The information was published by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, to take steps to ensure quality education for children of weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the country.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, entitles every child of age 6 to 14 years to a right to free and compulsory education in a neighborhood school till completion of elementary education. Section 8(c) of the RTE Act, 2009 provides that the appropriate government would ensure that the child belonging to the weaker section and the child belonging to a disadvantaged group are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education on any grounds. Further, Section 12 (1) (c) of the RTE Act, 2009 provides that all specified category schools and unaided schools shall admit at least 25% of children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the neighborhood in class I and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion.
Samagra Shiksha, an overarching program for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII, aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, and secondary to senior secondary levels. Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the scheme. The scheme reaches out to girls, Children with Special Needs (CwSN), and children belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), minority communities, and transgender.
The focus of major interventions under the Scheme includes the provision of RTE Entitlements such as free uniforms, textbooks, special training for school children, etc., provision for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs (CwSN), and Vocational Education among others. The scheme also gives attention to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration, including children of farmers and laborers, and children living in remote and scattered habitations.
Under the scheme, provision has been made for giving preference to Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Educationally Backward Blocks, LWE affected districts, and aspirational districts while planning interventions like setting up/ upgradation of schools up to senior secondary level, strengthening of existing infrastructure, upgradation and running of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs), residential schools and hostels, etc.