Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) - Definition, Objectives, Significance [UPSC GS-II]

What is Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)? It is a flagship programme of the government of India, that was started in 2001, to achieve the Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE). The legal backing to SSA was provided when free and compulsory education for the children in the age group of 6-14 was made a fundamental right in the Indian Constitution under Article 21 A. SSA aims to meet the expectations of this fundamental right in a time-bound manner.

Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India (GoI) anchors the SSA Programme and it has been operational since 2000-2001. This article will provide you with relevant information about Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for the IAS Exam GS-II notes.

Get information about important government schemes in the linked article.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

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Get updated about the other government schemes and policies for the upliftment of education in the country with reference to the upcoming UPSC Exam:

Important Facts about Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for UPSC

SSA Full Form Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Year of Launch 2001
Government Ministry Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD)
Official Website

A few important facts about SSA are mentioned in the list below:

  1. SSA is termed as an ‘Education for All’ movement
  2. The pioneer of the SSA programme was Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Indian Former Prime Minister.
  3. The Central Government in partnership with State Governments is implementing this initiative.
  4. The initial aim of SSA was to meet its objectives by 2010, however, the timeline has been extended.
  5. SSA aims to provide educational infrastructure to around 193 million children in 1.1 million habitations.
  6. 86th Amendment Act to the Indian Constitution provided legal backing to SSA when it made education free and compulsory for children in the age group of 6-14.
  7. New Education Policy 2020 aims to bring about two crores out of school children into the mainstream.
  8. In the National Education Policy of 2019, it was mentioned that an estimated 6.2 crore children of school age (between 6 and 18 years) were out of school in 2015.
  9. Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat is a sub-programme of SSA.
  10. There is a government portal under the name ‘Shagun’ that has been launched to monitor the SSA programme. The World Bank in association with the Ministry of HRD developed it.

Aspirants reading about ‘SSA’ can also refer to the similar topics linked in the table below:

Samagra Shiksha Scheme (SSS) Right to Education Act (RTE)
Fundamental Rights of Indian Citizens Important Articles of the Indian Constitution
Important Amendments in the Indian Constitution Fundamental Duties

Objectives of SSA

Aims of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

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After the passage of the Right To Education Act, 2010, SSA takes a holistic approach in meeting its objectives. The objectives seek to bring a positive impact on curriculum, teacher education, educational planning, and management. The broad objectives of SSA are mentioned below:

  1. To open new schools in those habitations where there are no schooling facilities
  2. To strengthen the existing school infrastructure
  3. To provide alternate schooling facilities
  4. To construct new schools
  5. To add additional classrooms, toilets, drinking water facilities in the schools
  6. To maintain school improvement grants
  7. To provide free textbooks, uniforms to the children
  8. To increase the strength of teachers in the schools where there is a shortage of teachers. Additional teachers are provided to such schools
  9. To enhance and strengthen the skills and capacity of the existing teachers in the schools through:
    • Extensive Training
    • Materials of teachers-learning are developed by maintaining the grants
    • Academic support structure at a cluster, block, and district level are being strengthened
  10. To provide life skills to the students along with quality education
  11. To promote girls’ education (to bring a change in the status of women, being the wider aim) and also the education of the differently-abled or children with special needs. Also, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development mentions that SSA seeks to bring equal opportunity in education to children of people belonging to:
    • SC
    • ST
    • Muslim Minority
    • Landless Agricultural Labourers, etc
  12. To understand the educational needs of traditionally excluded categories
  13. SSA also seeks to bridge the digital divide by offering computer education to children
  14. Main areas of focus under Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) are:
    • universal access
    • universal enrolment
    • universal retention
    • quality elementary education to all children

Before 2010, the time-bound aims of SSA were:

  1. All children to complete five years of elementary schooling by 2007
  2. All children complete eight years of schooling by 2010
  3. Bridge the gender and social category gaps at primary schooling stage by 2007 and elementary education level by 2010

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Convergence of Different Ministries & Schemes

Convergence of programmes and interventions of other Ministries/Departments is a core principle in implementing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for achieving its objective. The schemes/programmes of other ministries/departments which are identified to converge with the SSA are as follows:

  1. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW)
    • Provide services to the Model Cluster School
    • Conduct regular general health check-ups through Government hospitals or referral hospitals or PHC
  2. Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) –
    • Extend Mid-day Meal Scheme to all eligible schools
    • Facilitate age-appropriate admissions
    • National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)
  3. Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD) –
  4. State PWDs – 
    • Provide geo-spatial technologies for school mapping and social mapping exercise at grass root level
  5. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoSJ& E and MOTA) –
    • Convergence of funds to build residential facilities

SSA and District Primary Education Programme (DPEP)

The District Primary Education Programme was launched in 1994 as a centrally-sponsored scheme to revitalize the primary education system. It was the first programme that aimed to universalize elementary education. DPEP had an area-specific approach with a district as a unit of planning.

Some important points about DPEP are:

  1. 85 percent of the project cost was aided by the Central Government and 15 percent by the concerned State Government.
  2. This program covered 18 states
  3. International Organisations like the World Bank, UNICEF, etc, assisted the Central Government externally.

SSA – Universalization of Elementary Education

The cause of UEE has been backed up in the Constitution of India through the following:

Constitutional Mandate of 1950 It mentioned that the State should provide free and compulsory education to all children until they attain 14 years of age.

Note: The mandate mentioned that the State should endeavour to do this within ten years of the commencement of the Indian Constitution

National Education Policy, 1986 The policy mentioned the universal retention of the children in schools until they attain 14 years of age.

It also mentioned a resolve that children up to the age of 14 should be given free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality before India reaches the 21st Century.

SSA Initiatives

The table below mentions the initiatives are taken up under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan :

Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat Aim – To improve the reading and writing skills of Class I and Class II children, and their mathematics skills.

It has a twin-track approach:

  • Early Reading and Writing with Comprehension – To improve language development with the help of reading and writing through comprehensions
  • Early Mathematics – To create interests in Maths in relation to the physical and social world
Shagun Portal To monitor the progress of SSA, it was launched in 2017.
Shaala – Siddhi School Standard Evaluation Programme (Shaala – Siddhi) is an initiative which aids to achieve the goals of SSA. 
Swachh Vidyalaya National Campaign – Clean India: Clean Schools

Aim – To ensure that every school in India has a set of functioning and well-maintained water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

UPSC Preparation:

India Year Book – 5 Things to Know UPSC Calendar 2024
Documents Required for UPSC Exam Language Papers in UPSC – Tips to Study
UPSC Admit Card IAS Eligibility Criteria
IAS Salary  UPSC Prelims
UPSC Books UPSC Exam Pattern

Frequently Asked Questions on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)


Q 1. When was the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan launched?

Ans. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in the year 2001 under the regulation of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India.

Q 2. What is the main objective of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan?

Ans. The core objective of the SSA Programme is to attain the Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in the country. The overall goal of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is to include universal access and retention, bridging gender and social gaps in education and enhancing levels of learning for children.

Q 3. What is the Universalization of Elementary Education?

Ans. UEE or Universalization of Elementary Education intends to ensure that quality education is provided to every individual in the country, without any discrimination. UEE denotes universalization of provision, enrolment, retention, participation, and achievement.


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