The Goa Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) was able to cover 3,637 students under its ‘Out-of-School Children’s programme’ over the last three years. Of these, the government agency was able to absorb only 874 students into mainstream schooling from the academic year 2008-09 till date.
Under the programme, NGOs identify children who do not go to school and then carry out a 10-month-long programme to prepare them for a class appropriate for their age. Based on the certificate then issued by the SSA through the NGO to the children, the kids are formally admitted to a school and a class they have been certified suitable for.
In 2008-09, the SSA was able to cover 1,319 out-of-school children-from its target of 1695- through 21 centers across Goa run by 10 non-government organizations. This led to the mainstreaming of 83 students in the year, according to statistics tabled at the recently-concluded state legislative assembly session.
Six more NGOs were roped in during the following academic year (2009-10), in which the Goa SSA was able to cover 1,188 students-from its target of 1828-through 47 centers. The exercise helped in bringing 284 students to regular schools.
Education minister Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate has admitted in his reply to another question tabled at the assembly session that the Goa SSA has been unable to do as much progress as it wishes, with regards to the ‘Out-of School Children’s programme’, as there has been poor response from NGOs to implement the schemes under the programme since its launch in Goa.
In the year 2006-07, when the scheme was first introduced in Goa, only Rs23.12 lakh of the Rs40.80 lakh allotted to the SSA for the programme was utilized. The situation worsened the follo-wing year when only Rs11.54 lakh of the Rs49.79 sanctioned for the programme was utilized.
Even as the budget for the programme was hiked to Rs56.84 lakh in 2008-09, only Rs33.33 lakh were put to use to mainstream out-of-school children. The situation only did worse the next year by utilizing just Rs22.91 lakh of the allocated Rs65.44 lakh.
In the year 2010-11, the SSA has been able to help absorb 507 out-of-school children in formal schools after 48 centers run by 17 NGOs worked towards covering 1,942 out-of-school children under the SSA programme.
The budget provision for the scheme was dropped to Rs33.98 lakh for the current academic year, but the utilization of funds only dropped further, to Rs12.09 this year.