Bridging Gender Gap in Education

Bridging gender and social category gaps in elementary education is one of the major goals ofSarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Consequently, SSA attempts to reach out to girls and children belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Muslims and other marginalised communities. SSA has also given attention to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration, and children living in remote and scattered habitations.

Under the SSA, the districts with high concentration of population of SCs, STs and Muslims have been identified as Special Focus Districts (SFDs). The criteria for identifying the SFDs in case ofSCs and STs is a population of 25% and above, while for Muslims, it is 20% and above population.SFDs also include 121 districts identified by Ministry of Minority Affairs to monitor implementation of SSA as part of Prime Minister’s 15 Point Programme and 88 districts identified by Ministry of Home Affairs as districts affected with Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

Through the interventions made under SSA in SFDs, at the national level the enrolment share of SC children as per District Information System for Education (DISE), 2013-14, at elementary level is 19.72%, whereas their share in population is 16.6% (as per Census 2011). Similarly, the enrolment share of ST children at elementary level as per DISE 2013-14, is 10.63%, whereas their share in population is 8.6% (as per Census 2011). The enrolment of girls also shows considerable improvement over the years and it increased to 48.20% in 2013-14 from 47.79% in 2005-06 at primary level and at upper primary level it increased to 48.66% in 2013-14 from 48.20% in 2005-06.

Participation of students at school has an impact on their learning outcomes. Four rounds of National Achievement Surveys (NAS) have been conducted so far by the National Council of Educational Research & Training for class V whereas three rounds have been conducted for classes III & VIII. These reveal that SC/ST children have performed better than the national average in Language, Maths, Science and Social Science, in many of the States.

The drop-out rate in respect of ST children has come down to 10.16% in 2013-14 from 11.77% in 2012-13 at primary level. Similarly, in case of Muslim children the drop-out rate has decreased to 7.03% in 2013-14 from 10.70% in 2012-13 at primary level.

A total of 323 districts under one or more of the above categories have been identified as SFDs. Under SSA, since its inception upto 31.12.2015, 92021 primary schools, 54623 upper primary schools and 851473 additional classrooms have been constructed in SFDs. Besides, KasturbaGandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) has played an important role in furthering the goal of girls’ education in educationally backward blocks of the country. A total of 330 KGBVs, which are upper primary residential schools for girls, have been sanctioned in the SC SFDs, out of which 326 are operational. Similarly, 508 KGBVs have been sanctioned in ST SFDs, out of which 507 are operational. In ST SFDs, 106 residential schools and 190 hostels have been sanctioned. In LWESFDs, 66 residential schools, 93 hostels and 913 KGBVs have been sanctioned.

This information was given by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. SmritiZubin Irani today in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.