Secondary Education is a crucial stage in the educational hierarchy as it prepares the students for higher education and also the world of work.(Read in Hindi)
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With the liberalization and globalization of the Indian economy, the rapid changes witnessed in scientific and technological world and the general need to improve the quality of life and to reduce poverty, it is essential that school leavers acquire a higher level of knowledge and skills than what they are provided in the eight years of elementary education, particularly when the average earning of a secondary school certificate holder is significantly higher than that of a person who has studied only up to class VIII.
The policy at present is to make secondary education of good quality available, accessible and affordable to all young persons in the age group of 14-18.
At present, the following schemes targeted at secondary stage (i.e. class IX to XII) are being implemented in the form of Centrally Sponsored Schemes:
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in 2009 with the objective to universalize access to secondary education and improve its quality.
The scheme envisages inter alia, to enhance the enrolment at secondary stage by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation, with an aim to ensure GER of 100% by 2017, i.e., by the end of 12th Five Year Plan and achieving universal retention by 2020.
During last three year, opening of 9670 new secondary schools and strengthening of existing 34311 secondary schools have been sanctioned. Against sanction for opening of 9670 new secondary schools, 906 new secondary schools have been sanctioned in the minority concentration districts.
Out of opening of 9670 new secondary schools, 7303 secondary schools have become functional. Further, 283 new school buildings have been constructed and about 2500 new secondary school buildings are at different stages of construction.
To improve the Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) in the existing secondary schools, appointment of 52352 additional teachers have also been approved. In the new secondary schools, 12591 teachers have also been recruited.
Model School Scheme
The Model School scheme was launched in November 2008 in pursuance to the announcement of the Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech of 2007.
The Model School Scheme aims to provide quality education to talented rural children through setting up 6000 model schools as benchmark of excellence at block level at the rate of one school per block.
The scheme is under implementation since 2009-10. 3,500 schools are to be set up in as many educationally backward blocks (EBBs) through States/UTs. A total of 1956 model schools have so far been approved, out of which 438 have become functional. The modalities for the PPP Model schools were approved by the Government on 24 November, 2011 and 2500 model school are to be set up under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Mode.
Girls’ Hostel Scheme
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme for “Construction and Running of Girls’ Hostels for Students of Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools” was launched in 2008-09 and is being implemented from 2009-10.
The Scheme envisages construction of a hostel with the capacity of 100 girls in each of about 3,500 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) in the country.
The main objective of the Scheme is to improve access to and retain the girl child in Secondary and Higher Secondary classes (IX-XII) so that the girl students are not denied the opportunity to continue their study due to distance to school, parents’ financial affordability and other connected societal factors.
As on 31st March, 2012, 1925 hostels have been recommended by Project Approval Board (PAB) and an amount of Rs.300.93 crore has been released for construction of 958 hostels in 13 States.
The girl students in the age group of 14-18 years, studying in classes IX and XII belonging to SC, ST, OBC, Minority communities and BPL families will form the target group of the Scheme. Students passing out of KGBV will be given preference in admission in hostels. At least 50% of girls admitted will be from SC, ST, OBC and Minority communities.
ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in Schools
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Schools Scheme was launched in December, 2004 to provide opportunities to secondary stage students to mainly build their capacity on ICT skills and make them learn through computer aided learning process.
The Scheme is a major catalyst to bridge the digital divide amongst students of various socio economic and other geographical barriers. Based on the experience gained so far, the Scheme was revised, in July 2010.
The scheme currently covers both Government and Government aided Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools.
Financial assistance is provided for procurement of computers and peripherals, educational software, training of teachers, development of e-contents, internet connectivity & setting up of smart schools, setting up the requisite infrastructure to impart computer literacy and computer aided learning has been approved for 94752 government and government aided secondary and higher secondary schools.
Financial assistance is given to States, CIET and SIETs on the basis of the approvals accorded by Project Monitoring and Evaluation Group (PMEG) chaired by Secretary (School Education and Literacy). The project cost is shared between Centre and States in ration of 75:25 except for the NER states including Sikkim where it is 90:10.
Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage
The Scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) was launched in 2009-10 replacing the earlier scheme of Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC). It provides assistance for the inclusive education of the disabled children in classes IX-XII.
The aim of the Scheme is to enable all students with disabilities, after completing eight years of elementary schooling, to pursue further four years of secondary schooling (classes IX to XII) in an inclusive and enabling environment.
Central assistance for all items covered in the scheme is on 100 per cent basis. The State Governments are only required to make provisions for a scholarship of Rs.600 per disabled child per annum.
The School Education Department of the State Governments/Union Territory (UT) Administrations is the implementing agency. They may involve NGOs having experience, in the field of education of the disabled, in the implementation of the scheme. Approximately 400241 disabled children have been approved for coverage since inception of the scheme.
Vocationalisation of Secondary Education
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Vocationalisation of Secondary Education provides for diversification of educational opportunities so as to enhance individual employability, reduce the mismatch between demand and supply of skilled manpower and provides an alternative for those pursuing higher education.
The scheme was initially launched in 1988. To make improvement in this scheme, the revised scheme was approved on 15 September, 2011. The revisions were suggested to address the issues of low esteem of vocational education in the country, weak synergy with industry in planning and execution, lack of vertical and horizontal mobility, redundant courses and curricula as well as paucity of trained vocational education teachers.
It is also envisages that strengthening of vocational education at the secondary stage would contribute to the national target of 500 million skilled manpower by 2022.
The Scheme provides for financial assistance to the States to set up administrative structure, area vocational surveys, preparation of curriculum, text book, work book curriculum guides, training manual, teacher training programme, strengthening technical support system for research and development, training and evaluation etc. It also provides financial assistance to NGOs and voluntary organizations towards implementation of specific innovative projects for conducting short-term courses.
The Scheme, so far, has created infrastructure of 21000 sections in 9619 schools and creating a capacity of about 10 lakh students at + 2 level. The grants released so far since the inception of the scheme is Rs.765 crore.
National Vocational Education Qualifications Framework (NVEQF)
The HRD Ministry is seized with the problems of low rates of enrolment and school drop outs at Secondary and Higher Secondary levels and thereafter in Higher Education. The Ministry is in the process of developing the NVEQF.
The Framework would bring about uniformity in standards of vocational courses being offered, by registration of vocational qualification and accreditation of programmes and institutions.
NVEQF levels will be introduced in Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools, Polytechnics, Universities & Colleges for seamless pathways and progression. The draft NVEQF has been formulated in consultation with State Governments as well as a Group of State Education Ministers.
National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education
The Centrally sponsored scheme “National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE)” was launched in May 2008 with the objective to establish an enabling environment to reduce the drop-outs and to promote the enrolment of girl child belonging mainly to SC/ST communities in secondary schools.
According to the scheme, a sum of Rs.3,000/- is deposited in the name of eligible unmarried girls as fixed deposit, who are entitled to withdraw it along with interest thereon on reaching 18 years of age and passing 10th standard examination. The scheme covers - all girls belonging to SC/ST communities who pass class VIII and all girls who pass VIII examination from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (irrespective of whether they belong to SC/ST) and enrol in class IX in Government, Government-aided and local body schools.
Canara bank is the implementing agency for the scheme. It has developed a web based portal recently to implement the scheme.
The portal will facilitate on line submission of data of the beneficiaries and on line disbursement of incentive amount on maturity into their accounts directly after certification by the State Nodal Officer on line that the beneficiary is 18 years old and passed class X examination. Funds released during last 3 years are - Rs.45.798 crore/for 152660 girls of 14 states/UTs (2009-10), Rs.72.458 crore/ for 241528 girls of 15 states/UTs (2010-11) and Rs.163.059 crore /for 543532 girls of 25 states/UTs (2011-12).
Central Board of Secondary Education
CBSE has strengthened the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) and School Based Assessment of education in all the schools affiliated to the Board from August 2009 and also made class X Board Examination optional for the students of Senior Secondary schools affiliated to the Board.
In addition to the above the Central Sector schemes of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Sangathan (NVS), Central Tibetan Schools Administration (CTSA), Indo-Mangolian Schools are being implemented.
(Author is Media & Communication Officer, PIB, New Delhi)