The Department of School Education and Literacy has identified 389 Special Focus Districts (SFD) under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for the year 2011-12 on the basis of (a) Programme category gaps, viz. (i) districts with a classroom gap exceeding 3000 classrooms, (ii) districts with more than 20,000 out-of-school children, (iii) gender gap in enrollment exceeding 10 percent at primary and 20 percent at upper primary level, and (iv) retention rate lower than 60 percent and (b) Social category gaps, viz., districts with more than 25 percent Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe population, 20 percent Muslim minority population, as well as districts affected by Left Wing Extremism and Border Area Districts. Several districts have been classified as SFDs under one or more of the above categories.
Districts have been categorized as per the above criteria to enable them to make focused interventions for overcoming specific gaps in their overall endeavor to achieve universal elementary education. The categorisation of districts as SFDs helps the states to plan and implement interventions in a need based manner, with the flexibility of changing these districts from year to year as the parameters change.