Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, mid-day meal scheme need facelift

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 09, 2014

Revamp call The Survey has urged a review of the design of themid-day meal scheme in schools.

Call for revamp of elementary education programmes

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and mid-day meal schemes need to be revamped, said the Economic Survey 2013-14. It also called for revisiting the design of Government programmes in elementary education.

India with a large and young population has a great demographic advantage. “The average age of the Indian population will be 29 years in 2020. The proportion of working-age population is likely to increase from approximately 58 per cent in 2001 to more than 64 per cent by 2021,” the survey said.

Hence, there is a need to address quality issues, besides increasing the expenditure on education. As a percentage of GDP, expenditure on education has gone up from 2.9 per cent in 2008-09 to 3.3 per cent in 2013-14 (BE).

The survey shows that between 2007-08 and 2011-12, when expenditure per child in public schools increased by 119.5 per cent, a growing percentage of households chose to exit from public schools. This raises concerns about the effectiveness with which public spending on elementary education translates into learning outcomes of children.

“In recent years, while the spending per child in Government schools has risen sharply, the learning outcome has declined to 32.4 per cent,” it said.

Optimising resources

The Survey suggested revisiting the provision of a school within 1-km radius of every habitation (under RTE), as the number of students in some places does not warrant separate classrooms as it has led to mushrooming of schools, with the infrastructure in the form of buildings wasted, the Survey said.

“A single and bigger school for nearby places could serve the purpose better with optimisation of resources.”

For the mid-day meal scheme, it suggested provision of dining rooms in each school, besides using the teaching staff only for supervision of the scheme.

The gross enrolment ratio in higher education has nearly doubled from around 10 per cent in 2004-05 to 20.4 per cent in 2011-12 with the enrolment of 28.5 million students.

Published on July 09, 2014

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