Of the total budget, teachers accounted for the largest share at 44%, while the children received just 10%

As many as 68 per cent of the elementary schools in India spent a bulk of the funds received under the much talked about Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) on whitewashing the buildings and another 69 per cent used some of the money to fund school events. Of the total budget, teachers accounted for the largest share at 44 per cent while the children received only 10 per cent.

On an average, about 90 per cent schools that received the money reported spending a bulk of their money on essential supplies, including whitewashing.

The latest PAISA 2011 report on tracking public expenditure on schools, brought out by Accountability Initiative, suggests India's SSA budget (Centre and State share) has more than doubled between 2009-10 and 2011-12, up from Rs.26,169 crore to Rs.55,746 crore, as has the per child allocation, from Rs.2,004 in 2009-2011 to Rs.4,269 in 2011-12.

Releasing the report, Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai said it was time to review the SSA.

However, allocations to teachers (salaries, training and teaching inputs under the Teacher Learning Equipment) accounted for the largest share of the SSA budget. In 2011-12, teachers accounted for 44 per cent of the budget, school infrastructure accounted for the second largest share with an allocation of 36 per cent, while children (entitlement and special programmes) accounted for 10 per cent.

There are variations in allocations across States. In 2011-12, Bihar allocated 32 per cent of its SSA budget to teachers, 51 per cent to school infrastructure, while Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan allocated 72 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively to teachers.

There are variations in outlays for States with allocations in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal doubling, while those for Haryana and Jharkhand rising minimally at 39 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

The report “Do Schools Get Their Money?” is based on the PAISA survey conducted through the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) that covered more than 14,000 schools across rural India in 2009, 2010 and 2011. As per the report, grant receipts to schools under the SSA improved from 77 per cent in 2008-08 to 84 per cent in 2009-2010, but declined marginally at 82 per cent in 2010-2011. There are some differences across grant type. In 2010-2011, 84 per cent schools reported receiving maintenance grant, 87 per cent received Teacher Learning Material grant and 77 per cent, the development grant.

While schools get money, data suggests they don't always report receiving the entire entitlement. It is important to note that on close examination of the data there were cases where respondents had not indicated the types of grants and instead reported receipt of one consolidated figure, indicating the lack of awareness among the headmasters, the primary respondents of the survey.

Overall, the quantum of grants received in schools has improved. In 2008-09, 55 per cent schools reported receiving all three grants. This improved to 70 per cent in 2010-11. Here also, there were variations. Grant receipts in Rajasthan improved from 38 per cent schools that reported receiving all three grants in 2008-09 to 54 per cent. Himachal Pradesh also saw a significant improvement from 71 per cent schools receiving all three grants in 2008-09 to 90 per cent in 2010-11.

However, the report points out that increased outlays in elementary education have not led to improved outcomes. To examine this in greater details, PAISA 2011 undertook a preliminary analysis of the links between per child expenditure under specific categories (teachers, school, children, quality) and learning outcomes. To do this, PAISA analysed per child expenditure data for 2009-10 and ASER learning level data for 2010. This analysis pointed to a positive correlation between per child expenditure on quality and learning levels. “This correlation merits further analysis, especially because expenditure on quality is relatively low and is usually incurred towards the end of the financial year. Interestingly, PAISA did not find any correlation between the expenditure on teachers and children's learning levels,” the report said.

On progress on Right to Education (RTE) front, the report says there has not been much progress in compliance with various RTE-related norms. This is despite a 137 per cent increase in SSA infrastructure budget between 2009-10 and 2011-12. The proportion of schools with shortfall in the number teachers, classrooms, drinking water facilities, kitchen/shed, playground, complete boundary wall, a separate room for the headmaster has remained more or less unchanged between 2010 and 2011. However, there has been progress in provision of separate toilet for girls, and library books.

  • 68% elementary schools spent bulk of funds on whitewashing; 69% to fund school events

  • Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai released report saying it is time to review SSA