A separate focus will be given to three cities in the State- Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore- in the next year's budget of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

The separate plan will give thrust for effective implementation of SSA (Education for All) initiatives in these three ‘Million Plus cities’ where the population is over one million, R. Venkatesan, State Project Director, SSA, announced here on Thursday.

“This will be our commitment from next year. There will be separate allocation in the budget and a thorough planning for the Million Plus cities for 2010-11 has been initiated,” he said.

The total allocation for SSA in the State for the current year is Rs.862 crore. Mr. Venkatesan was making a presentation at the inaugural session of ‘Third national workshop cum review meeting of urban planning for the Million Plus cities’ in the country, being organised by the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

One major step taken recently by the SSA in Tamil Nadu was it had formed ‘urban cell’ at State level and district level.

The State Project Director gave an overall view on the quality initiatives taken under ‘Tamil Nadu State Mission of Education for All’ particularly in the context of school dropout rate, interventions for out-of-school children, urban deprived children, street children, migrant population, bridge courses and child-centres learning methodology implemented in schools.

“Dropout rate at primary school level is only 1.23 per cent and it was 1.9 per cent in upper primary level as per 2007-08 data. Children not going to school are being identified by the SSA staff to put them in schools.

Education volunteers were posted for providing education to 314 children staying in juvenile homes in eight districts, Mr. Venkatesan said.

He also spoke about the ‘classroom transactions’ conducted through the Activity Based Learning and Active Learning Methodology by introducing attractive cards and other study material in elementary schools.

‘Million Plus’ Cities

According to SSA officials here, representatives from over 30 cities in the country are participating in the urban planning meet. Some of the cities are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Patna, Amritsar, Allahabad, Meerut, Kanpur, Surat, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Asansol, Surat, Coimbatore and Madurai.

P. K. Tiwari, Director, Ministry of Human Resource Development, said that the meeting is about only to evolve a city-specific SSA action plan through participatory approach.