I have seen some newspaper reporting on the new education policy of the govt. which can be summarised as follows:
Central Govt. launched Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) in March, 2009 with the objectives of universalisation of secondary education of good quality, accessible and affordable to all young persons in the age group 15-16 years. The intention is to increase the gross enrolment rate (GER) from the existing 52% to 75% in secondary education and from 40% to 65% in senior secondary levels by year 2014. The Central Govt. distributes RMSA funds to government schools. These are used for expansion of infrastructure, improvement of classrooms and assisting states in publicity drives for education. The fund-sharing arrangement between the Centre and the States is 75:25. For the North- East States, the ratio is 90:10.
Major targets of RMSA scheme include (a) strengthening of 44,000 existing secondary schools, (b) opening of 11,188 secondary schools, mostly through upgradation of upper primary schools, (c) appointment of 1.79 lakh additional teachers, and (d) construction of 80,500 additional classrooms.
Since the target of the scheme is to expand good quality secondary education by releasing fund to the existing government schools only, it is now facing challenges due to the absence of sufficient government schools in many states. So, the success of the scheme is now dependent on private schools. In our country, 60%t schools which offer class VI-VIII are private. There are only 37% govt. schools which have classes IX and above. States like West Bengal and UP with a low proportion of Government schools in secondary sector are not able get an equitable share of RMSA funds. Therefore, the Ministry of Human resource and Development has decided to alter its RMSA scheme only for WB for the sake of universalisation of secondary education. Instead of funding all government schools which are less than two percent in the state the Ministry will now select and fund non-govt. aided schools in WB. Although state officials are not happy with this decision of the Centre, the Ministry has decided to go ahead with the plan finally.
Now my queries are:
(1) Is the RMSA scheme similar to the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan?
(2) What is the percentage of state govt. schools in WB?
(3) Why are the state officials unhappy with the decision of the Central Govt. who wants to distribute RMSA fund to the aided schools to achieve the goal of the scheme? Otherwise, WB will be far behind compared to other states regarding progress of secondary education due to non-availability of adequate fund from the Centre!
(4) Whether the private schools in WB are also considered by the Centre for getting RMSA fund?