Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

Inclusive Education in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan PDF Print E-mail

Background

RTE mandates free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age. The key objective of RTE- SSA is Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE). Three important aspects of UEE are access, enrolment and retention of all children in 6-14 years of age. This goal of UEE, has further been facilitated by the Constitutional (86th Amendment) Act, making free and compulsory elementary education a Fundamental Right, for all the children in the age group of 6-14 years. This Amendment has given a new thrust to the education of Children With Special Needs (CWSN), as without their inclusion, the objective of UEE cannot be achieved. In-fact inclusion of one of the groups, which is extremely crucial for UEE, is perhaps that of the CWSN. Hence, education of CWSN is an important component of SSA.

Provisions for CWSN under SSA

SSA provides upto Rs.3000/- per child for the inclusion of disabled children, as per specific proposal, per year. District plan for children with special needs is formulated within the Rs.3000/- per child norm, with Rs. 1000/- ear- marked exclusively for engagement of resource teachers. The interventions under SSA for inclusive education are identification, functional and formal assessment, appropriate educational placement, preparation of Individualized Educational Plan, provision of aids and appliances, teacher training, resource support, removal of architectural barriers, research, monitoring and evaluation and a special focus on girls with special needs.

RTE – SSA’s Policy on Inclusion – Policy interventions

SSA ensures that every child with special needs, irrespective of the kind, category and degree of disability, is provided meaningful and quality education. Hence, SSA has adopted a zero rejection policy.This means that no child having special needs should be deprived of the right to education and taught in an environment, which is best, suited to his/her learning needs. These include special schools, EGS, AIE or even home-based education. The major thrust of SSA is on inclusion or mainstreaming CWSN into the fabric of formal elementary schooling. Experiences of programmes like DPEP and various research findings have shown that inclusion is best determined by the individual needs of the child. Most children with special needs can be enrolled and retained in regular schools if adequate resource support is provided to them, whereas there are others who might have to be provided some kind of pre-integration programmes, before they can be mainstreamed in a classroom. There might also be still some CWSN with severe profound disabilities, who would require an educational programme and intensive specialized support. Every child with special needs should be placed in the neighbourhood schools, with needed support services. Children with special needs need to be facilitated to acquire certain skills that will enable them to access elementary education as envisaged in the Act. For instance, they may need mobility training, training in Braille, sign language, postural training, etc. Thus, school preparedness of children with special needs must be ensured by providing ‘special training’ as envisaged in the RTE Act. This training may be residential, non residential or even home based, as per their specific requirements. The existing non formal and alternate schooling (including home based education) options for children with disabilities can be recast as ‘special training’. This means that (a) all children with special needs who are not enrolled in schools or have dropped out, will first be enrolled in a neighborhood school in an age appropriate grade, (b) they will be entitled to ‘special training’ through regular teachers or teachers specifically appointed for the purpose.

Thus, SSA has adopted a more expansive and a broad-based understanding of the concept of inclusion, wherein a multi-option model of educating CWSN is being implemented. The dual objective of embracing this model is to bring more CWSN under the umbrella of SSA and to provide to CWSN appropriate need based skills, be it vocational, functional literacy or simply activities of daily living. Further, an attempt is being made to provide these skills in the most appropriate learning environment.

