NITI Aayog SATH-E report

GS Paper II

News Excerpt:

Recently, NITI Aayog has published its outcome report on the Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E).

Issues highlighted by NITI Aayog through SATH-E report:

  • According to the SATH-E report, India continues to have five times the number of schools as China for the same enrollment, and more than half of primary schools in many states have fewer than 60 students.

  • The NITI Aayog has underlined the significant disparity between the number of teachers needed and those recruited.
    • More than a million teachers are needed in India, and certain states have anything from 30 to 50% teacher vacancies. 
    • Furthermore, available instructors are inequitably distributed, with more teachers available than needed in urban regions and disproportionately higher vacancies in rural areas.
  • According to NITI Aayog, the cost of such subscale schools is very high due to extensive multi-grade teaching, a lack of a student and parent community that can demand accountability, poor infrastructure, the same 1-2 teachers handling all administrative responsibilities in the absence of headmasters/principals, and so on.

Measures suggested by NITI Aayog:

  • To tackle this issue India should merge small, sub-scale, and low-enrolment schools with nearby ones and rationalise teacher recruitment to optimise its learning outcomes.

  • According to NITI Aayog, well-executed school mergers are one way forward. This has been successfully implemented across SATH-E states.
    • Jharkhand merged 4,380 schools in conjunction with the NITI Aayog, saving Rs 400 crore.
    • In Madhya Pradesh, over 35,000 schools have been identified for consolidation with surrounding educational institutions. Only 20% of these schools had a principal or headmaster. Because the number of schools had been decreased to 16,000 after the merger, 55% of them had a headmaster.
    • The state government of Odisha consolidated 2,000 schools into same-campus schools.
  • The NITI Aayog has suggested that states delegate authority to principals, as well as district and block officers, in order to improve governance. 
    • This includes giving them greater financial powers and autonomy to make decisions.
  • For a long time, school mergers have been considered as a policy intervention, but there has been worry about their influence on access to education, particularly in areas with inadequate or remote connectivity.
  • According to the central think tank, they may be avoided through well-executed mergers. 
    • Along with mergers, states should establish a network of large schools (10-20% scattered across the state) as integrated K-12 schools, and provide transportation to ensure that all children have equitable access to them.

Way Forward:

The education systems of states cannot practically transform and deliver much higher outcomes with such high teacher vacancies, That's why NITI aayog has called for rationalising teacher recruitment to ensure equitable access. The concentration of teachers continues to be much higher in urban areas but not the same in rural areas. Other measures highlighted by the think tank include tightening teacher accreditation standards for pre-service training institutes, and an overhaul in teacher-training curricula, should be implemented.


Prelims PYQ

Q. ‘SWAYAM’, an initiative of the Government of India, aims at

(a). Promoting the Self Help Groups in rural areas

(b). Providing financial and technical assistance to young start-up entrepreneurs

(c). Promoting the education and health of adolescent girls

(d). Providing affordable and quality education to the citizens for free


Mains Question

Q. Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India and explain the nature of convergence, collaboration and competition for its success.       (UPSC 2018)

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