SSA introduces Online Tracking for Annual Survey
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan ( SSA ) has introduced an online tracking system this year in its annual survey to ascertain the number of ‘out – of – school’, dropouts and differently abled children.
The system will provide real-time data on the children identified and help track the progress.
Coimbatore Additional Chief Education Officer ( SSA ) R. Thiruvalarselvi told The Hindu here on 15th April, 2013 that while the survey usually covered children in the age group of 6 to 14, who come under the mandate of SSA, the target group was expanded this year to cover those between 15 and 18 years also. The survey is underway in the district now.
The data on the dropouts between 15 and 18 years would be handed over to the district unit of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan ( RMSA ), a Central Government project launched in March 2009 to enhance access to secondary education and improve its quality.
Abhiyan sources said that data would help identify the children who have dropped out of Standards IX to XII.
After ascertaining the reasons, such children would be encouraged to complete their higher secondary education.
Ms. Thiruvalarselvi said that the data on the children identified would be updated online constantly.
The web portal, where this data would be stored, would be available to all the Government departments concerned.
This would ensure that if any child identified now and enrolled into a school were to drop out, the officials concerned would be able to track him / her, ascertain the reasons and persuade the child to continue schooling.
The differently abled children identified under this exercise would be covered under the SSA’s Inclusive Education for the Disabled component and enrolled into the appropriate school, she added.
Ms. Thiruvalarselvi said that the survey was being conducted by Block Resource Trainers, Special Educators, Supervisors, and Assistant Elementary Educational Officers besides educational volunteers, who take classes for the ‘out-of-school’ children.
Additional help had been sought from the Labour Department, National Child Labour Project, a Central Government initiative to tackle child labour, anganwadi volunteers and primary health centre volunteers besides the National Service Scheme, National Cadet Corps and students of Social Work Department in various colleges.
SSA To Introduce Health & Physical Eduation In Schools
Once the implementation of RTE took place across the nation, now the next focus is on strengthening and improving the quality of elementary education in the state in compliance with the RTE Act 2009.
SSA ( Sarva Siksha Abhiyan )’s main aim is to introduce health and physical education, art education and work education at the elementary level in the current academic session. In order to put this on force, SSA will be appointing 6081 part – time teachers on contractual basis who will impart lessons on health and physical education and art education for about 2,021 upper primary schools.
An official of SSA said that “These courses are being introduced for all – round development of children. This will also complete the holistic learning process. The national education policy suggested all round development of children at the elementary stage. Moreover, RTE Act – 2009 also envisages cognitive development of children in government schools in phase manner.”
He further said that, Part – time instructors will be posted at those upper primary schools where the enrolment of students is more than 100. This will be a certificate or diploma course for the students from Classes VI to VIII.
“After scrutiny of the online applications, shortlisted candidates will have to appear before interview board with their original documents. The interview will be organized at district level. Candidates who have passed their diploma or certificate courses from recognized government universities or boards can only apply.”
He further says”We have received around 25,000 applications and within 20th March, 2013 appointment letters will be handed over to the selected ones. The salary will be given to them on per hour basis. And those appointed will be posted in schools located in rural areas only” the official added.
SSA invites College Students to contribute for E – content
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan ( SSA ) has invited computer science students and staff from engineering, arts and science colleges to develop e – content for Tamil medium students of standards VI to VIII.
According to Coimbatore Additional Chief Educational Officer ( SSA ) R. Thiruvalarselvi, a State – wide contest has been announced in which the participants can come out with a content that could replace the books completely for these students.
The emphasis was on providing more visual elements and even audio, if necessary, to make the subjects more attractive for students. The content should be in Tamil unicode ‘alagikural’ font and can include 3D video clippings and internet links.
The first three prize – winning entries would be awarded 1,000 each while the next four would get 500.
The contest is open for all the five subjects of Tamil, English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science.
All the entries must be submitted in a CD to the Coimbatore Additional Chief Educational Officer ( SSA ) before 15th January, 2013.
For details, contact Vijayalakshmi, Project Coordinator, on 97888 58526.
