Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAN: PROGRAMME FOR UNIVERSAL ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN INDIA, Department of Elementary Education and Literacy, MHRD, Government of India, New Delhi, 2000.

(Copy Right: MHRD, Government of India)

Recently the Government of India has launched a new programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to achieve the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education of Satisfactory Quality by 2010. The programme that was approved recently by the Union Cabinet, Government of India is reproduced below.

Aligning SSA Norms with the RTE Act, 2009


In accordance with the Constitutional commitment to ensure free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years, provision of universal elementary education has been a. salient feature of national policy since independence. This resolve has been spelt out emphatically in the National Policy of Education (NPE), IWC) and the Programme of Action (POA) 1992. A number of schemes and programmes were launched in pursuance of the emphasis embodied in the NPE and the POA. These included the scheme of Operation Blackboard (OB); Non Formal Education (NFE); Teacher Education (TE); Mahila Samakhya (MS); State specific Basic Education Projects like the Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP), Bihar Education Project (BEP, Lok Jumbish (LJP) in Rajasthan, Education For All Project in Uttar Pradesh; Shiksha Karmi Project ( SKP) in Rajasthan; National Programme of Nutritionalа Support to Primary Education (MDM); District Primary Education Programme ( DPEP).

Why Elementary Education

Social justice and equity are by themselves a strong argument for providing basic education for all. It is an established fact that basic education improves the level of human well – being especially with regard to life expectancy, infant mortality, nutritional status of children/etc. Studies have shown that universal basic education significantly contributes to economic growth.

Constitutional, Legal and National Statements for UEE

The Constitutional, legal/ and national policies and statements have time and again upheld the cause of Universal elementary education.

Constitutional mandate 1950 – “The State shall endeavour to provide, witliin a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of’14 years.”
National Policy of Education 1986 – “It shall be ensured that free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality is provided to all chidlren up to 14 years of age before we enter the twenty frist century”.
Unnikrishnan Judgement, 1993 – “Every childr/citizen of this country has a right to free education until he completes the age of fourteen years.”
Education MinistersТ Resolve,1998 – “Universal elementary education should be purused in the mission mode. It emphasised the need to pursue a holistic and covnergent approach towards UEE.”
National Committee’s Report on UEE in the Mission Mode: 1999 – UEE should be pursued in a mission mode with a holistic and convergent approach with emphasis on preparation of District Elementary Education Plans for UEE. It supported the fundamental right ot education and desired quick action towards opeatinlization of the mission mode towards UEE.
The Scenario So Far

Consequent to several efforts, India has made enormous progress in terms of increase in insittutions, teachers, and students in elementary education. The number ofа schools in the coutnry increased four fold – form 2,31000 in 1950 – 51 to 9,30,000 in 1989-99, while enrolment in the primary cycle jumped by about six times from 19.2 million to 110 million. At the upper Primary stage, the increase of enrolment during the period was 13 times, while enrolment of girls recorded a huge rise of 32 times. The Gross Enrolmentа Ratio (GER) at the Primary stage has exceeded 100 percent. Access to schools is no longer a major problem. At the priamry stage, 94 percent of the country’s rural population has schooling facilties within one kilometre and the upper primary stage it is 84 percent.

The country has made impressive achievement in the elementary education sector. But the flip side is that out of the 200 million children in the age group of 6 – 14 years, 59 million children are not attending school. Of this, 35 million are girls and 24 million are boys. There are problems relating to drop – out rate, low levels of learning achievement and low participation of girls, tribals and other disadvantaged groups. There are still at least one lakh habitations in the country without schooling facility within a kilometre. Coupled with it are various systemic issues like inadequate school infrastucture, poorly functioning schools, high teacher absenteeism, large number of teacher vacancies, poor quality of education and inadequate funds.

In short, the country is yet to achieve the elusive goal of Universalisation of Elementary education (UEE), which means 100 percent enrolment and retenion of children with schooling facilities in all habitations. It is to fill this gap that the Government has launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a historic stride towards achieving the long cherished goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) through a time bound integrated approach, in partnership with State. SSA, which promises to change the face of the elementary education sector of the country, aims to provide useful and quality elementary education to all children in the 6 -14а age group by 2010.

The SSA is an effort to recognize the need for improving the performance of the school system and to provide community owned quality elementary education in mission mode. It also envisages bridging of gender and social gaps.

  • All children in school, Education Guarantee Centre, Alternate School, ‘ to School’ camp by 2003;
  • All children complete five years of primary schooling by 2007;
  • All children complete eight years of schooling by 2010;
  • Focus on elementary education of satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life;
  • Bridge all gender and social category gaps at primary stage by 2007 and at elementary educaiton level by 2010;
  • Universal retention by 2010.
Structure for Implementation

The Central and Slate governments will together implement the SA in partnership with the local governments and .the community. To signify the national priority for elementary education, a National Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Mission is being established with the Prime Minister as the Chairperson and the Union Minister of Human Resource Development as the Vice Chairperson. States have been requested to establish State level Implementation Society for DEE under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister Education Minister. This has already been done in many States.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will not disturb existing structures in States and districts but would only try to bring convergence in all these efforts. Efforts will be made to ensure that there is functional decentralization down to the school level in order to improve community participation. Besides recognizing PRIs/ Tribal Councils in Scheduled Areas/ including the Gram Sabha, the States would be encouraged to enlarge the accountability framework by involving NGOs/ teachers, activists/ women’s organizations etc.

