A nation’s growth and prosperity rely on the development of its future generation through a vibrant education system. Elementary education refers to the stage of formal education where learners learn how to think rather than gaining information about new facts. Elementary education does not require any prior formal education. It begins at the age of 6 years from grade 1 and lasts till age 11 at grade 5. It offers learners basic knowledge about various subjects and fosters their learning process.
Problems in the Universalization of Education in India
The problems in the universalization of education in India are as follows:
Ignorance by parents
Despite the government’s efforts to offer free and compulsory education, many people living in remote areas still ignore sending their children to school.
Lack of coordination
There is a lack of coordination between the local community and the educational institutions which leads to issues in universalizing elementary education.
The attitude of Indifference
There is an air of indifferent attitude by the higher authorities which leads to a lack of effort in the universalization of elementary education.
Lack of funds
There is an inadequacy of funds which leads to a lack of learning resources and materials.
Even though education may be free, there are still some expenses parents have to incur and those belonging to a poor social class may therefore refrain from sending their children to school.
Role of SSA in Universalisation of Elementary Education in India
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a flagship program started by the government of India in 2001. It was developed to achieve the Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE). The provision of legal backing for SSA occurred when the Indian Constitution under Article 21 A, made free and compulsory education for the children in the age group of 6-14 a fundamental right in. In a time-bound manner, SSA aims to fulfill the objectives of this fundamental right. It is anchored by The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GoI) and has been operational since 2000-2001.
Main objectives of SSA
The main objectives of SSA are as follows:
- To facilitate the opening and construction of new educational institutions in those areas where there are no schooling facilities or a lack of the same.
- To strengthen and improve the existing infrastructure of the school.
- To facilitate alternative schooling facilities and opportunities.
- To provide facilities such as additional classrooms, toilets, drinking water, and more in the schools.
- To maintain the improvement grants of the school.
- To provide free learning material such as textbooks, uniforms, and more to the children
- To eliminate the shortage of teachers by increasing their strength with the appointment of new teachers.
The main areas of focus of SSA are universal access, universal enrolment, universal retention, high-quality elementary education that is free and compulsory for all children.