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With 'quality' being relegated to the least priority areas, despite the budget of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) being doubled between 2009-10 and 2011-12 ( 26,169 crore to 55,746 crore), the learning levels have been on constant decline among students. Moreover, even the percentage of schools actually receiving the grants has also declined in last three years in many states.
The Planning Allocations Institutions Studies and Accountability (PAISA) report on rural schools, released by Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Vinod Rai on 20th March, Tuesday, focused on whether our schools are getting the money under SSA allocations, and how the schools have been spending the money and whether increased allocations have improved the outcomes. The findings of the survey conducted across 14,283 rural schools across India have indicated a disturbing trend of negative learning graph despite increased outlays in elementary education. While in 2009, 79% of classes I and II students were able to read letters, words and recognise number 1 to 9, it declined to 72% in 2011. Similarly while 56% of classes III and IV students were able to do subtraction in 2009, the number declined to 47% in 2011. Moreover, while 79% of students from classes I and II were able to recognise numbers 1 to 9, the numbers declined to 74% in 2011. Meanwhile, in 2009 64% students of classes III to V were able to read class I text. The same declined to 58% in 2011. Apart from the declining learning graph, the report also showed how the money received by schools is being spent under different heads. Interestingly, 'children' and 'quality' turned out to be the least prioritised area when it comes to spending of these grants. Children (textbooks, uniforms, transport provision, remedial teaching) received just 10% in 2011 down by 4% from that of 2010. Quality (innovation and learning enhancement programme) received a dismal 4% in 2011. Right from 2009, teachers (salaries, training, learning material and school development grant) continued to receive the largest share of SSA resources, followed by schools (civil works, maintenance). Teachers were allocated 44% of the SSA pie, down by 1% from that of 2009. SSA is the flagship programme of the Government of India for implementing the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Five percentage of the SSA budget are set aside as school grants. So has all schools received all the three grants annually under SSA due to them? Based on 2010-11 figures of the 32 states surveyed, the percentage of schools receiving the grants declined in 14 states. Meghalaya has the worst figures with just 29.73% of its schools receiving their share of SSA grants followed by Tripura with 45.78%. But Daman and Diu is an exception with 100% schools receiving their dues, followed by Puducherry with 96.55% and Himachal Pradesh with 90.42%.
Courtesy: Times of India
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