Monday, January 14, 2008

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan - A start

I was able to start today, our research on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The objective, as I see it, is to identify issues with the SSA (especially its implementation) and further narrow down to issues which can be taken up by us. A search on Google, threw up a lot of search results, expectedly. A large part of these search results were government websites - union and state.

This is the home page of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Here you can find a summary and introduction to the SSA framework.

Quite a few insightful articles can be found at india-together.org. Search for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and/or SSA and you will get some really good articles.

A few points that I noted were:

i. The concept as such is very strong but the lack of implementation takes away its strength.
ii. The parameters to monitor the working of SSA are not adequate, rather they are grossly inadequate. They go by measures such as number of children enrolled. This is misleading because after enrollment a student may not turn up at a school for months together. Also a student is not considered as absent unless he is absent for 3-6 months continuously. If in between he/she turns up for a day, he is not considered a drop out. (Read here).
iii. The quality of education and the availability of resources like stationery, food (as part of mid-day meal scheme) vary from state to state, region to region (within a state) and from school to school (within a region).
iv. An interesting thing that I read was - To calculate the amount funds needed, the price of book considered was higher than the actual cost of the book. So when requesting for funds the books were charged at Rs 150 but they actually cost RS 25- Rs 60. The rest of the amount is allocated but unspent or digested(not sure!).

Something that I heard from my friend, whose father works as an Executive Engineer, overseeing the construction of schools under SSA. As he told me, SSA pays for the construciton of school building and compound. On one occasion, it was found out that the compound and school were built at two different places !

7 comments:

Badhri said...

Therein lies to opportunities for petitioning

1. Bills of the books bought : no hassle about how to frame the question

2. I wonder how we can use RTI and ask the govt. to justify using "number of students enrolled" as a parameter. But its probably a good question to refer to an RTI activist.

Another thing. SSA has been around for a while now. Such questions appear easy to ask. There is a good chance that some one has already asked the questions. I wonder if it is already out there. (another matter to refer to RTI activists?)

Badhri said...

I meant

"Therein lie two opportunities..."

Anonymous said...

A very good initiative. Just wanted to list few things with regards to RTI and petition which can be filed

1.) Recently RTI act was amended where anyone can ask for any information with regards to any policy etc. whether it concerns them or not. I am not sure if everyone knows, but before this people like us, could have been refused for getting such information unless the officials feels it concerns us

2.) While asking any question on RTI, normally it would not help to ask a question on reasoning of policy as they are normally ignored or answered in a very abstract way. It makes more sense to get the ststistics and fact based answers and then publish your opinion through other mediums. So this is to give more insight on 2 point given by Badri. Probably to get such an information we should refer magzines like Yojana published by Govt. itself as there they discuss reasoning for all such matters

I will get more information in this context

Over all a good choice

Badhri said...

Thanks Anonymous!
I looked up @ Yojna in google and found that the mag is dirt cheap. More info @

http://www.publicationsdivision.nic.in/j_info.asp

Badhri said...

Anonymous.
Is there a way by which I can procure a copy of the mag from a near by store/govt. inst. Or is the editor the only person to contact?

Aish said...

Badhri, I have unveiled the secret behind Anonymous. He is Fazal, my colleague. Let me ask him your questions.

Fazal said...

Hi Badri... There are two way to get hold of this magazine.

Its available in book stores but normally near those places where people are preparing for Civil Services. Not sure where is such a place in Hyderabad

Other way is to get a subscription on yearly basis for Rs.100 per year. I already have this subscription but i have to get my Address changed from Delhi to Hyderabad. Not sure if you can get it online. But i will find more about it. Or i am going to Delhi and i will talk to Aishwarya on this and see if i can get a subscription for any of you guys here

Also when i come back from Delhi, i have some material with me from last year preparation on SSA and RTI. I will get that too.