New Delhi, June 13
The European Delegation to India today released final tranche of 25 million euros of its 80 million euro grant for universal primary education and secondary education programmes of the government. This brings to a conclusion the EU's sector support to school education in India, to which it has contributed over 520 mn euroes. (currently valued at Rs. 3700 cr.) in grant funding. EU grants have contributed to setting up new schools, improving existing ones, bridging gender and social gaps, providing toilets especially for girls, training teachers, and enrolling nearly all children in the primary school years. India has more than 1.5 million schools in the public and private sectors, with over 227 million children enrolled. Around 1.29 million or 84.7% are in the rural areas. The reduction of dropout rates and the improvement of education outcomes as measured by various surveys are the main challenge for school policy makers and public authorities, going forward. At an event held in Delhi to mark the occasion, Ambassador of the European Union to India Tomasz Kozlowski recalled that the EU was the Indian Government's first development partner in education through its participation in the 155 districts initially selected under District Primary Education Programme in 1994.
The Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK and the World Bank joined subsequently as partners. "As the number of children being enrolled in and completing primary school rose, we extended our support to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for elementary education up to Grade VIII in 2002, and the RMSA for secondary education in 2012" Ambassador Kozlowski remarked. The EU has also provided 32 mn euros. to the Government of Chhattisgarh from 2006-2015 for improving elementary education. These programmes anticipated and then supported the implementation of the Right to Education Act of 2009, which made elementary education compulsory. The sector support programme has been a model of development cooperation, with Joint Review Missions taking stock of progress every six months and adjusting elements of the programme accordingly. This has contributed to rapid progress in setting up schools, training teachers and enrolling students, the Ambassador said while thanking the Ministry of Human Resource Development and all the partners for their cooperation.