The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 provides for free and compulsory elementary education of equitable quality to all children, including the children of migrant workers, of 6-14 years age. The RTE Act provides for norms and standards for opening of schools in neighbourhood at elementary level. Section 6 of the Act mentions that ‘The appropriate government and local authorities’ shall establish, with in the area or limits of a neighbourhood, a school, where it is not already established, within a period of three years from the commencement of the Act. Further, the Act places a compulsion on the State to ensure that no child from the weaker sections or disadvantaged groups is discriminated against in any manner or prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was designated as a vehicle programme for universalization of elementary education up-to 2017-18, which was implemented in coordination with the States and UTs. Now, the provisions of RTE Act are implemented through the Samagra Shiksha which subsumes the erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Schemes of SSA, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
Under the scheme since its inception, approval has been given for setting up 2.04 lakh primary and 1.59 lakh upper primary schools across the country. In addition to regular schools, 1,020 residential facilities with sanctioned capacity of 1,08,275 has been sanctioned to States. It includes 333 residential schools and 687 hostels attached with existing schools for children living in remote and sparsely populated habitations of rural and deprived children of urban areas. These residential facilities are in addition to 5,970 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs, Girls residential school at upper level) with a total capacity of 7.25 lakh girls have also been sanctioned to the states for improving access to marginalised girls.
Further, to address the issue of seasonal migration for varying periods, States are using various strategies which are supported by Government of India under Samagra Shiksha. All States and UTs are required to conduct household surveys/ update household surveys annually to identify out of school children. These surveys also collect information on children affected by migration of their families. In order to ensure provision of elementary education to these children, various interventions are supported under Samagra Shiksha such as provision of seasonal hostels/residential camps in villages during the period of migrations of families, residential and non-residential special training centres for out of school, dropout and migrant children, besides provision of mid-day meal, free textbooks and free uniforms as per norms of the scheme.
This information was given by the Union Minister for Human Resource, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.