Efforts so far (Data Trends and Performance)
The implementation of this multi-option model of inclusion in SSA has been made possible due to the flexibility offered to each State by the programme. Although most SSA States have identified and enrolled CWSN in schools, they differ in the approaches and strategies adopted to achieve the ultimate objective of inclusion. States like A.P., Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya- Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and U.P. have conducted residential bridge courses for CWSN with the main objective of preparing CWSN for schools, thereby endeavouring better quality inclusion for them. Whereas Rajasthan is conducting these bridge courses entirely through NGOs, U.P is conducting them through the resource teachers especially recruited by the District SSA Societies for this purpose. Andhra- Pradesh has adopted a mixed model, with some districts conducting these courses through NGOs and others through the District SSA Societies. CWSN are also being covered through the EGS. So far in SSA, 51565 CWSN are being covered through AIE/EGS in 19 States/UTs. Another practice adopted by SSA States (27 States so far) is that of the home-based education for children with severe-profound disabilities with the objective of either preparing CWSN for schools or for life by imparting to them basic living skills. Again States have adopted different ways to provide home-based support to CWSN. States like Himachal-Pradesh and Uttarakhand are using NGOs for this purpose, whereas States like Karnataka and Kerala have appointed volunteers who visit the homes of CWSN to provide them basic functional skills. Still other States like Tamil- Nadu are using special schools as resource centers to provide short-time or part-time help to individual children with special needs and their parents. Parental counseling and vocational training are two important aspects of the entire home-based instruction programme. Through home-based education, SSA has been able to cover 1.38 lakh CWSN. A notable feature of this programme has been an increased and a sustainable school- community linkage by actively involving parents in the educational process of their CWSN. No matter what the educational setting, it is widely accepted that there can be no inclusion of CWSN without adequate resource support. This aspect has been taken care of in SSA mainly through NGOs, inclusive education resource teachers (IERTs), volunteers or by imparting long-term training to regular teachers on inclusion. States like Haryana have opened model inclusive schools in every block and equipped them with all possible facilities (like transport, equipment for physio- therapy, occupational therapy, resource teachers etc.) mainly to provide all kinds of support services, including remedial teaching to CWSN. 28 States/ UTs have appointed 12629 resource teachers and 1139 NGOs are involved in the IE programme in 33 States/ UTs. An important and unique facet of this involvement is the range of activities that the NGOs have undertaken in the States for IE. These activities vary from planning for inclusion as in West- Bengal, to implementation and monitoring of IE, like in Tamil-Nadu. Other States have engaged NGOs for designing and initiating innovative programmes. These include theme-based camps in Orissa and development of low-cost / no- cost simulation park for social inclusion of CWSN in every BRC of Tamil- Nadu to training of Key Resource Persons from the Families of CWSN in West- Bengal and preparation of adapted TLM for CWSN in Karnataka.

Two additional forms of resource support, complimentary to each other, being provided to CWSN are through assistive devices and barrier free access.
Both of these aim enhancement of the functional capacity/ mobility of CWSN to promote their easy access to the schools. 18.37 lakh CWSN (72.49% of the CWSN requiring aids and appliances) under SSA have been provided assistive devices through various modes. Some States like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and U.P. have converged with District Disability Rehabilitation Centers, local Red Cross, Composite Regional Centers, NGOs etc. and some States like Kerala and A.P. have made arrangements to provide the necessary equipment to CWSN through the State Government supported organizations – like A.P. Viklaangula Corporative Corporation (APVCC) and Kerala State Electronic Development Corporation (KELTRON). However, the largest provider of aids and appliances to CWSN under SSA is ALIMCO (Artificial Limb Manufacturing Corporation of India), a public sector undertaking functioning under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) with which an agreement has been signed at the national level, as per which 60% of the cost of the assistive devices would be borne by MoSJ&E and 40% by the State SSA Societies. Also 23477 visually impaired children have been provided Braille books with the help of NIVH, Dehradun, |National Association of the Blind, All India Confederation of the Blind and other such reputed organizations. Schools are being made more disabled friendly by incorporating barrier free features in their designs 7.27 lakh schools have been made barrier-free and very focused efforts are being made by all the States to cover more schools in a phased manner. Another recent initiative of SSA States has been of providing disabled friendly toilets. Thus far in SSA, 3761 toilets have been made disabled friendly.

Details given at Annex-I (a-h).
The Outcome (Impact and Evaluation)
These practices and innovations in SSA are no doubt leading to a gradual increased identification of CWSN. From 14.59 lakh CWSN identified in 2003-04, 30.42 lakh have been identified till now. Similarly, the enrollment of CWSN has gone up to 25.95 lakh CWSN (85.33%) as compared to 11.71 lakh CWSN in 2003-04. More CWSN are likely to be covered this year through various interventions and strategies. The current coverage of CWSN is 27.80 lakh (91.39%).Besides increasing the physical coverage, the expenditure on inclusive education in SSA has also shown an upward trend. From a mere 26% expenditure in 2003-04, the States have shown an overall expenditure of 78.88% on CWSN inclusion related activities in 2009-10.

