Ensuring Universal Basic
The India Experience
Dr. Venita Kaul,
Senior Education Specialist
The World Bank
Global HR Forum, November 4-6, 2008, Seoul, South Korea
• Global development and the role of
education-- international commitments
• The India story in 1990s and 2000’s
• Changing role of development aid and its
• Progress over the decade
• Remaining challenges
• Global development requires both economic
and human development
Ø A growth promoting macro economic environment -
Ø A critical mass of educated, skilled population to
meet the relevant labor needs
Ø Both are interdependent
Global development -role of
Global Evidence affirms significant returns of
investment in basic education in terms of
accumulation of human capital -----with
returns higher if :
• Started at the right age : net enrolment
• System Efficiency is high –primary completion rate
• System quality is good –high learning levels in terms
of cognitive and non cognitive skills.
Global potential to be ‘tapped’ - Demographic
changes and interdependence across countries
• Asia --more ‘youth power’ compared to the
west --- Europe having one third population
above 65 years!
• Developed countries will be more ‘Rainbow
countries’ with increasing immigration
• Globalisation and shrinking distances --
particularly with IT
• Therefore demand for skilled manpower is
global–eg BPOs, nurses, doctors, teachers etc
International commitments thus
reflect global needs
Education for All Goals( EFA) –Jomtien (1990) &-Dhakar
• Universal access & primary education completion of good quality-
literacy, numeracy and life skills
Millennium Dev. Goals (MDG) ( 2000 &2008) - 8 goals
adopted by 189 nations to be fulfilled by 2015
• Achieve universal primary education
• Promote gender equality and empower women
As outcome, External Assistance to primary education enhanced
The India Story
• India has 28 states and 7 union territories and 15
• India’s population over a billion-almost 20 percent of
• It’s economy is growing with 7-8 percent growth rate;
and yet 1/3 of world’s poor are in India
• Overall literacy rate is 61 percent but female literacy is
only 47.8 percent
• Huge diversity in educational outputs and outcomes ,
spatially and across social groups
• Yet, there is significant progress!!
India’ story : ‘80s - now
Schooling efficiency indicators - Overall
total primary completed total primary completed + Of those who ever enrolled,
(among those ever enrolled) currently primary attending attending above primary now
among ever enrolled
42nd rd: 1986/87 52nd rd: 1995/96 61st rd: 2004/05
Upper primary completion and transition rates
total primary completed total middle completed Of those who ever
(among ever enrolled) (among ever enrolled) enrolled, attending
Source: Sankar, D (2007)
42nd rd: 1986/87 52nd rd: 1995/96 61st rd: 2004/05
India in 1990’s --Role of Development Aid
Ø Post Jomtien-- External Aid –WB; DFID; EC;
Netherlands---- multiple projects; parallel financing
with 80 percent external funds.
Ø Some innovative projects:
• Lok Jumbish ---micro planning and school mapping
• Shiksha karmi -- para teachers
• District Primary Education program(DPEP) -7 projects
Ø Under DPEP each DP had own rules and disbursement
procedures but supervision was joint with GOI.
How did this Development Aid add value?
• Main value added was innovations and
Ø Primary education came center stage
Ø Girls education became priority
Ø Decentralised planning introduced
Ø Curricular innovations led to ‘child centered’ textbooks
Ø Participatory methods of training emerged
Ø Innovative approaches –alternative schooling contextualised
to reach specific ‘hard to reach’ groups
Ø On -site support provided through decentralised academic
INDIA in 2000s: Sarva Shiksha
• SSA (2001-2010) –GoI ‘s Flagship Program
• Constitutional Amendment (2002) to make 8 years of
elementary education a fundamental right for all children
between 6-14 years
Ø all children in school by 2003
Ø all children complete grade 5 by 2007
Ø all children complete grade 8 by 2010
Ø education to be of satisfactory quality
• SSA a centrally/federally sponsored program while
states have major responsibility for education.
• Covers entire country with 35 states and union
• Allocations to elementary education stepped up
• In 2002 there were 160 million children enrolled and
25 million out of school.
