During the last two decades, a major emphasis has been given on improving school environment by different educational programmes like Operation Blackboard, District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and Samagra Siksha, in order to enhance regular participation of students and finally resulting in improvement in their learning levels.

Recommendations made by RTE Act 2009 for school education:

  •  RTE Act 2009,has recommended that each school should be equipped with 'All weather building consisting of at least one classroom for every teacher; barrier-free access; separate toilets for boys and girls; safe drinking water facility to all children; playground; securing the school building by boundary wall or fencing.

Increase in number of schools:

  •  SSA and RMSA during its decade long programme have sanctioned more than 3.64 lakhs elementary and secondary schools, which has resulted in significant increase in the number of schools in rural areas. The figures of the 8th All India Education Survey reveal that (96.01 per cent) rural population have access to primary stage education facilities within walking distance of 1km; and 92.81 rural population have access to upper primary stage education facilities within a distance of 3 kms. SSA has a provision of residential facilities in sparsely populated or hilly and densely forested areas with difficult geographical terrains.
  •  Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) are residential upper primary schools set up in educationally backward blocks for girls from SC,ST, OBC and Minority communities. 3609 KGBVs have been sanctioned by Government of India.
  •  Girls' hostel for students of secondary and higher secondary schools: This is also a Centrally Sponsored Scheme that has been implemented since 2009-10 to set up a 100-bed girls' hostel in each of the 3,479 Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) of the country in an effort to ensure that girls are retained at the secondary level of education. 2,483 Girls' Hostel are sanctioned in rural areas to improve access and retain the girls in Secondary and Higher Secondary classes (X XII) so that the girls get the opportunity to continue with their studies irrespective of distance to schools and other socio-economic factors.
  •  School Building and classrooms: There are 98 per cent schools in rural areas, having their buildings. Since the inception of the erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Scheme, SSA and RMSA 18.40 lakh classrooms has been constructed as a result the student classroom ratio (SCR) reduced drastically.
  •  Drinking Water: Investment for enhancement in facilities was not limited to opening of new schools alone. The school infrastructure (physical facilities in the school) has also augmented substantially with financial and technical support provided from SSA and RMSA. As per UDISE 2016-17, there are 97 per cent schools in rural areas equipped with drinking water facility. Many states have already achieved universal availability of drinking water facility with 100 per cent in schools.
  •  Separate Toilet for Boys and Girls: Department of School Education and Literacy launched Swachh Vidyalaya Initiative with an objective to provide separate toilets for girls and boys in all government schools within the timeline of 15th August, 2015. Under this initiative 4,17,796 (2.26 lakh boys' and 1.91 lakh girls toilets) toilet blocks were constructed or made functional in 2,61,400 schools within the given timeline. This included schools in the most difficult to remote areas in the country or areas facing Left Wing Extremism (LWE). The Initiative was made successful in partnership with all State Governments, 64 Central Public Sector Undertakings, and 11 Private Corporates. With this, about 13.77 crore children in 11.21 lakh government schools all over the country now have access to toilet facilities.
  •  Ramp and CWSN Toilet: One of the major objectives of all education programmes that have been implemented at present is to develop an inclusive education system by providing access to children with disabilities. Provisioning of ramp and CWSN toilet facility are two major interventions in this regard. It has been found in DISE 2016-17 that around 64 per cent schools are having ramp and 23 percent schools having CWSN toilet facility. The proportion of schools without ramp facility is much higher in case of secondary and higher secondary level though there has been considerable decline of such schools during the last TWO years of all levels.
  •  Library: The RTE Act and RMSA specifies that the Library will be an essential component of the school, providing not only resource for learning, but also for strengthening the idea of reading for pleasure, among the students. The UDISE 2016-17 data indicates that there has been an increase in the facilities from 2010 after the implementation of RTE Act and RMSA. In rural areas the percentage of schools with library has been increased from 55 per cent in 2009-10 to 82 per cent in 2016-17.
  •  Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is being used in classrooms to improve learning outcomes worldwide. ICT@ schools was a scheme launched in 2004 by MHRD and revised in 2010 to provide opportunities to secondary and senior secondary students to mainly build their capacity on ICT skills and make them learn through computer aided learning process.
  •  Computer Aided Learning (CAL): Under SSA the CAL is primarily introduced in rural government upper primary schools covering the classes VI to VIII to attract and retain children and also in the process, enhance the quality of learning. The main objective of the CAL programme is to attract the rural children, retain them in the schools and to improve the quality of the education through animated multimedia based educational content.
  •  Electricity: Electricity is a lasting need for education. Particularly in rural areas within a few years, students will be using digital devices to access information needed for studies, instead of using traditional textbooks. Computers and smart classrooms in rural areas have changed the need for electricity in schools. Although more than80 percent of secondary and higher secondary schools in the rural areas are equipped with electricity facility, large number of primary schools are still devoid of electricity, despite having electricity in villages.
  •  Playground: RTE Act 2009 gives emphasis on playground in schools as playing puts enormous positive impact on children in their learning and overall physical development. The situation regarding availability of playground in schools is far from satisfactory even in rural areas. There are 59 per cent schools having playground within it. Lack of availability of playground hampers engagement of children in different games and physical activities making schooling monotonous and unattractive. The situation is slightly better in case of upper primary, secondary and higher secondary levels.
  •  Boundary Wall: It is also noteworthy that although most of the schools are running in a building but many of these schools are found without any boundary wall. The analysis of U-DISE data indicates that a 47 per cent of schools in rural areas do not have boundary wail which is very important for the safety of children.
  •  Science Laboratory for Secondary and Higher Secondary schools: Science is different from any other subject. It is believed that laboratory teaching and experiments that are being conducted help encourage deep understanding in children. Children are able to retain knowledge for longer when they see the experiments being performed in front of them. Under RMSA, integrated science labs has been sanctioned to the Secondary- Schools. The chart below shows the availability of the labs in rural areas.

Way Forward:

  •  To improve the quality of the programme, Government of India, in 2018-19, has decided to treat school education holistically without segmentation from Pre-Primary' to Class 12.
  •  Samagra Shiksha - an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class 12. It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  •  With the introduction of Samagra Siksha, the focus is on improving quality and learning outcomes in school education, also to improve retention in schools.
  •  The main emphasis of the programme is on improving the education infrastructure and to provide quality education.


  •  A good school infrastructure with good spaces makes conducive place for the children to study. Both SSA and RMSA have improved access to elementary and secondary education in the country.
  •  In rural areas, the augmented school infrastructure has enhanced enrolment of children in schools, especially girls and other disadvantaged groups.
  •  It makes the learning more interesting and gets the children motivated to attend school, this in turn improves the attendance and interest of students in learning.

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