The Challenges

It can be seen from the foregoing that several novel initiatives have been taken up to address the divergent needs of special children. An endeavour has also been made to develop in teachers, the necessary attitude, skills and competencies required to deal effectively with children with various special educational needs. The focus of SSA is now on reaching out to those out of school CWSN, not covered so far and developing a strategy that will ensure that every child with special needs receives continuing on site support.This perhaps is the biggest challenge of all and a crucial determinant of the success of the inclusive education programme under SSA. However, there are a few important issues in IE that are being continued to be stressed upon by Government of India with the States, namely : –
(i) The percentage of CWSN identified being only 1.50 % of the total child population in comparison to Census 2001, wherein 2.1% of the population has been found to have some disability. Hence, States should further streamline identification procedures
(ii) Monitoring mechanisms to assess both the quantitative and qualitative progress in IE to be constantly improved by States.
(iii) Emphasis on classroom practices and teaching methods adopted by teachers for effective classroom management of CWSN
(iv) 58.01% schools have been made barrier-free, more schools need to be covered. Quality of ramps in most of the States is an area of concern
(v) To ensure that every child with special needs receives continuing on site academic support. in schools.

Initiatives at the National Level:

To deal with the above issues, following initiatives have been taken up at the national level:
– National level consultation with the national level institutions and civil society organization working in the disability sector held to discuss the systemic changes for creating a conducive learning environment for the CWSN
– Sub-group with representatives of civil society organizations constituted to frame guidelines on teacher training programme, capacity building of Resource Teachers, multi-category training and strengthening of Resource Rooms
– A National level Resource Group on Inclusive Education proposed with representatives of national level institutions and civil society organizations.
– Survey formats for preparing the record of children at habitation level being revised to collect authentic information on CWSN
– Detailed guidelines prepared for identification of CWSN of different categories
– Provision for 5% sample check of the habitation based data on CWSN through the third party
– Larger network of the Resource Teachers and Care Givers for academic support to CWSN and teachers
– Creating/strengthening the Resource Rooms at block level for counseling and therapeutic support to the CWSN
– Provision for development of one resource room in every district to be accredited as RCI study centres
– Augmentation of the BRCs with training facilities which are also useful top carry put trainings in IE also
– Provision for the engagement of IE volunteers on contractual basis at GP level
– Provision for Home Based Education for children with severe or profound disabilities
– Focus on adequate availability of appropriate teaching learning materials, equipments

and furniture Focus of inclusive education in the year 2011-12: would be on infrastructure development, human resource and manpower development, strengthening material support to CWSN to promote effective inclusion in schools and classrooms and strengthening schools for the enrollment and retention of all kinds of CWSN. Hence, the focus would now be on specific activities that would promote physical access of CWSN, activities for ensuring enrollment and continued attendance and retention of CWSN in the schools, including provision of continuum of support services to provide quality inclusive education to CWSN.

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Guidelines –

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: Framework for Implementation PDF Print E-mail

Based on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory,Education Act, 2009
A publication of:Department of School Education and Literacy
Ministry of Human Resource and Development
Government of India,March (2011)

The role of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) for strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunities to all has been accepted since the inception of our Republic. The original Article 45 in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution mandated the State to endeavour to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to age fourteen in a period of ten years. The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986/92, states: “In our national perception, education is essentially for all… Education has an acculturating role. It refines sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, a scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit – thus furthering the goals of socialism, secularism and democracy enshrined in our Constitution

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Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009/ Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 April 2014 16:09

1. Interventional strategies for Special Training:-

1. Section 4 of the RTE Act provides that where a child above six years of age has not been admitted to any school and though admitted, could not complete elementary education, then he /she shall be admitted to an age appropriate class provided that when a child is directly admitted in order to ensure that she is at par with others he/ she shall have a right to be provided special training. Strategies used for alternative or non-formal education in the past have been aligned to conform to the RTE provisions of Special Training (ST) for out of school children (OoSC) who must be academically assisted for admission to an age appropriate class in a regular school.

