The role of Universal Elementary Education (UEE) for strengthening the social fabric of democracy through provision of equal opportunities to all has been accepted since the inception of our Republic.With the formulation of NPE, India initiated a wide range of programmes for achieving the goal of UEE through several schematic and programme interventions, such as Operation Black Board,Shiksha Karmi Project,Lok Jumbish Programme,Mahila Samakhya,District Primary Education Programme etc.
Currently, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is implemented as India's main programme for universalising elementary education. Its overall goals include universal access and retention, bridging of gender and social category gaps in education and enhancement of learning levels of children. SSA provides for a variety of interventions, including inter alia, opening of new schools and alternate schooling facilities,construction of schools and additional provisioning for teachers,periodic teacher training and academic resource support, textbooks and support for learning achievement.These provisions need to be aligned with the legally mandated norms and standards and free entitlements mandated by the RTE Act.
The new law provides a justiciable legal framework that entitles all children between the ages of 6-14 years free and compulsory admission,attendance and completion of elementary education.It provides for children's right to an education of equitable quality, based on principles of equity and non-discrimination.Most importantly,it provides for children's right to an education that is free from fear,stress and anxiety.