Improving the Condition of Schools in Rural and Remote Areas of the Country
Minister of State (HRD), Upendra Kushwaha has recently have given a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question about the condition of schools in rural and remote areas of the country is improving.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 stipulates norms and standards for a recognised school imparting elementary education.

The RTE norms provide for an all-weather school building consisting of, inter alia, at least one classroom for every teacher and an office-cum-store-cum-Head teacher’s room, barrier-free access, separate toilets for boys and girls, safe and adequate drinking water facility to all children and playground.

Sections 8 and 9 of the RTE Act, 2009 lays down the duties of appropriate Government and local authority to inter alia provide infrastructure including school building, teaching staff and learning equipment.

The Department of School Education and Literacy has formulated an Integrated Scheme for School Education – Samagra Shiksha, subsuming three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).

Samagra Shiksha has come into effect from April 1, 2018.

The new integrated scheme envisages school education as a continuum from pre-school to senior secondary level and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education.

The main objectives of the scheme are the provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students, bridging social and gender gaps in school education, ensuring minimum standards in schooling provisions, support States in the implementation of RTE Act, 2009 and strengthening of teacher education institutions.

The Samagra Shiksha scheme supports States for the strengthening of existing government schools, and for creation and augmentation of infrastructure facilities based on the gap determined by Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) and proposals received from respective State/UT.

The scheme also envisages an annual recurring school composite grant varying from Rs. 25,000/- to Rs. 1,00,000/- per annum depending upon the number of students, for all government schools.

Each school is required to spend at least 10% of the composite school grant on activities related to Swachhata Action Plan.

The scheme also provides for annual maintenance and repair of existing school building, toilets and other facilities to upkeep the infrastructure in good condition.

Since the inception of the erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, in 2001 till 31.03.2018, construction of 3.12 lakh school buildings, 18.87 lakh additional classrooms, provision of 2.42 lakh drinking water facility, construction of 3.95 lakh Boys’ toilets, 5.18 lakh separate girls’ toilets and 1.41 lakh CWSN toilets have been sanctioned to States and UTs, out of which States and UTs have reported construction of 2.94 lakh school buildings, 18.03 lakh additional classrooms, provision of 2.35 lakh drinking water facility, construction of 3.76 lakh Boys’ toilets, 5.07 lakh separate girls’ toilets and 1.21 lakh CWSN toilets.

Under the erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Scheme, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, till 31.03.2018, 12,682 new secondary schools, 50,713 additional classrooms, 70,244 toilets and 11,864 drinking water facilities have been sanctioned, out of which States and UTs have reported construction of 8239 new schools, 36,435 additional classrooms, 49,692 toilets and provision of drinking water facility in 10,059 schools.

The matters regarding the salary and allowances payable to and the terms and conditions of service of teachers are governed and regulated by the respective State Government.

The Central Government has issued advisories to States and UTs for the redeployment of teachers and to ensure that all school teachers should spend adequate time serving in rural areas through a transparent policy.

This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Upendra Kushwaha recently in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.