2. Definition of out of school child:-

2.1 There is no standard definition for clarifying children who are “out of school”. Varied approaches have been adopted in different parts of the country. For clarity on the concept, the following standard definition is suggested:

2.2 “ A child 6-14 years of age will be considered out of school if he / she has never been enrolled in an elementary school or if after enrolment has been absent from school without prior intimation for reasons of absence for a period of 45 days or more”.

3. Out of school children:-

3.1 Several studies have shown that children who still remain out of school fall in the `hardest to reach’ or ‘most vulnerable’ categories. While rapid increase in enrolment and attendance has occurred among children from poor households, the poorer localities still have OoSC who are left out of the system. Within local communities there are pockets of exclusion from schools, with high presence of SC, ST, street children, orphans/homeless children, migrant children, denotified/ primitive tribal groups etc. Gender is a cross-cutting category which overlaps other disadvantages.

3.2 NSSO data shows that the number of out of school boys in 10-13 years age group is higher. In spite of the focus on inclusive education in SSA, children with special needs (CWSN) are still out of mainstream schooling. This was highlighted in the IMRB- SRI survey on OoSC in 2009 that estimated 29 lakh CWSN in the age group of 6-13 years, of which 34.12% were not in school. There are also children who do not fall into well recognized categories and are socially invisible or ostracized.

3.3 While the “never enrolled” children maybe increasingly integrated within the system over the next few years, the issue of drop outs will need sustained mechanism to address it.

Besides social and economic reasons, the school system has perhaps been unable to connect with vulnerable children and make the education process relevant and valuable for them. School dropouts cite lack of interest in school, negative experience in schools and a sense of under
achievement, as the primary reasons for dropping out, in many surveys. Schools can also ‘push out’ children in a larger social context, where disadvantaged children feel a sense of alienation in the school’s expectations, whether of hygiene, of regularity, of punctuality in reaching school and so on.

4. Role of Local Authority:

4.1 Section 9 of the RTE Act gives the Local Authority (basically PRIs and ULBs) the responsibility of identifying OoSC and organizing ST. This will necessitate a close interaction of Local Authority with School headmasters/teachers on a sustained basis.Specific guidelines need
to be issued as to how and in what ways the Local Authority and schools will organize identification, organizing and monitoring of OoSC in the State/UT RTE Rules.

4.2 The Local Authority has also been vested with the function of listing the names of every child in the village/ habitation register. The register should be standardized to have age and gender wise details which will be reviewed in the meetings of Gram Panchayat or its education Sub-Committee, at regular intervals. If a child is found to be out of school for any reason, it should be discussed and followed up by the Local Authority to enable the child to join school.

The Local Authority can involve parents, other village community members and motivate them to send the child to school. The Local Authority can also be a pressure group on employers, in case of child labour situations, to release the child and send her to school.

4.3 The Local Authority has to ensure coverage of all OoSC in ST in the neighbourhood or if circumstances so demand, in a residential Special Training facility. They must also monitor the attendance of OoSC in these centres their subsequent age appropriate mainstreaming in schools.

4.4 The Local Authority and neighbourhood school must ensure that children taken up in ST are first registered in the regular school and records must clearly show the details of ST in which she is covered.

5. Special Training for 6- 14 years:

5.1 ST is a critical component under the RTE Act with a medium term vision. It should be approached not merely as a time-bound interim initiative, but as a mechanism to make the schooling system responsive to the needs of children from diverse back grounds. Other than addressing needs of the OoSC in the medium term, the ST must feed back into the system to ensure that children are retained in regular classes.

5.2 ST must be provided in the same academic year as the one in which the identification of OoSC has taken place.

6. Implementation Approach:

6.1 ST should be guided by flexibility and innovation at multiple levels- in the curriculum, in the pedagogy, the strategy, its implementation, in teacher training and in the management. There are activities and processes which will precede and follow the actual teaching learning in ST which interalia may be as follows:

6.2 Identification: For identification, keeping track of children who are absent for long stretches is important as such children are at the risk of becoming school dropouts sooner or later if they are not tracked.

