Process for revision of other norms have been initiated
The executive committee of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has revised several norms of intervention to align them with the standards of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
The State SSA societies have factored in the revised norms in their Annual Work Plans and Budgets (AWP&B) for the year 2010-11, according to Anshu Vaish, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
The issue of aligning SSA with the RTE Act was discussed at the recent Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting. The CABE has also suggested that a Committee be set up in order to look into the complexities of admission of 25% children from the neighbourhood in unaided schools.
The revised norms of the SSA include provision of primary schooling facility within neighbourhood as per norms notified by the appropriate government. Infrastructure would hence include school libraries with books for Rs.3000 for primary school and for Rs.10,000 for upper primary school, Ms. Vaish told The Hindu in an email interview.
“The scope of school grant has been extended to include play material, games, sports equipment, in addition to the existing provision for replacement of non-functional school equipment and for other recurring costs.” Besides revising norms pertaining to teacher training, the financial provisions for children with special needs has also been enhanced from Rs.1,200 per child per year to Rs.3,000, provided that at least Rs.1000 per child will be used for the engagement of resource teachers.
Several other SSA norms require revision, including for example, norms for sanction of teacher posts and construction of classrooms. Processes for revision of these norms have been initiated. “The Ministry of Human Resource Development has been holding a series of one-on-one meetings with the Education Ministers of states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and focussed on issues relating to teacher preparation, teacher recruitment and teacher re-deployment and other related issues in the context of RTE Act,” Ms. Vaish said.
On the modalities of implementing the provision of the Act which talks of reservation of 25 per cent of seats in private schools for underprivileged children, Ms. Vaish said: “The RTE Act provides that 25 per cent children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections will be admitted in unaided schools in class I each year,” she said.
“These children will move to class II and a new lot of 25 per cent children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections will be admitted the following year, and so on.” Thus, for a school to achieve the total strength of 25 per cent children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections will take a period of eight years. For several provisions of the Act, the time frame is 3 years, while interventions related to qualitative aspects would have to start immediately, Ms. Vaish said.