For the first time since it was implemented, the ministry of human resource and development (MHRD) will conduct an external review of the implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme that caters to children from classes 1 to 8. The ministry has invited third parties to evaluate student enrolment, drop out rate, infrastructure and teaching-learning outcomes across India.
The centrally sponsored, SSA programme, came into effect on January 2001, with goals of universal access to education, retention of students and bridging the gender gaps. From 2010-11, the scheme is being implemented in accordance with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which covers children between 6-12 years of age.
Since the scheme has been operating for 15 years effectively, the MHRD said it is necessary to quantify and evaluate its impact. For this reason, it has called for proposals (expression of interest) from reputed agencies to carry out a comprehensive study, over a period of three to four months.
“The government desires to evaluate the intervention and specific effectiveness of the scheme in terms of its objectives besides delivery of services, record keeping, financial performance and reporting including financial management & monitoring systems and institutional capacity building so far,” said a senior education official.
Evaluation will look at increase in enrolment, category-wise enrolment (SC, ST, OBC, Minority and Children with Special Needs), drop out and transition rate, gross enrolment ratio, pupil-teacher ratio, availability and maintenance of school infrastructure, teaching and learning outcome etc.
Additionally, it will look at the overall performance of the programme implementation and indicate whether the scheme is being implemented in various states, along with suggesting corrective measures.
Education activists welcomed the move stating that the scheme is not being practiced properly in Maharashtra. “There is a lot of corruption in SSA,” said Jayant Jain, president of the Forum for Fairness in Education, a non-government organization (NGO). In the past, the organisation had uncovered a scam worth crores, in which fake schools were claiming aid by showing fake students.