SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYAAN
In 2002, India enacted the historic 86th Indian Constitutional Amendment Act that declared elementary education as a Fundamental Right for all children. With 304 million Indian citizens still non-literate (UNDP 2009), the educational challenge could not be addressed merely with declarations of rights. So, the Government of India launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the 'Education for All' programme. Largely funded by the Indian government, this programme has received around 250m Euros from the World Bank and the European Union. In 2009, the Indian Parliament took a further step and passed “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act” and delegated all all Indian States the duty to provide free and compulsory education to all children between 6 and 14 years old. And in order to increase the enrolment of girls in primary schools, the Indian government set up 3600 residential schools across the country for 6 to 14 year old girls from the most marginalized communities. Today, one can see the wide and substantial impact of India's investment in education over the past decade. 98% of India’s rural population today has access to primary schools within just a few kilometres of their habitation; Primary school enrolment among girls has risen from a mere 16% in 1950 to 48.2% in 2009. Although in 2011, women’s literacy rates were only 65%, while those for men were 82%, the gender gap in the past decade has narrowed with female literacy rates at 11.8% as compared with 6.9% among men. The programme is looking to open new schools in those habitations without schooling facilities and to strengthen existing school infrastructure through provision of additional class rooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grants. SSA is now the primary vehicle for implementing the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE). SSA has been operational since 2000-2001 to provide for a variety of interventions for universal...
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