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India Elementary Education Project: SSA-III PDF Print E-mail

(Proposed World Bank support)
Social Assessment (December 2013) – A Summary

Introduction

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is India’s main program for universalizing elementary education. Its overall goals include universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in education and enhancement of learning levels of children. India passed its Right of Children to  Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which became effective from April 2010, and gave effect to Article 21-A (Eighty-sixth Amendment Act of the Indian Constitution, 2002) making the provision of free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6-14 years one of the Fundamental Rights. The main challenge now is to improve pupil attendance and retention, and to focus on learning outcomes, especially for the disadvantaged groups. To achieve this, special efforts are required to enhance social accountability, institutional reform and governance for improved service delivery. The SSA framework for implementation is well prepared to address the challenges in achieving the goals targeted by RTE.

The World Bank proposes to support the India Elementary Education Project- SSA IIIthrough an Investment Project Financing loan. As a part of this, a Social Assessment (SA) exercise for SSA has been undertaken for incorporating social analyses and participatory processes into project design and implementation. This study has been carried out to ensure that social implications of the proposed project have been identified, analyzed and clearly communicated to the decision makers. In order to achieve this target, the broad objective was to identify, develop and incorporate social measures into project planning, preparation, implementation and monitoring as a means of identifying and addressing direct and indirect social outcomes through all aspects of project execution. The challenges identified for the proposed World Bank support to SSA-III (based on the social analysis through field visits to Karnataka and Kerala) were reviewed against the provisions of the SSA framework. In the backdrop of the above, the following suggestions are being made for MHRD to carry out during program implementation.

2. Suggestions for improving physical and social access

i. Strengthening convergence of SSA with other centrally sponsored schemes that cater to the needs of the deprived sections. This convergence is required at different levels, especially at the district and sub-district levels.This is covered under section 7.3.1 of the SSA Framework and may be implemented at the micro level for greater efficiencies to emerge.

ii. To achieve the desired level of awareness on rights and entitlements of the disadvantaged / vulnerable communities, a community mobilization plan and a media planmay be prepared by the state implementing agency, as part of the preparation of AWP&B (Annual Work Plan and Budget). This may be undertaken in consultation with district officers especially of backward regions / special focus districts, clearly listing out (i) various methodologies to be adopted, (ii) target population of each methodology etc. This may be followed by preparation/ improvement and updating of the mobilisation / communication material during implementation. The community mobilization and media plans need to be tailored to suit the needs of the Scheduled Tribes, Schedule Castes, Muslims and urban deprived, for responsiveness towards education.

iii. Focus needs to be on identifying the vulnerable children so that they can be covered at the earliest for special training. The child tracking systems developed by many states need to be made more responsive to capturing each vulnerable child at school / cluster level using the Aadhar system/other modalities identified by the states/MHRD and the child’s progress and status may be documented and followed up. This or other methodologies could be utilized as a mechanism to track children of migrant population.Further to this, as envisaged in section no. 3.8.2.24 of SSA Framework, task forces/ mechanisms may be set up in each state to effect regular coordination between states / districts, to meet the above objective of child tracking. The involvement of NGOs in the process of mapping of migration, planning and implementation of interventions, (as envisaged in sec. 3.8.2.23 of SSA framework) may be considered depending on local demand and supply of the same.

iv. The Scheduled Tribes continue to be a disadvantaged group and focus is needed to improve their enrolment and retention further. Role of the School Management Committee, local authority as notified and local tribal community must be ensured for involving them in ensuring universal enrolment and retention. Innovative practices may be adopted by the States to motivate tribal children and their families towards education and to ensure improved learning outcomes. The School Leadership Programme maybe contextualized to the issues in tribal areas so that the teachers can address the local and specific impediments to education.

