as well as 'out' of school. It also reaches out to girls who are enrolled in school, but do not attend school regularly.

Children become vulnerable to leaving school when they are not able to cope with the pace of learning in the class or feel neglected by teachers/peers in class. The scheme emphasizes the responsibility of teachers to recognize such girls and pay special attention to bring them out of their state of vulnerability and prevent them from dropping out.

The scheme works through village level women's and community groups to follow up girls' enrolment, attendance and achievement. The community is engaged in recommending village specific action based on their understanding of local issues.


Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme provides for setting up of residential upper primary schools for girls of SC, ST, OBC and Muslim communities. This scheme targets areas of scattered habitations, where schools are at great distances and are challenge to the security of girls. This often compels girls to discontinue their education. KGVB addresses this through setting up residential schools in the block itself.

The Scheme provides for a minimum reservation of 75 per cent seats for girls from SC/ST/OBC and minorities communities and 25 per cent to girls from families that are below the poverty line.


With a view to enhancing enrollment, retention and attendance and simultaneously improving nutritional levels among children, the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE) was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme on 15 August 1995, initially in 2408 blocks in the country. By the year 1997- 98 the NP-NSPE was introduced in all blocks of the country. It was further extended in 2002 to cover not only children in class I-V of government, government aided and local body schools, but also children studying in EGS and AIE centres. At present, it covers all children studying in Classes-I-VIII in government, government aided, local body, NCLP, EGs and AIE centres including madarasas & magtabs supported under SSA. Central Assistance under the scheme consisted of free supply of food grains @ 100 grams per child per school day, and subsidy for transportation of food grains up to a maximum of Rs 50 per quintal.

In September 2004 the scheme was revised to provide cooked mid day meal with 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein to all children studying in classes I-V in Government and aided schools and EGS/AIE centres. In addition to free supply of food grains, the revised scheme provided Central Assistance for

(a) Cooking cost @ Rs 1 per child per school day,

(b) Transport subsidy was raised from the earlier maximum of Rs 50 per quintal to Rs 100 per quintal for special category states, and Rs 75 per quintal for other states,

(c) Management, monitoring and evaluation costs @ 2 per cent of the cost of foodgrains, transport subsidy and cooking assistance, and

(d) Provision of mid day meal during summer vacation in drought affected areas.

In July 2006 the scheme was further revised to enhance the cooking cost to Rs 1.80 per child / school day for States in the North Eastern Region, provided the NER States contribute minimum Rs 0.20 per child/school day, and Rs 1.50 per child / school day for other States and UTs, provided these States and UTs contribute minimum Rs 0.50 per child/school day. It has also revised the nutritional norm from existing 300 calories and 8-12 gram protein to minimum 450 Calories and 12 gram of protein. Central Government has also decided to provide assistance to construct kitchen-cum-store, in a phased manner, utilizing the fund of the Scheme itself where convergence with other programme as stated in the MDM guidelines 2004, is not feasible. Assistance for cooking / kitchen devices (gas stove with connection, stainless steel water storage tank, cooking and serving utensils etc.) in a phased manner @ Rs 5,000 per school.

In September 2007, the name of the Scheme was changed from 'National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education 'to 'National Programme of Mid Day Meal in Schools' and the Scheme was extended to cover children of upper primary classes (i.e. class VI to VIII) studying in 3,479 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) w.e.f. 1 October 2007. It was decided to provide food grains @ 150 gram per child per school day for upper primary stage. The calorific value of the Mid Day Meal for upper primary stage was fixed at 700 Calories and 20 grams of protein. The existing system of reimbursement of transport subsidy to States / UTs was modified to grant-in-aid system like other components of Central assistance under the Scheme. It was also decided to increase the Central assistance for cooking cost by 5 per cent every 2 years beginning 2008-09.

The Scheme was further revised in April 2008 to cover all upper primary schools of country and also to include recognized Madrasas / Maqtabs supported under SSA as Government Aided schools as well as those Madrasas / Maqtabs which may not be registered or recognized but supported under SSA as EGS / AIE intervention in coordination with State Project Directors of SSA.

The Scheme was again revised in November 2009.

The objective of the mid day meal scheme is to address two of the pressing problems for majority of children in India, viz. hunger and education by:

(i) Improving the nutritional status of children in classes I-VIII in Government, Local Body and Government aided schools, and EGS and AIE centres.

(ii) Encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities.

(iii) Providing nutritional support to children of primary stage in drought affected areas during summer vacation.

The National Programme of Mid Day Meal in Schools (NP-MDMS) presently covers all children studying in Classes I-VIII in Government, Government Aided and Local Body Schools, Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) and Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) centres including Madrasas and Maqtabs supported under SSA.

