The European Union (EU) delegation to India on 13 June 2017 announced its decision to release the final tranche of Euro 25 million of its euro 80 million grant to the Indian government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
An official statement from EU said, “This brings to a conclusion the EU's sector support to school education in India, to which it has contributed over euro 520 million (currently valued at Rs 3,700 crore) in grant funding.”
The EU grants have contributed in 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.
At an event held in Delhi to mark the occasion, Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India, 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" Kozlowski remarked.
The EU has also provided euro 32 million to the 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.
At the meeting, World Bank Country Director Dr Junaid Ahmad informed that at present 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 per cent are in 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.
When: 13 June 2017