Delivering better education for poor children in India

13 Feb 2013

The Young Lives India team met with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in Hyderabad on 12 February 2013 to present findings from the Young Lives school survey.

The presentation by Dr Vijay Kumar, Delivering better education for poor children, gave an overview of findings about enrolment, school infrastructure, school characteristics and perceptions of children, parents and teachers, plus policy implications. The analysis is based on field work carried out in 248 schools covering 950 Younger Cohort children aged 8.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the Government of India's flagship programme for the achievement of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) (as mandated by the 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory education for children aged 6-14 years a fundamental right). SSA is being implemented in partnership with State Governments to cover the entire country and address the needs of 192 million children.

The meeting was attended by 35 stakeholders, and chaired by Ms Usha Rani, Andhra Pradesh State Project Director of SSA. Ms Usha Rani congratulated Young Lives and Save the Children on their research, saying that “Research presented to person’s implementing is very useful.”

She agreed that the Young Lives findings reflect the situation in the field and noted quality of education is very important. She said it is important to look at the standard of text books and how teachers are teaching in the class. Citing an example from Orissa, she said she is planning to have a toll-free number to be printed at the back of all textbook books, where students and caregivers can directly register a complaint and actions that need to be taken immediately. Keeping the present Right to Education Act in view, she added that SSA is developing a website where all private schools would need to enter and give details of teacher’s qualification, etc. She concluded by saying, “I promise we will do our best to improve the education system.”

Dr Renu Singh, Country Director, Young Lives India,  thanked Ms Usha Rani for her valuable input and noted that a key aim of Young Lives research is to inform policy.