Providing education to all children

 The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, mandates the appropriate Government to provide free and compulsory elementary education to every child of the age 6 to 14 years in a neighbourhood school.

In pursuance of Section 6 of the Act, the States which are the appropriate Government for schools falling under their jurisdiction, have notified area or limits of their neighbourhood norms in their state RTE Rules, factoring in their State specific condition, for opening of schools.

As reported by States/UTs in their respective Annual Work Plan and Budget, 2021-22, 97.49% and 97.01% of habitations in the country are covered by primary schools and upper primary schools respectively. The habitations that remain uncovered are mostly small or sparsely populated in difficult areas where opening of school is not feasible for which there is a provision of giving transport and escort facility and opening of residential schools and hostels.

Under the centrally sponsored scheme- Samagra Shiksha, financial assistance is provided to States and UTs for undertaking various activities to reduce number of Out of School Children (OoSC) including opening/strengthening of new schools upto senior secondary level, construction of school buildings & additional classrooms, setting up, up-gradation and running of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, setting up and running of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Avasiya Vidyalayas, provision of free uniforms, free text books to the eligible students at elementary level, transport allowance and undertaking enrolment & retention drives. Further, special training for age appropriate admission of out of school children and residential as well as non-residential training for older children, seasonal hostels / residential camps, special training centres at worksites, are also supported to bring out of school children to the formal schooling system. Further, under the student oriented component for the children with special needs, financial assistance is provided for identification and assessment of children with special needs, aids and appliances, braille kits and books, appropriate teaching learning material and stipend to girl students with disability etc.

Also, under ‘Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman’ (PM POSHAN) one hot cooked meal in Government and Government aided schools is provided to students at the elementary level of education. Also, Section 10 of the RTE Act states that it shall be the duty of every parent or guardian to admit or cause to be admitted his or her child or ward, as the case may be, for elementary education in the neighbourhood school.

Under Samagra Shiksha, for the first time in 2021-22, financial assistance upto Rs. 2000 per annum per child has been provided for supporting Out of School Children of age group of 16-19 years, belonging to socio economically disadvantaged groups, for completing their education through NIOS/SIOS, for accessing course materials and certification. Also, under National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme, scholarship is awarded to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue the study at secondary stage.

The information was given by the Minister of State for Education, Smt. Annpurna Devi in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

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