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India faces shortage of over 4.6 lakh classrooms

Government run schools, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

NEW DELHI: The government today said there was a considerable shortage of classrooms both at elementary and secondary level schools in the country.

“It’s estimated that approximately 2.91 lakh classrooms at elementary level and 1.77 lakh at secondary stage of education are required,” Minister of State for Human Resource Development D Purandeswari said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

However, the minister informed that under Sarva Shikha Abhiyan (SSA), a total of 15.93 classrooms have been sanctioned since inception, including 2.68 lakh in 2010-11 and 2.20 lakh in 2011-12.

Replying to another question, she said only 54.31 per cent schools in the country have common toilets, while 58.82 per cent schools have girls’ toilets and 92.6 per cent schools have drinking water facilities.

She also said that under the Jalmani Programme, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has provided a sum of Rs 200 crore to install stand alone water purification systems in rural schools.

On a question regarding the enrollment of Muslim children in schools, Purandeswari said their number in both primary and upper primary education has been steadily increasing over the last few years.

The enrollment of Muslim children in primary education has gone up from 10.49 per cent in 2007-08 to 11.03 per cent in 2008-09 and reached 13.48 per cent in 2009-10, she said.

A similar increase was also recorded at the upper primary level where 8.54 per cent students enrolled in 2007-08. It rose to 9.13 per cent in 2008-09 and 11.89 per cent in 2009-10, the minister added.

Economic Times, 2 December 2011

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Punjab females less educated than males: SSA

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

PATIALA: Despite tall claims of women empowerment not a single district of Punjab has higher female literacy rate than males. In all districts of Punjab females are less educated than males. It all has been happening despite huge hike of total education plan of state.

As per figures of Sarb Shiksha Abyiyan (SSA), total literacy rate of Punjab is 69.7% with female literacy rate 63.4% and male literacy rate 75.4%. Details show that Hoshiarpur has highest literacy rate of 86.5% in males and 75.3% in females, while Roopnagar is at second place with 84% male and 71.4% in females.

The literacy rate of big cities like of Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Patiala, which is between (72.6 to 82% males and 61% to 73% in females) show that people have started taking care of education. But the lowest literacy rate 58.9% (male) and 45.5% (female) of Mansa district also points that people of this district are not serious about education.

“For low literacy rate among females than males in all district we should not blame only government officers as they could not forcibly take the girls to school. There is a need of change of attitude,” said a senior government officer of the Punjab education department. It all has been happening despite the 12.07% growth in the plan and non-plan expenditure on elementary education of state.

Total plan and non-plan expenditure on elementary education was Rs 2523.67 cr in 2009-10 while during 2010-11 it has registered a 12.07% increase and jumped to Rs 2828 cr.


Times of India
, 7 November 2011

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Infighting sullies education dept image

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

NAGPUR: The education department in the city is plagued with infighting thus keeping it in the news for all the wrong reasons. Education officials keep filing complaints against each other which lead to a never-ending series of inquiries.

There are three prominent education officer posts in the city, namely the deputy director, education officer (middle school) and education officer (primary school).

A source in the Pune-based headquarter of the director (education) told TOI that the complaints against the department have been coming steadily from both outside and within. “There seems to be an increase in the bickerings between education officials in addition to the constant flow of complaints against some or the other officials. One of Nagpur’s education offices is being investigated by a committee headed by their counterparts from neighbouring Amravati. The report of this investigation is expected soon,” said the source.

A major case of internal bickering is being witnessed at the education (middle school) office. The office is facing an inquiry over allegations of wrongful sanctioning of teachers’ posts. While the inquiry against the middle school education office was started after a privilege motion was moved in the state assembly, another version is also doing the rounds.

According to many city schools, when the middle school education officer was on leave last year another official was given charge. This stand-in officer is said to have issued multiple sanctions during his first week itself.

On hearing this, the vacationing education officer rushed back to reclaim his territory. The office witnessed a huge showdown between the two officials, with allegations of kickbacks in sanctions flying thick and fast. Soon the issue was raised in the assembly and an inquiry was initiated. That education officer is known to boast to his colleagues that he had provided all the information necessary to start the inquiry.

Interestingly the same officer is now facing various allegations. The department’s Pune office has received a letter from another education official listing various “misuse of power”.

This stand off between the staff of deputy director (education) office and that of education officer (middle school) is a cause of worry for the schools. A school principal on condition of anonymity, said, “If we visit the deputy director office for some work, somehow the other department gets the information. Immediately next day onwards we get calls for ‘inspection’ and even ‘donations’ for religious festivals. We cannot be perceived as being close to either one.”

Speaking to TOI, MLC Nago Ganar (teachers constituency), said, “The fight between the two offices is only to get a lion’s share of kickbacks. In my view Nagpur is one of the most corrupt places when it comes to the education department and I am ashamed of it. Corruption and infighting is rampant which is hampering the growth of the education sector. I have raised the issues many times in the assembly to set things right and I hope that in the future things will be better.”

