`Govt made substantial progress in strengthening education`

Last Updated: Monday, May 23, 2011 - 00:26

New Delhi: The government on Sunday said it has
made substantial progress in strengthening the country`s
education system and bringing down the number of school
dropouts significantly.

In his `Report to the People`, Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh underlined that one of his government`s thrust areas had
been the "expansion and strengthening" of the country`s
eduction system at all levels -- elementary, secondary and
higher.

"There has been significant reduction in the number of
out of school children at the elementary level. More than 11
crore children are now provided hot cooked meals under the Mid
Day Meal Programme," he said.

The number of out-of-school children has come down from
134.6 lakh in 2005 to 81.5 lakh in 2009, the annual report
card of UPA-II said, citing a study by the Social Rural
Research Institute -- International Marketing Research Bureau
(SRIIMRB).

It also stated that attention is being given for
universal access, including special training, to mainstream
out-of-school children in age appropriate classes in regular
schools.

Under the Mid-day Meal Programme, the report stated that
11.36 crore children were provided hot cooked meals in 12.66
lakh schools in the country.

By now, 11.25 lakh schools have been provided with
kitchenwares and 26 lakh cook-cum-helpers have been appointed
to provide mid-day meals to the school children.

Similarly, 4.66 lakh kitchen-cum-stores have been
constructed to ensure safety of foodgrains and serving of
hygienic meals to the children, the report stated.

In 2010-11, according to the report, 5,658 new primary
schools and 3,870 new upper primary schools were opened across
the country.

While 1,41,102 additional classrooms built, 83,038
teachers are appointed in the past one year, it said.

Taking pride for the passage of historic Right to Free
and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, the government said that
"elementary education has now become a fundamental right" for
all children in the 6-14 age group.

"In secondary education, significant progress was made in
2010-2011 in the schemes for establishment and management of
girls` hostels and ICT in schools," the Prime Minister said.

"In higher education, we moved forward in strengthening
the legislative framework by finalising or introducing in
Parliament a number of bills," he said in the report.

He also noted that three new Indian Institutes of
Managements (IIMs) -- at Rohatak, Ranchi and Raipur --
commenced their academic sessions in 2010-11, while the IIM at
Tiruchirapalli was operationalised with executive programmes.

All the new National Institutes of Technology also
started functioning from July 2010, the Prime Minister said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, May 23, 2011 - 00:26

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