The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has failed to provide quality education to a wide section of children. The SSA could not really address the question of quality of elementary education because the programme has not yet addressed systemic reforms. The objective should be towards equalising opportunities and life chances for all children.
In the absence of good quality primary schools, children from better-off sections prefer private schools, the number of which is fast increasing across the country. The need is to transform the SSA into a “National Mission for Quality Elementary Education.” Though the SSA brought an additional 25 million children into the educational system during the 10th Plan period, the drop-out rate at the elementary level remained as high as 50.8 per cent, a decline of only 3.81 percentage points as compared to 2001-02. The SSA needs to ensure minimum norms and standards for a school that must be accessible to all children.