The Times of India, 30 September 2011

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Govt revises SSA norms

Right to Education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

Aiming at smooth implementation of the Right to Education Act, the Government today approved revision of existing norms of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan programme to bring it in conformity with the Act. The SSA, a major flagship programme of the Government to universalise elementary education in the country, will be the main vehicle for implementation of the RTE Act. The revised SSA norms, vetted by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), includes provision for teachers and classroom, support for academic supervision, research evaluation and monitoring and opening of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas.

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Fund utilisation under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan satisfactory: Sibal

Finances & Budgets, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said foreign funds makes up for six per cent of total allocation for the ambitious Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme, adding that fund utilisation under it has been satisfactory. “In 2009-10, Rs 12,781.07 crore were released by the Centre to States, up from Rs 12,604.81 crore in 2008-09 and Rs 11,426.26 crore in 2007-08. The allocation as percentage of GDP, however, declined from 0.25 per cent in 2007-08 to 0.24 per cent in 2008-09 and 0.22 per cent in 2009-10,” said Sibal.

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Kerala, Himachal top fund utilisation for education programme

Finances & Budgets, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have been the best performers in utilising funds under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), and West Bengal a poor one, says a study. Of the schools that have received school maintenance or development grants under the SSA (universalisation of education), half of them do not have usable toilets, and one-fifth do without working hand pumps. And 27 per cent schools that received classroom grants had not built a new classroom.

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U.K. doesn’t intend to probe Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for corruption

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

The United Kingdom has told India that it does not propose to investigate the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme for alleged corruption vis-à-vis the grants provided by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID).

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Govt schools asked to refund excess fee

Right to Education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

Keeping in view the Right to Education Act, the higher authorities of education department have asked all the government schools to refund fees charged from students from Classes I to VIII.

According to instructions issued by Krishan Kumar, Director General Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Punjab, all the government schools are supposed to refund fees to students from Class I to Class VIII from April to June.

“Following these instructions, parents of wards studying in government schools have welcomed this decision. However, teachers feel the pinch and are calling it extra work.

A government school principal said, “We collected three types of funds from students —amalgamated fund, parent-teacher association fund and physical education fund—and deposited these accordingly. Now, we will have to withdraw this amount from the respective bank accounts and distribute it to students of our respective schools. It is a very time consuming exercise.” While another government schoolteacher said, “The government schools will reopen onJuly 1 and we have been asked to ensure 100 per cent attendance from the very first day. And on the same day, the monthly tests will start. We are in a fix as many children who belong to UP and Bihar do not turn up on the very first day after vacations, so how they would appear in the monthly test.”

Despite repeated attempts, none of the officers from the district education office could be contacted.

Anupam Bhagria, Indian Express, July 02 2010

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Govt shocked over reports on embezzlement of UK grants in SSA

Finances & Budgets, MHRD, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan

The government on Tuesday expressed shock over reports of embezzlement of UK grants in Sarva Siksha Abhiyan scheme and said that the flagship programme follows “rigorous and robust monitoring system”.
A day after the British government launched an inquiry into the alleged misuse of its funds under SSA, Department of School Education and Literacy under HRD Ministry here said it will write to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of External Affairs in this regard.
Britain’s International Development secretary Andrew Mitchell had yesterday said the UK Government will have a zero tolerance policy to corruption.
The Department of School Education and Literacy said the SSA is supported largely by domestic resources. Since inception, the Government of India and state governments have invested Rs 91,431 crore in the SSA.
SSA was partially funded by Development Partners like World Bank, DFID and EU to the tune of Rs 4700 crore from 2004-05 to 2006-07 and Rs 4330 crore from 2007-08 to 2009-10.
“Since inception DFID has reimbursed Rs 2500 crore, which represents 2.7 per cent of the total investment under SSA,” it said in a press statement.
A report in the ‘The News of the World’ had quoted India’s Auditor General as saying that almost 14 million pounds had been spent on items and luxuries that had nothing to do with schools.
The HRD Ministry’s statement said expenditure under SSA is incurred as per well defined norms. Up to six per cent of SSA funds can be spent on office expenses and management such as office equipment, salary and fee of resource persons, rentals for office space and vehicles, it said.
The statement said SSA follows a rigorous and robust monitoring system, which includes concurrent financial review by independent agency, annual statutory audit by chartered accountants, internal audit by states, quarterly review meetings with financial controllers and periodic performance audit by C&AG.
Besides, SSA has a system of bi-annual joint review missions in which the development partners participate. DFID has been an active participant in all the JRMs.
“The last JRM was held in January 2010. The JRM observed with appreciation the continued progress made towards SSA goals since the last mission submitted its report,” it said quoting the mission’s report.
SSA works on the basic principle of self disclosure and transparency. All cases of deviations from guidelines are dealt with severely. The States themselves have conducted enquiries and lodged FIRs besides special audits commissioned by the Centre. Appropriate disciplinary action has also been initiated, where necessary, the statement said.

Hindustan Times, June 21 2010

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Govt shocked over reports on embezzlement of UK grants in SSA

Finances & Budgets, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Uncategorized
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