and compulsory education to all children up
to the age of fourteen years is a Constitutional
mandate in India. Elementary education in India
is a fundamental right. Till 1960, all efforts
were focused on provision of schooling facilities.
It is realization of the goal of access that
other mechanism of elementary education such
as universal enrolment, retention and the quality
of education has become the primary focus of
planners and policy makers in the country.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All
Movement) is a flagship programme of the Government
of India, initiated in 2000-01 to universalize
elementary education has achieved a great milestone.
Interventions by the Indian government under
the programme aimed at increasing the number
of schools, ensuring that schools have drinking
water and toilets, providing effective training
to teachers and improving learning outcomes.
Under the SSA, special focus on providing access
to education to disadvantaged groups, minorities
and girls, who are often left behind was also
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has come a long way achieving
• Out of School children number has been
brought down significantly (8 million in 2009,
3 million in 2012).
• Big boost to additional schools -195,000
Primary and more than 100,000 Upper Primary
• 2 million additional teacher posts.
Today we have teachers with proper professional
qualifications for teaching.
• Girls’ admission improved dramatically.
Gender parity is achieved.
• The scheme supports 200 million children
in 1.4 million schools in the country.
• Today there is a primary school within
1 Km distance of most children and almost every
child is in school (Enrolment rates
have gone up to 93%-95% in most parts of the
Fascinatingly, private investment in education
has also gone up in the country. Estimates
say that 27% of all the children are in private
schools. In urban areas this ratio is 50%.
With more urbanisation happening, the future
of private schooling looks good. Therefore,
in an appropriate way private schools have
also contributed to universalise education
India has done laudable work in universalizing
primary education. The issue of access to
schools and enrolment has been nearly resolved.
In this scenario, the role of non-state actors
has become significant. The country provides
a balanced platform for a big role by private
players in education. India looks forward
to see the result of the interplay of the
combined efforts of innovators and private
players together play a major role in primary
education alongside the Government.