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Home / News / India /  Govt okays SS 2.0 with an expenditure of 2.94 tn

NEW DELHI : The Union government approved on Wednesday the second leg of the flagship school education scheme Samagra Shiksha (SS) that will entail a total expenditure of 2.94 trillion for the Centre and the states.

SS 2.0 will encompass most school schemes and initiatives from pre-school to senior secondary education, push technology adoption and integrate some related schemes of other ministries.

The total financial outlay of 294,283.04 crore includes the Centre’s share of 1,85,398.32 crore with the rest to be contributed by the states, according to a government statement.

“The Samagra Shiksha 2.0 (SS 2.0) will be comprehensive and align the school education with the new education policy," education minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters after a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA).

The scheme treats school education as a continuum and is in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG-4). The scheme not only provides support for the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act but has also been aligned with the recommendations of NEP 2020 to ensure that all children have access to quality education with an equitable and inclusive classroom environment which should take care of their diverse background, multilingual needs, different academic abilities and make them active participants in the learning process, the minister said.

To enhance the scheme’s direct outreach, all child-centric interventions will be provided directly to students on an IT-based platform over a period of time. The scheme will operate in coordination among various ministries and developmental agencies of the Centre and state governments, the CCEA said.

The expansion of vocational education will be done in convergence with the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship and other ministries providing funding for skills. The SS 2.0 for the first time makes pre-schools part of the formal education system across India as the ministry and the NEP look to improve early education, especially the first five years of schooling.

Early childhood and numeracy has been a prickly issue in the school education sector and successive ASER reports by education non-profit Pratham have shown how nearly 50% of students in primary level cannot even read the text meant for students three years their juniors and how a high number of students cannot do basic arithmetic at Class V.

The scheme will be effective for five years through 2026. To be sure, while the scheme promises several new beginnings, the monetary allocations of 1.85 trillion by the Union government is not a great jump than what the annual budgets are allocating every year. For example, this fiscal, the Centre has allocated 31,300 crore for Samagra Shiksha. If this fund is reduced from the 1.85 trillion of central expenditure announced Wednesday, then almost 1.54 trillion will be spent on the scheme over the next four financial years or almost 38,500 crore per year. In comparison, the Union budgets of 2019-20 allocated 32,376 crore on SS, increasing it to 38,860 crore in the 2020-21 budget estimate. But the pandemic and closure of schools led to a revised budget of 28,077 crore in 2020-21.

Separately, the education ministry said SS 2.0 shall cover 1.16 million schools, over 156 million students and 5.7 million teachers of government and government-aided schools from pre-primary to senior secondary levels.

The ministry also said several financial support systems are built into the scheme. For example, for out of school children in the 16-19 age group belonging to scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and disabled categories, 2000 per child per grade will be offered to complete their secondary and senior secondary levels through open schooling.

Besides, at the early childhood level, one-time payment of 500 will be provided to each student for fun activities and buying toys. Similarly, transport facility has been extended to secondary level and up to 6,000 per year shall be provided to these students. The scheme also promises to establish incinerator and sanitary pad vending machines in all girls’ hostels.

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