SSA to Train School Correspondents
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan ( SSA ) here is going to train school correspondents in Coimbatore and the Nilagiris districts on implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education ( RTE ) Act.
Additional Chief Educational Officer, SSA, R. Thiruvalarselvi said that 75 schools from each of the two districts would be taking part in the event, which would be held on Wednesday ( 26th December, 2012 ). The schools taking part include matriculation, Central Board of Secondary Education, aided and self-financing ones.
Department of School Education officials and office – bearers of elementary school teachers associations have been invited to take part.
Topics that would be covered in the meeting include the provision requiring all private schools to reserve 25 per cent of seats to children from weaker sections ( families having an annual income below 2 lakh ), right of the child to admission in any school, providing admission without asking for proof and making sure that no student below standard VIII is failed or held back. There was also a provision for admitting school drop – outs in an age – appropriate class.
Current issues such as the school infrastructure mandated by the RTE, the ban on corporal punishments and roles of teachers and correspondents would also be dealt with in the meeting.
Ms. Thiruvalarselvi said that the students who won prizes in contests held to create awareness on RTE would be given stalls to exhibit their paintings during the training programme. Three children, who won top prizes, would also speak about their perspective of RTE. Similar training programmes have already been conducted for headmasters, she added.
SSA Elementary Education witnesses negative trend
With ‘quality’ being relegated to the least priority areas, despite the budget of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan ( SSA ) being doubled between 2009 – 10 and 2011 – 12 ( 26,169 crore to 55,746 crore ), the learning levels have been on constant decline among students. Moreover, even the percentage of schools actually receiving the grants has also declined in last three years in many states.
The Planning Allocations Institutions Studies and Accountability ( PAISA ) report on rural schools, released by Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Vinod Rai on 20th March, 2012, focused on whether our schools are getting the money under SSA allocations, and how the schools have been spending the money and whether increased allocations have improved the outcomes.
The findings of the survey conducted across 14,283 rural schools across India have indicated a disturbing trend of negative learning graph despite increased outlays in elementary education.
While in 2009, 79% of classes I and II students were able to read letters, words and recognise number 1 to 9, it declined to 72% in 2011. Similarly while 56% of classes III and IV students were able to do subtraction in 2009, the number declined to 47% in 2011.
Moreover, while 79% of students from classes I and II were able to recognise numbers 1 to 9, the numbers declined to 74% in 2011. Meanwhile, in 2009 64% students of classes III to V were able to read class I text. The same declined to 58% in 2011.
Apart from the declining learning graph, the report also showed how the money received by schools are being spent under different heads. Interestingly, ‘children’ and ‘quality’ turned out to be the least prioritised area when it comes to spending of these grants.
Children ( textbooks, uniforms, transport provision, remedial teaching ) received just 10% in 2011 down by 4% from that of 2010. Quality ( innovation and learning enhancement programme ) received a dismal 4% in 2011.
Right from 2009, teachers ( salaries, training, learning material and school development grant ) continued to receive the largest share of SSA resources, followed by schools ( civil works, maintenance ). Teachers were allocated 44% of the SSA pie, down by 1% from that of 2009.
SSA is the flagship programme of the Government of India for implementing the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
Five percentage of the SSA budget are set aside as school grants. So has all schools received all the three grants annually under SSA due to them? Based on 2010-11 figures of the 32 states surveyed, the percentage of schools receiving the grants declined in 14 states.
Meghalaya has the worst figures with just 29.73% of its schools receiving their share of SSA grants followed by Tripura with 45.78%. But Daman and Diu is an exception with 100% schools receiving their dues, followed by Puducherry with 96.55% and Himachal Pradesh with 90.42%.
Training for special educators
In order to address the growing concern of shortage of teachers for children with disability, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) will impart training to as many as 1,140 teachers from 30 districts of Tamil Nadu, with the help of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Launching the course here on 11.02.2011, officials said that the programme would help teachers understand the educational needs of children with different disabilities.
