Free textbooks for schools, including madrasas, if they adopt curriculum
Under the newly announced integrated scheme of the human resource development ministry, all government and government-aided schools, including madrasas, across the country will be eligible to get free textbooks from the Centre at an average cost of Rs 250 per child at the primary level and Rs 400 per child at upper primary level.
In addition, schools will also get the option of availing direct bank transfer (DBT) in lieu of the textbooks to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.
This provision has been made under the new integrated scheme of school education wherein free textbooks will be provided to all children in government, local body and government-aided schools.
The newly announced integrated scheme of the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry created by subsuming the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and CSSTE and will be called Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), it is learnt. Madrasas will be able to enjoy this benefit if they agree to introduce state curriculum.
“The scheme has been launched keeping in mind a holistic approach to school education. Under this scheme, we have integrated pre-school to Class 12 so that we can focus on the overall development of the children,” those familiar with the development said.
Under the existing norms of SSA, RMSA and Teacher education, free textbooks, Braille books and large print books are provided to all girls and SC/ST children at primary and upper primary levels within an upper ceiling of Rs 150 per child. This has been increased to Rs 250 per child at primary level and Rs 400 per child at upper primary level.
Under this scheme, a provision of extension to senior secondary schools (Classes 11 and 12) has been made for the first time and preference will be given to composite schools from Classes 11 to 12. For the first time, a provision has also been made to support efforts of state government in setting up pre-nursery schools. Also, under ICT and digital initiatives a provision for classes 6 to 8 has been made with flexibility to procure hardware such as tablets, laptops, notepads and integrated learning devices. “This would also include support for digital boards, smart classrooms, virtual classrooms and DTH channels on pro-rata basis for a number of schools approved,” reads the document detailing the new norms accessed by HT.
“This is a very good step and this step by the Centre. Madrasas provide elementary education to lakhs of children across the country and are largely dependent on help from other organizations and charity. The only important issue is that basic curriculum should not be touched while other subjects can be taught,” said Masoom Moradabadi, a member of advisory committee Delhi Minorities commission.
The cabinet had last month approved the integration of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, RMSA and Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganisation of Teacher Education (STE) from 2018-19. The three centrally sponsored schemes that have been in operation for the past about 15 years for improving the quality of education and infrastructure in government schools at elementary (Classes 1 to 8) and secondary (Classes 9 and 10) levels have been replaced by a new integrated programme for classes 1 to 12.
The budget of SSA, RMSA and STE have been merged and the Centre will provide funds on 60:40 sharing basis to most states and 90:10 to north-eastern states and three Himalayan states, including Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. While the states will submit separate plans for each of these schemes at present, the new programme envisages a single plan for the entire school education sector under the new programme.