Now, new government schools in UP only after GIS mapping

Allahabad, Hindustan Times | By, Allahabad
Apr 27, 2017 12:48 PM IST

Construction of any new school under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) will be decided only on the basis of the GIS map so as to ensure proper distribution of school locations across the state.

Uttar Pradesh will now get new government-run primary and upper primary schools only after completion of Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of all existing schools of the state.

Students studying in a government primary school in Allahabad.(HT Photo)
Students studying in a government primary school in Allahabad.(HT Photo)

The GIS mapping has been accorded top priority by the union ministry of human resource development (MHRD). Reason: Construction of any new school under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) will be decided only on the basis of this GIS map so as to ensure proper distribution of school locations across the state. The department of school education and literacy of the MHRD has made it clear to the state officials that till the GIS mapping is not completed, no permission for opening a new school would be granted by it.

Under the Free and Compulsory Child Education Rights Act, availability of a primary school at a distance of every one kilometre and a middle school at every three kilometres and a high school at every five kilometres has been made compulsory. Hence, the need for GIS mapping of government schools of the School Education Department has become mandatory for compliance of the Act.

No new school in UP in past 5 years

Uttar Pradesh has not got any new school in the past five years under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The last permission granted to the state by MHRD was back in 2012-13. Uneven distribution of schools in states has been a concern voiced by many experts, especially with the Right to Education (RTE) Act making elementary education compulsory for all kids.

Hence officials of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have begun the GIS mapping of all its schools, including 1.60 lakh government-run primary and upper primary schools, spread across the 75 districts of the state. Officials at the project head office, located in the state capital, are taking details of daily progress report from the basic shiksha adhikaris (BSAs) of all districts so as to ensure completion of the mission at the earliest. Officials are confident of completing the mapping process by the end of May.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan project’s state head office has already received GIS mapping details of 90,000 schools from different districts and information regarding 50,000 of these schools has already been made available to the MHRD online by the National Informatics Centre.

Though the state has around 1.10 lakh primary and another around 50,000 upper primary schools run by the state government, this exercise will be covering private and trust-run schools as well taking the total count of schools much higher.

UP lagging far behind

Uttar Pradesh is lagging far behind all other states in the GIS mapping project. As per the MHRD website, UP is in the ‘red zone’ with less than 30% of the schools mapped till date. Other states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar along with southern states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are far ahead with over 80% of their schools GIS mapped. Even the militancy-hit state of Jammu and Kashmir has mapped over 80% of its schools.

The Mission

Web-based School GIS application is an initiative of the department of school education and literacy, ministry of human resource development, for seamless visualisation of school locations across the country. Geographic location of schools collected by the various school education departments of the states is being collated and mapped on GIS Platform established by National Informatics Centre. Further, these school locations are also being interlinked with the school report cards based on a database developed and hosted by National University of Educational Planning and Administration.

In this application, base map services like street maps, and high resolution satellite images are available for better understanding of the topography/ terrain of the location. This web service application comprises of administrative boundaries up to village level and location information up to habitation level along with basic GIS functionalities and measurement tools which will help to improve the quality of planning and better utilisation of resources available under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

Read more| Cheating mafia: UP Board to summon random copies from sensitive districts to control copying

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    K Sandeep Kumar is a Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times heading the Allahabad Bureau. He has spent over 16 years reporting extensively in Uttar Pradesh, especially Allahabad and Lucknow. He covers politics, science and technology, higher education, medical and health and defence matters. He also writes on development issues.

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