The 90 – day distance – mode training course will include three – week contact classes starting later this month. The course includes acquainting the teachers with the concepts of inclusive education, legislative framework of disability, early identification of disability, contemporary education models and behaviour management. The teachers would also be trained to help children with assistive devices.
SSA officials say that since teachers often refrain from taking time off their regular jobs to invest in disability studies distance learning is a viable option. Efforts will be put to ensure that the capacity building process is carried out with commitment, said N. Latha, joint director, SSA – IED, Chennai. The training would focus on skill – based action and the trainers will be provided with training material translated in Tamil, said S. Mohanan, Regional director, IGNOU (Chennai).
However, activists say that short – term courses, while helping teachers get acquainted with disability, can violate the norms of certifying special educators if not implemented with caution.
“It is equally important that the contact classes are regularly attended by the enrolled teachers and the accountability does not end with just filling in the forms,” says Jaya Krishnaswamy, Managing Director, Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children.
“Any kind of disability studies takes a minimum of two years,” says S. Namburajan, Convenor, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently – Abled and Care – Givers. “Such short-term programmes can be good refresher courses or can be imparted to care givers, but pressure – driven courses bring the down the quality of special education,” he adds.
“In western countries such as Germany, a minimum duration of four years is needed to purse a course in mental retardation alone,” points out Ms. Krishnaswamy.
Apart from monitoring mechanisms, quality field work that exposes the teachers to all kinds of disability and sensitises them should be given the maximum importance, say experts. They also observe that while many courses on special education are getting introduced, there are few committed takers.
“Most special educators, including many of them from rural areas, are placed by NGOs alone, and are paid much less than teachers in normal schools,” says Mr. Namburajan.
Most special educators who specialise in training children with a certain kind of disability say the expertise is of little use when a class has children with different disabilities. “A professional way of training special educators is necessary,” says Mr. Namburajan.
Experts also recommend that besides encouraging special educators to work with teachers of normal schools to enable mainstreaming of disability, special focus be given to training the teachers to identify children with cranial anomalies, Down’s Syndrome and learning disabilities.
“A trainer not equipped with the capability to handle special children can crush their spirits and impair their social development,” says Ms. Krishnaswamy.
Teaching Students through a Role Model
Meena, the protagonist of the animated film series produced by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for South Asia, is joining hands with the Government for better implementation of its Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
All Government higher primary schools in Karnataka will have a Meena Club.
The character Meena was introduced by UNICEF in 1998, with support from educationists and non-governmental organisations, to spread awareness on the need for educating the girl child, instilling confidence in her and educating her on health and hygiene.
The Government’s move is seen as an important step in women’s empowerment.
Meena’s story is one of determination, confidence and courage, in which the cute, little girl goes to school against all odds and sensitises the community against social evils such as child marriage, child labour and dowry.
Owing to the success of the ‘Meena initiative’ in the schools where it was launched on a pilot basis, the Meena Clubs, comprising 15 girls and five boys, are being formed in all higher primary schools across the State.
The program was launched in 62 educational blocks in the State.
The animated films will be played to motivate the club members to spread the message.
24th September will be celebrated as Meena Day. The clubs, which will conduct year-long activities with support from teachers and resource persons, are being formed in 944 Government higher primary schools in Mysore district alone and are set to come up in other districts, too.
Educational Assistance to 334 Children under SSA
A total of 334 children, presently undergoing special coaching under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), got educational assistance on Wednesday.
Each of them got free uniforms, books, notebooks and other materials sanctioned under the scheme.
Speaking after distributing the assistance, V. Ruckmani, Additional Chief Educational Officer, SSA, said that a special survey was conducted in the district for identifying children who are out-of-school.
A total of 207 children were undergoing coaching under the non-residential bridge course and 85 children under the residential bridge course while the balance 42 children were trained under three special camps.
P. Muthukumaran, assistant program officer, SSA, said that local residents, with required educational qualification, were being appointed under the ‘Education for All’ scheme to teach the out-of-school children.
The students’ capabilities in three ‘R’-s – reading, writing and arithmetic were closely monitored.
They would be admitted to the regular stream of education in course of time.