Coverage and Period

The SSA will cover the entire expanse of the country before March 2002 and the duration of the programme in every district will depend upon the District Elementary Education Plan ( DEEP) prepared by it as per its specific needs. However, the upper limit for the programme period has been fixed as ten-years/ i.e./ up to 2010.

Strategies Central to SSA programme

Institutional reforms- As part of the SSA, institutional reforms in the States will be carried out. The states will liave to make an objective assessment of their prevalent education system including educational adminstration, achievement levels in schools, financial issues, decentralisation and community ownership, review of State Education Act, rationalization of teacher deployment and recruitment of teachers, monitoring and evaluation, education of girls, SC/ST and disadvantaged groups, policyа regarding private schools and ECCE. Many States have already effected insitutional reforms to improve the delivery system for elementary education.

Sustainable Financing – The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is based on the premise that financing of elementary education interventions has to be sustainable. This calls for a long – term perspective on financial partnership between tlic Central and the State governments.

Community ownership – The programme calls for community ownership of school based interventions through effective decentralisation. This null be augmented by involvement of women’s groups, VEC members and members of Pancliayati Raj institutions.

Institutional capacity building -The SSA conceives a major capacity building role for national and state level-institutions like NIEPA/NCERT/NCTE/SCERT/S1EMAT. Improvement in quality requires a sustainable support system of resource persons.

Improving mainstream educational administration – It calls for improvement of mainstream educational administration by institutional development, infusion of new approaches, and by adoption of cost effective and efficient methods.

Community based monitoring full with full transparency- The Programme will have a community based monitoring system. The Educational Management Information System (EMIS) will correlate school level data with community based information from micro planning and surveys. Besides this, every school will have a notice board showing all the grants received by the school and other details.

Habitation as a unit of planning -The SSA works on a community based approach to planning with habitation as a unit of planning. Habitation plans will be the basis for formulating district plans.

Accountability to community- SSA envisages cooperation between teachers,а parents and PRIs, as well as accountability and transparency.

Education of girlsа – Education of girls, especially those belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, will be one of the principal concerns in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Focus on special groups – There will be a focus on the educational participation of children from SC/ST, religious and linguistic minorities disadvantaged groups and the disabled children.

Pre Project phase – SSA will commence throughout the country with a well planned pre project phase that provides for a large number of interventions for capacity development to improve the delivery and monitoring system.

Thrust on quality – SSA lays a special ilirust on making education at elementary level useful and relevant for children by improving tlie curriculum, cliilil centred activities mid effective tcaclnng mctliods.

Role of teachers – SSA recognizes tlic critical role of teadiers and advocates a focus on their development needs. Setting up of BRC/CRC, recruitment of qualified teadiers, oportunities for teacher development through tlirougfiparticiaption in curriculum rel;ated material developmetn, focus on classroom procescs and exposure vistis for icndiers nir ill! designed to develop tlie human resource among teadiers.

District Elementary Education Plans – As per the SSA framework, endl (lislrici will prepare a District Elementary Education Plan reflecting all the investments being made in Hie cleiiieiilnry education seclor, zuilli n lioHslic and convergent uppi-ondi.

Components of SSA

The components of Sarva Sluksha Abhiyan includes appointment of teachers, teacher training, qualitative improvement of elementary cducatin, provision of teaching learning materials, establishment of Block and Cluster Resource Centres for academic support, construction of Classrooms and school buildings, establishment of education guarantee centres, integrated education of the disabled and distance education.

Requirement of Financial Resources For UEE

According to broad assessments made by the Department of Elementary Education & Literacy, nearly Rs. 60,000 crores additional resources are required from the budget of the Central and the State level Departments over the next ten years. Since SSA is a programme for universalisation of elementary education, the actual requirement of funds can only be worked out after the District Elementary Education Plans are finalized. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has two aspects – 1) It provides a wide convergent framework for implementation of Elementary Education schemes; II) It is also a programme with budget provision for strengthening vital areas to achieve universalisation of elementary education. While all investments in the elementary education sector from the State and the Central Plans will reflect as part of the SSA framework, they will all merge into the SSA programme within the next few years. As a programme, it reflects the additional resource provision for UEE.

