Current Affairs 2023
Explore the challenges faced in implementing the Samagra Shiksha scheme, the central government's flagship program aimed at providing free and compulsory education to children across India.
Mar 30, 2023
4 min read
Samagra Shiksha scheme, launched in April 2018, has faced a myriad of challenges since its implementation. The scheme was envisioned as the primary vehicle for implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, but its efficacy has been hampered by poor allocation and utilization of funds, compounded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The scheme has a financial outlay of ₹2,94,283 crore for the period of FY2021-22 to FY2025-26, with the Central government's share being ₹1,85,398 crore. However, just a little over 50% of the total allocated funds for the scheme were released by the Centre to the states until February 2022. This has resulted in the scheme's inability to effectively provide quality education to children in need.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to substantial learning losses in school-going children, resulting in the need for increased funding for quality interventions. This has led to a decrease in the share of the budget towards financial support for teachers, which has further compounded the challenges in implementing the scheme.
Another significant challenge in implementing the Samagra Shiksha scheme is the low availability of computers and internet in schools. Research indicates that only 33% of government and aided schools have access to computers and the internet, with even lower rates in states like Assam, Telangana, Odisha, and Bihar. This has severely impacted the scheme's Information Communication and Technology component, which is crucial for providing modern education to children.
Furthermore, an analysis by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) has shown that the expenditure under the scheme has consistently been low. For instance, until October 2022, only 22% of the total approved budget was spent, including State and Central shares, much lesser than the released amount. States like Maharashtra, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have also underperformed in utilizing previous funds, leading to a further decline in the scheme's implementation.
In conclusion, the Samagra Shiksha scheme faces significant challenges in effective implementation due to poor allocation and utilization of funds, decreased funding for teacher support, low availability of computers and the internet in schools, and underperformance by some states in utilizing previous funds. It is crucial for the government to take necessary measures to address these challenges to ensure that the scheme achieves its goals of providing quality education to school-going children across India. Reference source: TH
UPSC Main Exam Question
Critically evaluate the implementation of the Samagra Shiksha scheme and its impact on the education sector in India.
Answer: The Samagra Shiksha scheme, launched in 2018, aims to provide free and compulsory education to all children in India. However, its implementation and impact have been under scrutiny due to various challenges.
The allocation and utilization of funds under the scheme have been a major issue. As per reports, the Centre had released just over 50% of the total allocated funds for the scheme in February 2023, which is a cause for concern. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to significant learning losses in school-going children, which has resulted in states allocating more of their budget for quality interventions. This has led to a decrease in financial support for teachers and the Information Communication and Technology component of schools.
Moreover, the expenditure under the scheme has been consistently low, with only 22% of the total approved budget being spent in FY2022-23 until October 2022. This has resulted in some states being unable to utilize the funds allocated to them, such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, which received the lowest share of the approved Central share until November 2022.
Overall, the implementation of the Samagra Shiksha scheme has been hindered by issues such as inadequate allocation and utilization of funds, a lack of technological infrastructure, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial for the government to address these challenges to ensure that the scheme achieves its goals of providing quality education to all children in India.
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