The Scheme has the following Components:

(i) Borne entirely by Central Government

(a) Supply of free food grains @ 100 gms per child per school day for primary and @ 150 gms for upper primary stage from FCI godowns.

(b) Assistance for transportation of foodgrains from FCI godowns to the schools.

(c) For North Eastern States and Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand at the rate prevalent under the public distribution system (w.e.f. 1 December 2009).

(d) For all other states and UTs @ Rs 75 per quintal.

(e) Assistance for Monitoring Management & Evaluation, (MME) at the rate of 2 per cent of total cost of (a) food grains, (b) transport cost and (c) cooking cost.

(ii) Shared with the states /UTs.

(a) Cooking cost Rs 2.69 per child per day for primary classes and Rs 4.03 per child per day for upper Primary Classes w.e.f. 1 April 2010. This cost will be revised by 7.5 tonn from 1.4.2011.

(b) Payment of honorarium of Rs 1000 per month to cook-cum-helper.

(c) Assistance for the cost of construction of kitchen cum store to be determined on the basis of plinth area norm and State Schedule of

(d) The cooking cost, honorarium for cooks-cum-help and the cost of construction of kitchen-cum-stores will be shared between the Centre and the NER States on 90:10 basis and with other States/UTs on 75:25 basis.

Under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, a total budget provision of Rs 48,000.00 crore has been allocated by Planning commission during the 11th Five Year Plan. This includes both, the Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) as well as the contribution from the Prarambhik Shiksha Kosh (PSK).

To offset the rise in prices, the Government brought out following changes in the scheme in 2009.

i) Cooking cost for primary and upper primary stage was enhanced to Rs 2.50 per child for Primary and Rs 3.75 per child for Upper Primary children for the balance period of financial year 2009-10 from 1 December 2009 and further enhanced by 7.5 per cent w.e.f. 1 April 2010. Accordingly, the share of the Centre and the minimum share of the State/UTs. with effect from 1 April 2010 is as under:

Stage Total Cost Centre-State sharing per meal Non-NER States (75:25) NER States (90:10)


Cooking cost includes costs of pulses, vegetables, cooking oil and condiments, fuel etc.

ii) Honorarium of Rs 1000 per month from 1 December 2009 to cook-cum-helper and engagement of one cook-cum-helper for schools upto 25 students, two cooks-cum-helpers for schools with 26 to 100 students and one additional cookcum- helper for every addition of 100 students. The expenditure towards the honorarium of cook-cum-helper is shared between the Centre and the NER States on 90:10 basis.

iii) Instead of a flat rate of Rs 60,000 for construction of kitchen-cum-store per school across the country, the construction cost is to be determined on the basis of plinth area norms and State Schedule of Rate prevalent in the State/ UT. The cost of construction of Kitchen-cum-stores is shared from 1 December 2009 between the centre and the NER States on 90:10 basis. 20 sq. mt. plinth area has been prescribed for construction of Kitchen-cum-Store in schools having upto 100 children. For every additional upto 100 children, additional 4 sq. mt. plinth area will be added. States/UTs have the flexibility to modify the slab of 100 children depending upon the local conditions.

iv) Transportation assistance in the 11 Special Category States (viz. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Tripura) at par with the PDS rates prevalent in these States.

Monitoring Mechanism

The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development has prescribed a comprehensive and elaborate mechanism for monitoring and supervision of the Mid Day Meal Scheme. The monitoring mechanism includes the following :

Arrangements for local level monitoring

Representatives of Gram Panchayats/Gram Sabhas, members of VECs, PTAs,

SDMCs as well as Mothers' Committees are required to monitor the (i) regularity and wholesomeness of the mid day meal served to children, (ii) cleanliness in cooking and serving of the mid day meal, (iii) timeliness in procurement of good quality ingredients, fuel, etc. (iv) implementation of varied menu and (v) social and gender equity. This is required to be done on a daily basis.

Display of Information under Right to Information Act

In order to ensure that there is transparency and accountability, all schools and centres where the programme is being implemented are required to display information suo-moto. This includes information on :

i. Quality of foodgrains received, date of receipt.

ii. Quantity of foodgrains utilized.

iii. Other ingredients purchased, utilized

iv. Number of children given mid day meal.

v. Daily Menu

vi. Roster of Community Members involved in the programme. Inspections by State Government Officers

Officers of the State Government/UTs belonging to the Departments of Revenue, Rural Development, Education and other related sectors, such as Women and Child Development, Food, Health are also required to inspect schools and centres where the programme is being implemented. It has been recommended that 25 per cent of primary schools/EGS & AIE centres are visited every quarter.

Responsibility of Food Corporation of India (FCI)

The FCI is responsible for the continuous availability of adequate food grains in its Depots (and in Principal Distribution Centres in the case of North East Region). It allows lifting of food grains for any month/quarter up to one month in advance so that supply chain of food grains remains uninterrupted.

