The year saw the Government of India’s sincere efforts towards bringing out a New Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry. New Education Policy is being framed after a gap of 23 years.
For rural people, Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat is an important measure. It is a sub-programme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan launched in August, 2014 with special focus on improving language development and to create interest in mathematics. The two tracks of Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat are: Early reading and writing with comprehension (ERWC) and Early mathematics (EM). An amount of Rs. 456 crore was allocated for this sub-programme in the year 2014-15 and a provision of Rs. 525.00 crore has been made for 2015-16.
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan: The RMSA guidelines provide for augmenting secondary school infrastructure through construction of additional class rooms, laboratories, toilet blocks, drinking water, libraries etc. Till date 10513 new schools have been approved under the scheme. The RMSA Scheme has been revised to subsume the schemes of ICT @schools, Vocationalisation of Secondary Education, Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage, and Girls Hostels from the financial year 2014-15. The Integrated RMSA scheme extends the benefit to aided Secondary schools (excluding infrastructure support and teachers and staff salaries) for quality interventions
E-pathshala: As a part of the Digital India Campaign, the Ministry of HRD has launched ‘e-pathshala’ which is a single point repository of e-resources containing, NCERT text-books and various other learning resources. CBSE prescribes textbooks published by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for classes IX to XII. For classes I to VIII, CBSE although approves syllabus as per pattern of syllabus given by NCERT, it does not prescribe any textbooks for these classes.
Mid Day Meal Scheme: The IVR (Interactive Voice Response System) to monitor the daily implementation of Mid Day Meal scheme was showcased this year during the National Conference on ICT in School Education. There are two recent interventions viz Tithi Bhojan and Social Audit designed to attract community participation and channelize it for enrichment of Mid Day Meal Scheme.The Central Government has requested the States to consider the concept of Tithi Bhojan for mid day meals in a suitable manner, to encourage local community participation the programme.
The Central Government notified ‘Mid Day Meal Rules, 2015’ on September 30th, 2015. The Rules inter alia provide for temporary utilization of other funds available with the school for MDM in case school exhausts MDM funds for any reason; Food Security Allowance to be paid to beneficiaries in case of non-supply of meals for specified reasons; and monthly testing of meals on a random basis by accredited Labs to check its quality. These rules and their effective compliance by implementing agencies in the States will ensure better regularity in serving mid day meals in schools. In the year 2015-16 children covered under the scheme are 9.60 crores; food grain allocated is 27.74 lakh MTs; projected demand is 11067.18 crores; budget estimates is 9236.40 crores and up to first quarter of 2015-16 budget released is 6301.41 crores.
Initiatives for Higher Education: Unnat Bharat Abhiyan was launched for connecting higher education and society to enable technology and its use for development of rural areas. Under this all technical and higher education institutions have been asked to adopt five villages each; identify technology gaps and prepare plans for innovations that could substantially increase the incomes and growth in the rural areas.