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Eco Survey: Revamp mid-day meal, take steps to improve edu system

midday meal

Stressing on the need to revamping mid-day meal scheme to attract children to schools, the Economic Survey 2013-14

midday mealNew Delhi: Stressing on the need to revamping mid-day meal scheme to attract children to schools, the Economic Survey 2013-14 said that proper measures are required to address issues related to elementary and secondary education system in the country.

There are concerns about the safety of children owing to poor quality of food, said the survey tabled by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament today.

“Social audit has been introduced to monitor the scheme, including testing of food sample by NABL/CSIR/FSSAI accredited labs,” said the survey adding that using teaching staff only for supervision of MDM is affecting teaching.

In 2013-14, Rs 10,927 crore was spend on MDM benefiting about 10.80 crore children.

India spends 3.3 per cent of its GDP on education and has one of the largest number of higher education institutions with 723 universities, 37,204 colleges and 11,356 diploma level institutions as in 2012-13.

“The percentage of GDP expenditure on education has gone up from 2.9 per cent in 2008-09 to 3.3 per cent in 2013-14. There is a need not only to increase it further but also address the quality issue,” the survey said.

To reform the higher education system, the government has started Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan to focus on access, equity, quality and innovation.

“During the Twelfth Plan, RUSA will create 80 new universities by converting autonomous colleges in a cluster to state universities, besides creating other related infrastructure,” the survey said.

Gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education has nearly doubled from around 10 per cent in 2004-05 to 20.4 per cent in 2011-12 with the enrollment of 28.5 million students, the survey said.

However, the elementary and secondary education system is struggling with problems as there is a decline in teacher classroom ratio in schools. It is also witnessing decline in basic reading and arithmetic levels and children’s attendance.

“There has been a decline in the proportion of schools with at least one classroom per teacher, from 76.2 per cent in 2010 to 73.8 per cent in 2013,” the survey said.

More than half of standard two and standard four classes sit together in rural government primary schools, it added.

“Children’s attendance (for standards I-V) shows a decline from 72.9 per cent in 2010 to 70.7 per cent in 2013 in rural primary schools with exceptions being Bihar, Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu,” the survey said.

In addition, there is a decline in the arithmetic level.

“The percentage of standard III children to solve simple two digit subtraction problem fell from 39.1 per cent in 2009 to 26.1 per cent in 2013,” it said.

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