For the NP-NSPE, 2006, the FCI is mandated to issue foodgrains of best available quality, which will in any case be at least of Fair Average Quality (FAQ). The FCI appoints a Nodal Officer for each State to take care of various problems in supply of food grains under the MDM Programme. The payment of cost of food grains to the FCI has been decentralized to the district level.

The District Collector/CEO of Zila Panchayat ensures that food grains of at least FAQ are issued by FCI after joint inspection by a team consisting of FCI and the nominee of the Collector and/or Chief Executive Officer, District Panchayat, and confirmation by them that the grain conforms to at least FAQ norms.


Pursuant to the objectives of the NPE, 1986, the Mahila Samakhya Scheme was started in 1989 to translate the goals enshrined in the NPE into a concrete programme for the education and empowerment of women in rural areas particularly those from socially and economically marginalized groups. The MS scheme recognizes the centrality of education in empowering women to achieve equality. The Mahila Sanghas or women's collectives at the village level provide the women a space to meet, reflect, ask questions and articulate their thoughts and needs and make informed choices.

The Mahila Sanghas through various programmes and awareness campaigns have brought about a change in the outlook of rural women and the effects can now be seen in various facets of life at home within the family, the community and at the block and panchayat levels. The programme has also focused on awareness of the need to educate the children, especially girls, to give the equal status and opportunities which has resulted in a direct impact on enrolment and retention of girls in schools.

The Mahila Samakhya Scheme is currently being implemented in 104 districts of ten States, viz., Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand spread over 102 districts and covering more than 21,000 villages. Currently, DFID (UK) is providing assistance of £ 35 million sterling to this programme on the basis of a 90:10 fund sharing pattern between DFID and Government of India for a seven year period 2007-14. The projected budgetary outlay for the 11th Plan is Rs 210 crore, wherein Rs 46 crore has been allocated for the year 2010-11.


I. Centrally sponsored scheme of Teacher Education was launched in 1987-88 with, inter alia, the following components:

1. Establishment of District Institute of Education & Training (DIETs)-by upgradation of existing Elementary Teacher Education Institutions (ETEIs) wherever possible, and establishment of new DIET where necessary.

2. Upgradation of selected Secondary Teacher Education Institutions (STETIs) into :

(a) Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) and

(b) Institutes of Advanced Study in Education (IASEs).

3. Strengthening of State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs).

II. The Scheme was revised under the 10th Plan in 2003 and the revised guidelines were issued in January 2004. The main objectives of the Teacher Education Scheme are as follows:

1. Speedy completion of DIET/CTE/IASE/SCERT projects sanctioned but not completed up to the end of the 9th Plan period.

2. Making DIETs, IASEs sanctioned (and SCERTs strengthened) upto the 9th Plan period, optimally functional and operational.

3. Sanction and implementation of fresh DIET/CTE/IASE/SCERT projects to the extent necessary.

4. Improvement in the quality of programmes to be undertaken by DIETs, etc. especially those of pre-service and in-service training, so as to enable them to effectively play their nodal role of improving quality of elementary and secondary education in their respective jurisdiction, as measured in terms of levels of learner achievements.

III. Criteria for setting up of DIETs/District Resource Centre (DRC) are :

1. One DIET for each district having a minimum of 2,500 teachers. If there is an existing Government ETEI in the district, it would be upgraded into a DIET. If no Government ETEI exists in the district, a new institution (DIET) will be established.

2. District Resource Centres in districts with less than 2,500 teachers. If a Government ETEI exists in the district, it would be upgraded into a DRC, otherwise, a new DRC would be established in which case it would not conduct pre-service course.

3. If in a district with more than 2,500 teachers, State Government wishes to establish a DRC in preference to a DIET, it would be able to do so.

IV. In order to make proposals for the 11th Plan for Teacher Education, a subgroup under the chairmanship of Director, NCERT was set up. Based on the recommendations of the sub-group, in addition to strengthening the existing provisions of the scheme, certain new schemes are proposed to be incorporated during 11th Plan. Some of the recommendations of the Report are:

• Funding should have a 75:25 Centre-State sharing ratio (90:10 for North Eastern States).

• 10-12 per cent DIETs to be upgraded to College level.

• DIETs should have linkages with universities, colleges and well established private institutions.

• Establish a DIET in a block in 196 identified districts with minority/SC/ ST concentration.

• 2-Year B.Ed Programme should be gradudly promoted in the CTEs. Stipened may be provided to the trainee during internship with schools.

• Recruitment should focus on proper qualifications.

• Central funds should be routed directly to State Education Secretaries, then to the SCERTS for onward disbursement to the IASEs, CTEs and DIETs.

