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Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is an effort to universalise elementary education by community-ownership of the school system. It is a response to the demand for quality basic education all over the country. The SSA programme is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to all children, through provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode.


All children in school, Education Guarantee Centre, Alternate School, ' Back-to-School' camp by 2003.
  • All children complete five years of primary schooling by 2007
  • All children complete eight years of elementary schooling by 2010 
  • Focus on elementary education of satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life
  • Bridge all gender and social category gaps at primary stage by 2007 and at elementary education level by 2010
  • Universal retention by 2010


The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is to provide useful and relevant elementary education for all children in the  6 to 14 age group by 2010. There is also another goal to bridge social, regional and gender gaps, with the active participation of the community in the management of schools.

Useful and relevant education signifies a quest for an education system that is not alienating and that draws on community solidarity. Its aim is to allow children to learn about and master their natural environment in a manner that allows the fullest harnessing of their human potential both spiritually and materially. This quest must also be a process of value based learning that allows children an opportunity to work for each other's well being rather than to permit mere selfish pursuits.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan realizes the importance of Early Childhood Care and Education and looks at the 0-14 age as a continuum. All efforts to support pre-school learning in ICDS centres or special pre-school centres in non ICDS areas will be made to supplement the efforts being made by the Department of Women and Child Development.


  • Institutional Reforms - As part of the SSA, the central and the State governments will undertake reforms in order to improve efficiency of the delivery system. The states will have to make an objective assessment of their prevalent education system including educational administration, achievement levels in schools, financial issues, decentralisation and community ownership, review of State Education Act, rationalization of teacher deployment and recruitment of teachers, monitoring and evaluation, status of education of girls, SC/ST and disadvantaged groups, policy regarding private schools and ECCE. Many States have already carried out several changes to improve the delivery system for elementary education. 
  •  Sustainable Financing - The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is based on the premise that financing of elementary education interventions has to be sustainable.  This calls for a long -term perspective on financial partnership between the Central and the State governments. 
  • Community Ownership - The programme calls for community ownership of school-based interventions through effective decentralisation. This will be augmented by involvement of women's groups, VEC members and members of Panchayati Raj institutions. 
  • Institutional Capacity Building -The SSA conceives a major capacity building role for national, state and district level institutions like NIEPA / NCERT / NCTE / SCERT / SIEMAT / DIET. 
  • Improvement in quality requires a sustainable support system of resource persons and institutions. 
  • Improving Mainstream Educational Administration - It calls for improvement of mainstream educational administration by institutional development, infusion of new approaches and by adoption of cost effective and efficient methods. 
  • Community Based Monitoring with Full Transparency - The Programme will have a community based monitoring system. The Educational Management Information System (EMIS) will correlate school level data with community-based information from micro planning and surveys. Besides this, every school will be encouraged to share all information with the community, including grants received. A notice board would be put up in every school for this purpose. 
  • Habitation as a Unit of Planning - The SSA works on a community based approach to planning with habitation as a unit of planning. Habitation plans will be the basis for formulating district plans. 
  • Accountability to Community - SSA envisages cooperation between teachers, parents and PRIs, as well as accountability and transparency to the community.   
  • Priority to Education of Girls - Education of girls, especially those belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and minorities, will be one of the principal concerns in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. 
  • Focus on Special Groups - There will be a focus on the inclusion and participation of children from SC/ST, minority groups, urban deprived children disadvantaged groups and the children with special needs, in the educational process.   
  • Pre-Project Phase - SSA will commence throughout the country with a well-planned pre-project phase that provides for a large number of interventions for capacity development to improve the delivery and monitoring system. These include provision for household surveys, community-based microplanning and school mapping, training of community leaders, school level activities, support for setting up information system, office equipment,  diagnostic studies, etc.,   
  • Thrust on Quality - SSA lays a special thrust on making education at the elementary level useful and relevant for children by improving the curriculum, child-centered activities and effective teaching learning strategies. 
  • Role of teachers - SSA recognizes the critical and central role of teachers and advocates a focus on their development needs. Setting up of Block Resource Centres/Cluster Resource Centres, recruitment of qualified teachers, opportunities for teacher development through participation in curriculum-related material development, focus on classroom process and exposure visits for teachers are all designed to develop the human resource among teachers.   
  • District Elementary Education Plans - As per the SSA framework, each district will prepare a District Elementary Education Plan reflecting all the investments being made and required in the elementary education sector, with a holistic and convergent approach. There will be a Perspective Plan that will give a framework of activities over a longer time frame to achieve UEE. There will also be an Annual Work Plan and Budget that will list the prioritized activities to be carried out in that year. The Perspective Plan will also be a dynamic document subject to constant improvement in the course of Programme Implementation.

The 'National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL)' as a component of the scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

The Government has approved a new programme called 'National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL)' as an amendment to the scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for providing additional components for education of girls at elementary level.  The NPEGEL will form part of SSA and will be implemented under the umbrella of SSA but with a distinct identity.

The scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was started in the year 2001-02 with the objective of Universalization of Elementary Education.  It is an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to all children including the girl child, through provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode. However, as SSA has limited financial provisions for girls’ education in the form of “innovations” at district level and free textbooks, and thus there is a need for an additional component.

Accordingly, NPEGEL has been formulated for education of under privileged/ disadvantaged girls from Class I to VIII as a separate and distinct gender component plan of SSA.  The gender component is necessary to achieve UEE for girls in educationally backward areas.


There exists a significant gender gap in enrolment at the elementary level, which is more acute for schedule caste and scheduled tribe girls, for whom the gender gap is almost 30% at the primary level and 26% at upper primary stage.  The reduction of this gender gap has now plateaued and further reduction would require a concerted focus on the hard to reach groups.  Therefore, it is necessary to include certain interventions addressing the specific needs of girl children.

The objectives of NPEGEL are:

  • To develop and promote facilities to provide access and to facilitate retention of girls and to ensure greater participation of women and girls in the field of education. 
  • To improve the quality of education through various interventions and to steer upon the relevance and quality of girls’ education for their empowerment.


There is a disparity in the economic, social and schooling opportunities available to boys and girls. Gender disparities in schooling are largely caused by parental discrimination against the girl child. The schemes involving scholarships or free education for girl children are likely to work well in narrowing the gender gap.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan aims at increasing enrolment and reducing the dropout rate especially amongst girls. It seeks to eliminate gender disparities in schooling.

The scheme was applicable since inception in 2004, in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) where the rural female literacy is below the national average (46.13%: Census 2001) and gender gap in literacy is more than the national average (21.59%: Census 2001). Among these blocks, schools may be set up in areas for.

Concentration of tribal population, with low female literacy and/or a large number of girls out of school concentration of SC, OBC and minority populations, with low female literacy and/or a large number of girls out of school areas with low female literacy or areas with a large number of small, scattered habitations that do not qualify for a school.

Objectives of KGBVs

 The objective of KGBV is to ensure access and quality education to the girls of disadvantaged groups of society by setting up residential schools with boarding facilities at elementary level.

  • To facilitate quality education to the dropout girl children.
  • To provide guarantee for education of girls belonging deprived group
  • To accommodate for education of child labour girls identified during drives