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RTE entitlements to be paid through cash transfer

Context:

The Centre plans to pay students their Right to Education entitlements in the form of cash transfers, as part of a revamp and extension of its flagship Samagra Shiksha scheme that was approved by the Cabinet.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Welfare Schemes, Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Samagra Shiksha Scheme
  2. Features of the Samagra Shiksha Scheme
  3. About the recent Decisions taken regarding RTE entitlements

About Samagra Shiksha Scheme

  • Samagra Shiksha is an integrated scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
  • It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving the quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
  • The Scheme is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme by the Ministry of Education. The fund sharing pattern for the scheme between Centre and States is at present in the ratio of 90:10 for the North-Eastern States and the Himalayan States and 60:40 for all other States and Union Territories with Legislature. It is 100% centrally sponsored for Union Territories without Legislature.
  • The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education.
  • SDG-4.1: Aims to ensure that all boys and girls complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. SDG 4.5: Aims to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education.

Features of the Samagra Shiksha Scheme

  • Universalizing access to quality school education by expansion of schooling facilities in the uncovered areas through up-gradation of schools up-to senior secondary level
  • Ensuring availability of adequate infrastructure to ensure that schools conform to the prescribed norms
  • Annual Grant of Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000/- per school for strengthening of Libraries
  • Composite school grant of Rs. 25,000-1 Lakh to be allocated on the basis of school enrolment, out of which at-least 10% is to be spent on Swachhta Action Plan
  • Annual Grant for sports equipments at the cost of Rs. 5000-25000 per school
  • Allocation for children with Special Needs (CwSN) of Rs. 3,500 per child per annum including a stipend of Rs. 200 per month for CWSN girls to be provided from Classes I to XII
  • Allocation for uniforms at the rate of Rs. 600 per child per annum at elementary level
  • Allocation for textbooks at the rate of Rs. 250/400 per child per annum at elementary level
  • Running and Upgradation of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) from Class 6-8 to Class 6-12
  • Strengthening Teacher Education Institutions like SCERTs and DIETs to improve the quality of teachers
  • Enhanced use of digital technology in education through smart classrooms, digital boards and DTH channels
  • Support States & UTs for implementation of provisions of RTE Act, including reimbursement under Section 12(1)(c) of the Act
  • Setting up of residential schools and hostels for difficult areas and for children in difficult circumstances.

About the recent Decisions taken regarding RTE entitlements

  • The Samagra Shiksha scheme, which has been extended till March 2026, will have a financial outlay of almost 3 lakh crore Rs. and several new initiatives on early childhood education, foundational literacy and numeracy and language education.
  • The government has decided that in order to enhance the direct outreach of the scheme, all child-centric interventions will be provided directly to the students through (direct benefit transfer) DBT mode on an IT-based platform over a period of time.
  • This DBT would include RTE entitlements such as textbooks, uniforms and transport allowance. However, it is not clear whether the tuition fees for students in the economically weaker section quota in private schools would also be paid directly to students as a cash transfer.
  • The stipend for children with special needs will be paid in DBT [or direct benefit transfer] mode as well.
  • Another new component is the NIPUN Bharat initiative for foundational literacy and numeracy, which will get an annual provision of ₹500 per child for learning materials, ₹150 per teacher for manuals and resources and ₹10-20 lakh per district for assessment.
  • As part of digital initiatives, there is a provision for ICT labs and smart classrooms, including support for digital boards, virtual classrooms and DTH channels which have become more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The pandemic is likely to cause more school dropouts as well, so it is important that Samagra Shiksha now includes a provision to support out of school children from age 16 to 19 with funding of ₹2000 per grade to complete their education via open schooling.
  • In an Olympic year, the Samagra Shiksha scheme announced an incentive of up to ₹25000 for schools that have two medal-winning students at the Khelo India school games at the national level.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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