SSA failing 55 pc schools in India: report

Says SSA money reaches only 45 pc schools in the country, that too in parts and never on time

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | September 10, 2010



Under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), only 45% schools across the country received all the three mandatory grants in the years 2008-09, says a report released here on Thursday.

The Planning, Allocations and Expenditures, Institutions: Studies in Accountabilty (PAISA) report, brought out jointly by Delhi based think-tank Accountabilty Intiative, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) and the ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) Centre of Pratham, tracks spending under SSA - whether the grants reach the schools, and how they is used.

The report focuses on school grants which account for less than 10 percent of the total SSA allocation. The survey, conducted on 14,560 schools across the country, examines four main grants that a school receives – school development grant, school maintenance grant, teacher grant and classroom grant.

The report says that money allocated through SSA does reach the schools - but almost never on time and rarely in the full allottement amount. When the survey was undertaken in October 2009, 35% schools had received one or two grants and 20% of them had not received any grant. The report also says that even when funds reach their intended destination delays are common. And, whatever money the school receives is largely spent in the last quarter of the financial year, when the pressure to spend is very strong.

Madhav Chavan, co-founder of Pratham, highlighted the need for decentralising funding. On the report, he said, "if the centre will not spend money at the right time, the right outcome should not be expected."

PAISA also gives top marks to Kerala and Himachal Pradesh for utilisation of the funds under the central scheme while naming West Bengal as the worst performer. While a little under half of the schools that have received maintenance or development grants do not have usable toilets, one-fifth do without working handpumps, the report says.

The SSA, launched in 2001, aimed at providing quality elementary education to 192 million children. But the recently introduced law – Right to Education (RTE) act, is a step ahead and talks about free and compulsory education. Kiran Bhatty, National Commissioner on RTE at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) - the body responsible to monitor the implementation of the act - highlighted that it is important to have a grievance redressal system for the act. She said that the Right to Education Act has 'failed' in not talking about the grievance redressal. "The commission  will soon lay down code on the grievance redressal system, atleast on papers," she added.

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