"What is the age of death? Not even a couple of moments/ Life is a progression; it's not a matter of a day or two". This is how former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee explained and saw life through the prism of positivity and hope. Vajpayee, who was an ace politician with an impeccable oratory skill, had always vouched for empowering youths in the country. He never minced his words and always advocated for the qualitative and universal education. His pioneered 'Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan' initiative is one such example.
Launched in the year 2001, the revolutionary 'Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan' was aimed at providing elementary education to all in a time-bound manner. The initiative was mandated by the 86th Amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory education to children between the ages of 6 to 14 a fundamental right.
The Atal government involved all the institutes in the country starting from Panchyati Raj Institutions, school management committees, village and urban slum level Education Committees, parent’s Teachers’ Associations, Mother-Teacher Associations, Tribal Autonomous Councils to other grassroots level structures in the management of elementary schools to participate in the program.
The main objective behind launching this initiative was to focus on elementary education of satisfactory quality with emphasis on education for life. It also aimed at bridging all gender and social category gaps at primary stage by 2007 and at elementary education level by 2010. At present, there is 19.67 crore children enrolled in 14.5 lakh elementary schools in the country with 66.27 lakh teachers at the elementary level, as per SSA official website (data year).
Under the aegis of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the Narendra Modi government in 2014 launched Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat mission. The main motive was to improve the reading and writing skills of children in classes I and II, along with their mathematics skills. The programme provided several facilities such as an ideal environment full of books and reading material for children and timely distribution of the same.