V. As per the Notification issued on 23.8.2010 for minimum qualifications for being eligible to be appointed in classes I to VIII, Teacher Eligibility Test has been made one of the essential qualifications.


The National Bal Bhavan is an autonomous organisation fully funded by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Department of School Education and Literacy.

Since its inception in 1956, it is a creativity resource centre for children in the age group of 5-16 years. The Bal Bhavan as a movement has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the length and breadth of the country and today there are 154 State Bal Bhavans and 77 Bal Bhavan Kendras affiliated to National Bal Bhavan. Through affiliated Bal Bhavans and Bal Kendras, National Bal Bhavan reaches out to school drop-outs, children of socially and economically backward class, street children and also the special children. Several schools of Delhi have also taken up the membership of National Bal Bhavan and this joint and consolidated effort of nonformal institution has indeed made creative enhancement of children a grand success.

National Bal Bhavan is engaged in pursuits for the integrated growth of the child by involving them in various activities in a tension free environment irrespective of their gender, caste, creed, colour etc. To mention a few, the activities are clay modelling, papier mache, music, dance, drama, painting, crafts, museum activities, photography, videography, indoor & outdoor games, home management, traditional art & craft, educational & innovative games/chess, science is fun etc.

Some of the special attractions of the National Bal Bhavan are Mini Train, Mini Zoo, Fish Corner, Science Park, Funny Mirrors and Culture Craft Village. It has National Training Resource Centre (NTRC) within its premises which imparts training to teachers on diverse activities. The main aim and focus of this resource centre is to train the teachers in the all round growth and personality development of children as the teacher's community is well versed with the social, economical, emotional, intellectual and psychological needs of children. The workshop of NTRC also aims to make both teaching and learning a joyful experience for teachers and students respectively.

National Bal Bhavan has also launched a scheme to identify, honour and nurture the creative children of India irrespective of their socio-economic status. The rationale behind this scheme—'The Bal Shree Scheme'—is that creativity is a human potential that directly relates to self-expression and self-development. This scheme seeks to identify creative children within the age group of 5-16 years in four identified areas of creativity, i.e. creative art, creative performance, creative scientific innovations, and creative writing. This scheme was put into effect in 1995 and since then children have been identified and honoured for their creative elegance in their concerned fields.

In addition National Bal Bhavan organises several Local, National and International Programmes, viz. Workshops, Trekking Programmes, Talk Shows, Camps, Observance of various days i.e. Earth Day, Environment Day, International Children's Assembly, Youth Environmentalist Conference, Education for All, All India Chairperson's and Directors Conference under the able guidance of Ministry of Human Resource Development. Besides, National Bal Bhavan also deputes its children from different parts of India to various countries under the Cultural Exchange Programmes and these children act as young ambassadors of the subcontinent's socio-cultural ethos. Besides, member children of National Bal Bhavan, affiliated Bal Bhavans across the country and member school/institute of National Bal Bhavan also participate in International Painting Competition on the themes that are of global concern.


The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was established on 17 August 1995 with a view to achieving planned and co-ordinated development of teacher education system throughout the country and for regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards of teacher education. Some of the major functions of NCTE are: laying down norms for various teacher education courses, recognition of teacher education institutions, laying down guidelines in respect of minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers, surveys and studies, research and innovations, prevention of commercialisation of teacher education, etc.

Four Regional Committees of the Council have been set up for Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western regions respectively. These regional Committees primarily look after recognition of teacher training institutions in their respective regions and are empowered to grant permission to these institutions to run teacher training courses as per the provisions of the National Council for Teacher Education Act. As on 31 December 2010, 12,050 teacher training institutions offering 16,940 courses have been recognised by NCTE with an approved intake of 11.30 lakh teacher trainees.

The NCTE revised its existing regulations and norms and standards and notified NCTE (Recognition norms and Procedures) 2009. While norms and standards for M.Ed. (Part time) and B.P.Ed (Integrated) courses have been dropped, the norms and standards for diploma in visual arts and performing arts have been introduced for the first time.


The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002, inserted Article 21A in the Constitution which provides for free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.

In order to put in place a suitable legislation as envisaged under Article 21A, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 was passed by the Parliament on 4 August 2009 and the RTE was published in the Gazette of India on 27 August 2009. The RTE Act, inter alia, seeks to provide that every child has a right to be provided full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. The Constitution (Eighty-sixth amendment) Act, 2002 and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 have come into force w.e.f. 1 April 2010.

The RTE Act provides children in the 6-14 age group the legal entitlement to free and compulsory education. It has considerable implications for the implementation strategies of SSA. Steps have been taken to harmonise the vision, strategy and norms under SSA with the RTE mandate. As per roadmap of RTE (i) neighbourhood schools are to be established upto 31.3.2013, (ii) provisions of school infrastructure and teachers are to be made upto 31.3.2013.

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