Over 275,000 schools opened under flagship scheme: Economic Survey


New Delhi : India opened 276,903 new schools and appointed 966,000 teachers as part of its flagship Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme, the Economic Survey for 2008-09 revealed Thursday.

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The survey, which was tabled in parliament, stated that “achievements of SSA till December 2008 are opening of 276,903 new schools, construction of 225,383 school buildings, construction of 918,981 additional classrooms, 182,019 drinking water facilities, construction of 251,023 toilets, supply of free textbooks to 8.4 crore (84 million) children, appointment of 9.66 lakh (966,000) teachers and in-service training for 23.82 lakh (2.38 million) teachers.”

“There has been a significant reduction in the number of out-of-school children on account of SSA interventions,” the survey mentioned without giving further details.

Talking about the right to education up to 14 years as a fundamental right, the economic survey said the 86th amendment in 2002 led to the insertion of a new article 21-A that made free and compulsory education to all children between six and 14 years of age a fundamental right.

“A suitable follow up legislation is necessary to give effect to the 86th constitutional amendment,” it added.

The survey said there is a substantial growth in secondary and higher education sphere.

The number of secondary and higher secondary schools has increased from 7,146 in 1950-51 to 168,900 in 2006-07. Similarly the total enrolment has increased from 1.5 million in 1950 to 39.44 million in 2006-07.

The survey highlighted that a new centrally sponsored scheme to set up girls hostel in about 3,500 backward blocks has been launched. Priority is being given to girls belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Stressing on the expansion of higher education, the survey said six new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), one each in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat and Punjab have been set up during 2008-09. Classes have resumed from last academic session.

One Indian Institute of Management – the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (RGIIM) at Shillong – started functioning from the academic session 2008-09.

Two new Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research have been set up at Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram.

The government has also started new scholarship schemes for both higher secondary and under graduate level, the survey said.

The Economic Survey also shows that the proposal for the third phase of expansion of the Integrated Child Health Development Scheme (ICDS) for 792 additional projects, 213,000 additional Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) and 77,102 mini-AWCs and a proposal for 20,000 AWCs on demand has also been approved in October 2008.

This would take the total number of AWCs to 1.4 million across the country with special focus on coverage of backward population.