PHASE I- GENERAL AWARENESS
PHASE II- ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ISSUES
TOPIC- SOCIAL SECTORS IN INDIA, EDUCATION
- Saakshar Bharat has been formulated in 2009 with the objective of achieving 80% literacy level by 2012 at national level, by focusing on adult women literacy seeking – to reduce the gap between male and female literacy to not more than 10 percentage points.
- The mission has four broader objectives, namely
- imparting functional literacy and numeracy to non-literates;
- acquiring equivalency to formal educational system;
- imparting relevant skill development programme; and
- Promote a leaning society by providing opportunities for continuing education.
- The principal target of the mission is to impart functional literacy to 70 million non-literate adults in the age group of 15 years and beyond.
- The mission will cover 14 million SCs, 8 million STs, 12 million minorities & 36 million others. The overall coverage of women will be 60 million.
- Eligibility criteria for coverage under Saakshar Bharat. –
A district, including a new district carved out of an erstwhile district that had adult female literacy rate of 50 per cent or below, as per 2001 census, is eligible for coverage under the Saakshar Bharat programme.
In addition, all left wing extremism-affected districts, irrespective of their literacy rate, are also eligible for coverage under the programme.
- Article 21-A/ Right to Education Act, 2009
- Background –
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.
- Article 21-A and the RTE Act came into effect on 1 April 2010.
- The RTE Act provides for the:
Right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school.
- It clarifies that ‘compulsory education’ means obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group. ‘Free’ means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
- It makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
- It specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority and parents
in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
- It lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school-working days, teacher-working hours.
- It provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified pupil teacher ratio is maintained for each school, rather than just as an average for the State or District or Block, thus ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme (Nutrition based Education Program to Ensure more Presence)
- The MDMS is the world’s largest school meal programme and reaches an estimated 12 crore children across 12 lakh schools in India.
- The MDMS emerged out of the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP -NSPE), a centrally sponsored scheme formulated in 1995 to improve enrollment, attendance and retention by providing free food grains to government run primary schools. In 2002, the Supreme Court directed the government to provide cooked mid day meals (as opposed to providing dry rations) in all government and government aided primary schools.
- Calorie norms for the meals have been regularly revised starting from 300 calories in 2004, when the scheme was relaunched as the Mid Day Meal Scheme. At present the MDMS provides children in government aided schools and education centres a cooked meal for a minimum of 200 days. Table 1 outlines the prescribed nutritional content of the meals.
- The key objectives of the MDMS are to address the issues of hunger and education in schools
- by serving hot cooked meals; improve the nutritional status of children and improve enrollment, attendance and retention rates in schools and other education centres.
- The cost of the MDMS is shared between the central and state governments. The central government provides free food grains to the states. The cost of cooking, infrastructure development, transportation of food grains and payment of honorarium to cooks and helpers is shared by the centre with the state governments.
- The central government provides a greater share of funds. The contribution of state governments differs from state to state.
Monitoring and Evaluation:
- There are some interstate variations in the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of the MDMS. A National Steering cum Monitoring Committee and a Programme Approval Board have been established at the national level, to monitor the programme, conduct impact assessments, coordinate between state governments and provide policy advice to central and state governments. Review Missions consisting of representatives from central and state governments and non governmental agencies have been established.
- In addition, independent monitoring institutions such as state universities and research institutions monitor the implementation of the scheme.
- At the state level, a three tier monitoring mechanism exists in the form of state, district and block level steering cum monitoring committees. Gram panchayats and municipalities are responsible for day to day supervision and may assign the supervision of the programme at the school level to the Village Education Committee, School Management and Development Committee or Parent Teacher Association