Financial Norms
  • The assistance under the programme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan could be on a 85:15 sharing arrangement during the IX Plan, 75:25 sharing arrangement during the X Plan, and 50:50 thereafter between the Central government and Stale governments. Commitments regarding sharing of costs would be taken from State governments in writing.
  • Stales will be required to maintain their level of allocation for elementary education in real terms on the base year 1999-2000. The share of stales under SSA programme will be over and above the base year allocation.
  • The Government of India would release funds to the State Governments/Union Territories only and installments {except first) would only be released after the previous instalments of Central government and State share has been transferred to the State Implementation Society.
  • The support for teacher salary appointed under the SSA programme could be shared between the central government and the State government in a ratio 0/8 5:15 during the IX Plan. 75:25 during the X Plan and 50:50 thereafter.
  • All legal agreements regarding externally assisted projects will continue to apply unless specific modifications have been agreed to in consultation with foreign funding agencies.
  • Existing schemes of elementary education of the Department (except National Bal Bhawan and NCTE) will converge after the IX Plan. The National Programme for Nutritional Support to Primary Education (Mid Day Meal) would remain a distinct intervention with food grains and specified transportation costs being met by the Centre and the cost of cooked meals being met by the Stale government.
  • District Education Plans would inter-alia, clearly show the funds/resource available for various components under schemes like JRY, PMRY, Sunishchit Rozgar Yojana, Area fund of MPs/MLAs. State Plan, foreign funding and resources generated in the NGO sector.
  • All funds to be used for upgradation, maintenance, repair of schools and Teaching Learning Equipment and local management to be transferred to VECs/School Management Committees.
  • Other incentive schemes like distribution of scholarships and uniforms will continue to be funded under the State Plan. They will not be funded under the SSA programme.


Teacher ╪     One teacher for every 40 children in Primary and upper primary schools.

╪     At least two teachers in a Primary school

School/Alternative Schooling facility ╪     Within one Kilometer of every habitationа
Upper Primary Schools/Sector ╪     As per requirement based on the number of children completing primary education up to a ceiling of one upper primary school/section for every two primary schools
Class Rooms ╪     A room for every teacher in Primary & Upper Primary

╪     A room for Head Master in upper Primary school / sector

Free textbooks ╪     To all girls/SC/ST children at primary & upper primary level within an upper ceiling or Rs. 150/- per child
Civil Works ╪     Ceiling of 33% of SSA programme funds.

╪     For improvement of school facilities, BRC/CRC construction.

╪     No expenditure to be incurred on construction of office buildings.а

Maintenance and Repair of School Buildings ╪     Only through school management committees

╪     Upto Rs. 5000 per year as per a specific proposal by the school committee.

╪     Must involve elements of community contribution.

Upgradation of EGS to regular school ╪     Provision for TLE @ RS. 10,000/- per school

╪     Provision for teacher & classrooms

TLE for upper primary ╪     @ Rs. 50,000 per school for uncovered schools.
School ╪     Rs. 2000/- per year per primary/upper primary school for replacement
Teacher grant ╪     Rs. 500 per teacher per year in primary and upper primary
Teacher training ╪     Provision of 20 days in service for all teachers, 60 days refresher courses for untrained teachers and 30 day orientation for freshly trained recruits recruits Rs. 70/- per day
Stateаа Instituteаа ofаа Educational Management Administration and Training (SIEMAT) ╪     One time assistance uptoRs. 3 crore
Training of community leaders ╪     For a maximum of 8 persons in village for 2 days

╪     @ Rs. 30/- per day

Provision for disabled children ╪     Upto Rs. 1200/- per child for integration of disabled children, as per specific proposal.
Research, Evaluation, supervision and monitoring ╪     Upto Rs. 1500 per school per year

╪     By creating pool of resource persons, providing travel grant and honorarium for monitoring, generation of community based data, research studies, cost of assessment and appraisal terms & their field activities

Management Cost ╪     Not to exceed 60% of the budget of a district plan
Innovativeаа activityаа forаа girls’ education, early childhood care & education, interventions for children belonging to SC/ST community, computer education specially for upper primary level ╪     Upto to Rs. 15 lakhs for each innovative project and Rs. 50 lakhs for a district will apply for SSA
Block Resource Centres/ Cluster Resource Centres ╪     Rs. 6 lakh ceiling for BRC construction wherever required

╪     Rs. 2 lakh for CRC construction wherever required

╪     Deployment of up to 20 teacher in a block with more their 100 schools

╪     Provision of furniture etc. @ Rs. 1 Lakh forа BRC and Rs. 10,000 for a CRC

╪     Contingency grant of Rs. 12,500 for a BRC and Rs. 2500 per CRC per year

Interventions for out of school children ╪     As per norms already approved under Education Guarantee Scheme & Alternative and Innovative Education providing for the following kind of interventions.

╪     Setting up Education Guarantee Centres in unserved habitations.

╪     Setting other alternative schooling modles

╪     Bridge Courses, remedial courses, to School Campus with a focus on mainstreaming out of school children into regular schools.

Preparatoryааааа activitiesааааа for microplamiinf,, household surveys, studies,а communityа mobilization, schoolаа basedаа activities,аа office equipment, etc. ╪     As per specific proposal.

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