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How much does the government spend in a government school per child per month in India? Surprisingly it’s a question that very few interested in improving educational opportunities in India ask—whether in India or outside.  You can bet that no state education minister knows that number with necessary details. Nonetheless it’s the critical point to start any discussion on the goal of education for all.

Over the years, India has tried many approaches to improve the quality of school education. The lack of quality in state schools has created a two-tier system of school education. Those who can afford, go to private schools and those who cannot go to government ones. The children of the poor have no option but the poorly functioning state schools. This gross inequality of schooling opportunities is the result of our current approach to education.

Since its launch in 2001, SSA has infused substantial new resources into India’s elementary education. In a sense, even before the Fundamental Right to Education became part of the Constitution, SSA has been striving to fulfill that right of the children in the age group of 6-14. Last year the budget allocation for SSA was Rs 7,800 crore, this year it is Rs 11,000 crore. This is on the top of the massive spending on the universalisation of elementary education.

Since its launch in 2001, SSA has infused substantial new resources into India’s elementary education. In a sense, even before the Fundamental Right to Education became part of the Constitution, SSA has been striving to fulfill that right of the children in the age group of 6-14. Last year the budget allocation for SSA was Rs 7,800 crore, this year it is Rs 11,000 crore. This is on the top of the massive spending on the universalisation of elementary education.

Muster rolls of public work projects are notoriously abused. Many who are on the official worker list are not actually working on the site and several who are working are not on the roll. Aruna Roy and her organisation MKSS (Majdur Kissan Shakti Sangathan) in Rajasthan took up this issue. The activists would visit a public work site, get a copy of the official muster roll and then verify it, exposing the corruption. After some long battles and initial success, they began to visit more and more sites.

Two questions provide a clue to what needs to be done in our education system: Which two states have the highest rate of literacy in the country? Which two states have the highest proportion of privately managed schools?

‘Rich are getting richer and poor are becoming poorer!’ is now a common refrain in India in any discussion on economic reforms. Since 1991, India has undergone a great deal of liberalization internally and externally. Many feel that the gains of this liberalization and globalization have not accrued to the poor.

Unequal Distribution of Economic Freedom

After 59 years of Independence, 4 out of 10 Indians are illiterate and essentially barred from a prosperous future.

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