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New five-year plan promises more schools and better facilities – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Integrated science labs, smart classrooms, play-based learning, support for vocational education. These are just some of the focus areas of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan’s five-year plan, which has been sent to states and union territories (a copy of which is with TOI).

The Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in 2018 to provide integrated and holistic school education. Instead of disparate schemes that looked at pre-school, primary, and secondary schools in silos, the Samagra Shiksha scheme treats school as a continuum – from pre-school and primary to senior secondary levels. The scheme was extended up to 2025-26 in August last year.

According to the ministry of education, the Samagra Shiksha scheme has been completely aligned with the recommendations of the National Education Policy and “many transformative recommendations of NEP 2020 have been made part of the Samagra Shiksha scheme.”

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What’s on the five-year plan?


Among other thrust areas, the plan includes annual calendar activities, national initiative for proficiency in reading with understanding and proficiency, implementation of VidyaPravesh – a three-month play-based school preparation module for Class I, targeted and saturation approach for expansion of secondary and senior secondary education, access and retention and quality and innovation.

Issuing the guidelines, Maneesh Garg, joint secretary, department of school education and literacy, said: “Since, the scheme has been continued for next five years till 2025-26 it is time for us to initiate proper planning process based on the measurable outcomes so that the scheme is able to showcase some tangible benefits in coming years. The planning exercise should be conducted in a decentralised manner involving all stakeholders right from the grass-root level so as to make it realistic, achievable and accountable.”

More schools


The government has announced its aim of achieving 100% GER (gross enrolment ratio) at all levels as envisaged in NEP 2020. To this end, the centre has asked states and Union territories to send their proposals for opening new secondary and senior secondary schools based on GIS mapping done by the education ministry.

To arrest the dropout rate, which is higher in senior classes and to ensure universal access and retention, the ministry suggested “a 2-3 month readiness module for children entering in Class lX so that they are prepared for the secondary stage,”

The document also says that “50% of the composite secondary/ senior secondary schools, as envisaged in NEP 2020, will be provided support for vocational education in the next 4 years.”

The centre has also asked states and Union territories to draw up plans to provide integrated science labs, ensure electricity for ICT, and smart classrooms in all schools. This is apart from ensuring that all schools have adequate facilities for toilets, hand washing, and drinking water, as well as incinerators and sanitary pad vending machines in all girls’ hostels.

The ministry also stated that the centre will identify 15,000-plus schools across the country to develop them as exemplar schools in terms of infrastructure and quality. The selected schools will get separate funding, and will not be included under Samagra Shiksha.

Funding


The ministry of education stated that the estimated share of the centre for the 2022-23 would be Rs 42,211.47 crore; states and union territories would have to spend Rs 23,443.40 crore in this period. A total of Rs 65,654.87 crore will be spent in 2022-23 alone.

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