• Wide disparities across provinces , social groups—
gender, caste and religious minorities
• IDA: $500 Million (14.3%)
• EC: $200 Million (5.7%)
• DFID: $346 Million (10%)
• Central Govt: $1.58 Billion (45%)
• States: $875 Million (25%)
• Total: $3.5 Billion June 2004-Dec 2007
• 2008 onwards- second phase
INDIA in 2000’s—DP mode of support changed
• Moved from ring fenced to SWAp approach -Paris Declaration
on harmonisation of support
• Moved to Supporting GOI’s program (not Bank project) which
has full govt. ownership & comprehensive framework
• Moved to providing a slice of total outlay with major funding
from GOI and states –only 10 percent from DPs.
• Moved towards accepting GOI’s fiduciary procedures and
strengthening, instead of imposing DPs own procedures.
• Moved towards making DPs support more complementary and
focused and reducing administrative costs through complete
harmonisation of DPs disbursement and monitoring
DP’s support –where did it add value?
• Brought in greater ‘outcome’ focus and a common
results monitoring framework for center and states.
• Monitoring rigor enhanced in both fiduciary and
sectoral aspects—EMIS and PMIS.
• More active partnership with govt. through Joint
Review Missions which were govt. led.
• A MOU between partners for better coordination-a
• International knowledge and technical support
brought in .
What has been achieved since
2003/04 under SSA ?
• Credit disbursed 15 months in advance of closing
• Enrollments reached 94% or 187 million
• Number of out of school children dropped from 25 to
7.4 million; much beyond target.
• Drop out reduced by 7.6 percentage points
• Equity gaps narrowed with increased gender parity in
• Improvement in transition rates from primary to
• Learning levels..???
• Reducing drop out and increasing attendance rates
–factors related to quality largely, and beyond.
• Enhancing Learning levels- ensuring quality across
the system–addressing classroom pedagogy, learning
asessment; governance environments, teacher
capacity and motivation at scale
• Bringing in ‘Hardest to reach’ who are still out.
• Shifting stress from Rote memorization to ‘higher
order cognitive skills’ and ‘socio-emotional skills’
which requires shift in pedagogy.
• Meeting demand for English as a link language –
addressing inadequate facilities.
Some Lessons Learned for EFA
• To achieve universal primary completion access and quality need to be
addressed together & not sequentially—interdependence of both.
• Challenges of ‘inclusion’ require addressing contextual and social
diversities and needs –a multi sectoral approach –health, nutrition,
family income, etc.
• Ensuring effective service delivery at scale requires involving and
empowering the community /parents, service providers and local CBOs
in participatory planning, and overseeing the school management
• Peer learning most effective stimulus for reform through sharing of
experiences across states/districts under projects.
• DPs harmonisation with common focus and procedures most effective
modality for results, provided govt. is in the driving seat! Brings in
outcome focus and rigor in monitoring, both sectoral and fiduciary
Access with equity
Access is more than just NER-attendance and
completion are important. This requires:
• Basic learning conditions and some standardization of
• Convergence of interventions to meet the diverse, multi
dimensional needs of the hardest to reach and special focus
groups eg. Poverty, health, nutrition, clothes, security etc.
• Quality of service delivery --Perceived ‘value’ in community
• Easy access to next level of schooling.
Quality reform requires a comprehensive
• Complementary administrative and pedagogical reform
• Administrative reform
Ø Conducive governance environment which addresses
teacher motivation and accountability
Ø A supportive system of supervision and management
of teacher cadre
Ø Continuous professional development and on site
support mechanisms aligned to defined teachers
Ø Empowering of Parent teacher committees with some
financial devolution and facilitation and providing
them a key role in school management.
• A school readiness program ( ECCE) for first generation learners
particularly to compensate for home deprivation
• Ensuring not only basic learning conditions but a sensitive and
competent teacher to address diversities in the classroom and
• handle creative, constructivist and open-ended activity based
pedagogical approaches to engage children and develop higher
order mental skills
• Child friendly currriculum and graded learning materials to
stimulate and sustain children’s interest and provide for
individual paced learning
• A system of classroom and systemic assessment of learning levels
with some remediation integral to the learning cycle.
Current areas of WB’s support
• Second phase of support to SSA by DP consortium.
• Supporting downward and upward linkages:
Ø Early Childhood Care and Education for children below 6 years through a
quality improvement project under ‘Integrated Child Development
Ø Secondary education : In dialogue with GOI for supporting their new
centrally -sponsored initiative, given demand created after SSA
Ø Vocational Education: Supporting 500 Industrial Technical Institutes
towards making design and delivery of training more labour market
Ø Technical Education : Supporting reforms in technical education provided
by professional institutions on a competitive basis.