EQUALITY INDIA NEWS/ SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE
The first Meeting of the National Mission of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) was held under the Chairmanship of Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) here today. The National Mission is the apex body to take decisions on implementation, monitoring and evaluation of RMSA so as to implement the programme efficiently and effectively. The Mission is chaired by Minister of Human Resource Development and consists of Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy as Vice-chairperson, Secretary of the Planning Commission, Secretaries of 8 other Ministries/ Departments, Director, NCERT, Vice-Chancellor, NUEPA, Chairman, CBSE and Secretaries of School Education of all States and Union Territories. The Department of School Education & Literacy made a presentation on the current scenario of secondary education in the country and the role of RMSA in universalisation of secondary education.
The programme was launched in March, 2009 as part of the Central Government’s commitment to make secondary education of good quality available, accessible and affordable to all young persons.
The objective of the scheme is to enhance access to and improve quality of education at secondary stage, while ensuring equity. The scheme envisages enhancing the enrolment ratio from 52.26% in 2005-06 to 75% for classes IX-X within 5 years by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of every habitation, improving quality of education imparted at secondary level through making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, removal of gender, socio-economic and disability barriers, universal access to secondary level education by 2017, and universal retention by 2020.
Broad physical targets include providing facilities for opening of about 11,000 new secondary schools, strengthening of about 44,000 existing govt. secondary schools, appointment of additional teachers to improve Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) and to provide subject specific teachers.
While reviewing and thereafter during the discussion on the progress of implementation of RMSA, a number of States pointed out problems in implementation of the scheme due to huge infrastructure deficit existing in secondary education. They also expressed the need for greater support to manage and monitor the RMSA. Several State Secretaries suggested that the scope of RMSA should be expanded to include Government-aided schools and to include the higher secondary stage, i.e., classes XI and XII. The Mission deliberated on these issues and recommended to the Ministry to initiate necessary processes for the required modifications.
Recognizing the need for access and quality to be concurrent points of focus in the programme, the Mission also approved adoption of a list of quality enhancing interventions drawn up on the basis of interactions with the State Governments, other stakeholders and deliberations in the Project Approval Board (PAB). These include appointment of teachers under RMSA, induction training of teachers, workshops on module developments for in-service training of teachers, management training of school heads, training of principals, etc.
It was agreed that disaggregated data for disadvantaged groups such as disabled students, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, girls, minorities, etc need to be collected, regularly monitored and reviewed to ensure equity and full participation of all disadvantaged groups in the scheme. The Mission stressed the need for enhancing the pace of implementation at the State level so that the objective of universalisation of secondary education by 2017 can be achieved.