3. Suggestions for improving equity

i. The SMCs need to focus on and address specific issues and concerns relating to students, parents of disadvantaged groups, mothers etc. These issues may be dealt with by the SMC as a whole or sub-groups constituted within that and they should be encouraged to document and record minutes for further consideration and decision making by SMC.

ii. Efficacy of teacher training programs may be assessed as the study reveals a need for sensitizing teachers to handle children from disadvantaged sections with greater sensitivity and care and to help them to cross the existing cultural divide and integrate with other children.

iii. Preparation of bridge materials between home language and school language may be undertaken at the state/ district levels to enable teachers to transact in the tribal language and help tribal children adopt the school language in areas with considerable tribal populations.

iv. Evaluation mechanisms may be evolved and made responsive to build accountability in the teachers and ultimately in the other stake-holders for learning outcomes of SC/ST and minority students. The CCE maybe stressed as tool to assess and improve the learning levels on a continuous basis.

v. The different grievance redressal mechanisms being put in place in different States must be made operational and effective. The different models like toll free numbers, student counseling units at school level etc will all have strengths which could be shared across States so that the best practices are disseminated.

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Third Elementary Education Project: SSA-III PDF Print E-mail

Project Background and Description

I. Background

The role of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) for strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunities to all has been accepted since the inception of India as a Republic. The original Article 45 in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution mandated the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to age fourteen in a period of ten years. With the formulation of National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986/92, India initiated a wide range of programs for achieving the goal of UEE. These efforts were intensified in the 1980s and 1990s through several schematic and program interventions, such as Operation Black Board (OBB), Shiksha Karmi Project (SKP), Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP), Bihar Education Project (BEP), U.P Basic Education Project (UPBEP), Mahila Samakhya (MS), Lok Jumbish Project (LJP), and Teacher Education which put in place a decentralized system of teacher support through District Institutes of Education and Training, District Primary Education Programme (DPEP). Currently the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in partnership with State Governments for universalizing elementary education across the country.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is India’s main program for universalizing elementary education. Its overall goals include universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in education and enhancement of learning levels of children. SSA provides for a variety of interventions, including inter alia, opening of new schools and alternate schooling facilities, construction of schools and additional classrooms, toilets and drinking water, provisioning for teachers, periodic teacher training and academic resource support, text books and support for learning achievement.

India passed its Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which became effective from April 2010, and gave effect to Article 21-A (Eighty-sixth Amendment of the Indian Constitution, 2002) making the provision of free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6-14 years one of the Fundamental Rights. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. The need to address inadequacies in retention, residual access, particularly of un-reached children, and the questions of quality are the most compelling reasons for the insertion of Article 21-A in the Constitution of India and the passage of the RTE Act, 2009.

SSA has been designated as the implementation vehicle for RTE. The various provisions, including those pertaining to physical infrastructure and related facilities are to be aligned with the legally mandated norms and standards and free entitlements mandated by the RTE Act.

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Progress Overview of Research: SSA PDF Print E-mail

Researchers at National level under SSA – RTE

Research studies concerned with SSA are conducted at national level mainly by NCERT, NUEPA and Technical Support Group (TSG) of Ed.CIL. NCERT has been responsible for conducting achievement surveys at national level and also developing a system for regular Quality Monitoring through submission of quarterly reports.

The Research, Evaluation & Studies Unit (RESU) of TSG plays major role in getting large scale studies / surveys conducted when the need for any study or survey is felt by the Ministry of HRD or is suggested by the Joint Review Mission. There is a Research Advisory Committee which discusses research issues and suggests studies to be undertaken. Sometimes studies are conducted on issues arising from analysis of DISE data or need felt by TSG consultants in the course of their work. All the studies that are proposed have to be finally approved by the Committee for Approval of Research Projects (CARP) which is chaired by Secretary (EE&L), Ministry of HRD.

Generally, after the topic of research is decided, an outline of research proposal is developed by RESU and then proposals are invited from NGOs, universities and other organizations either by advertisement or by selecting agencies on the basis of their reputation and contribution in research. Sometimes Monitoring Institutions identified for SSA are selected for conducting research studies.

For the studies involving several states, effort is made to develop a common methodology and to prepare the tools of data collection centrally at TSG with the help of external resource persons. Also detailed sampling plan is developed and even samples of schools or villages are drawn centrally for all the participating states, to facilitate data collection and to ensure uniformity in sampling across states. This is particularly important since usually different agencies are selected for conducting the study in different states.

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