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Access & Retention - Access – Enrolment - Retention
Providing proper access to the schooling facilities, enrollment of children in schools and finally the retention of all children of age group 6-14 years in schools are key challenges for meeting SSA’s core objective that is the universalization of Elementary Education. In spite of huge strides in building new schooling facilities there are still significant amount of children out of school.

School Mapping on Google Map
In order to address the out of school children challenge, the state had commissioned a School Mapping exercise in 2010-11 to understand specifically the pockets where the real need for opening of schools exist across the state. The mapping of the schools on Google map was undertaken by adopting the bottom up approach where the block officials would mark schools (by taking into consideration of the idea of school locations provided by cluster officials). These files were later compiled at the District Level and a check with the available DISE data was done thus creating a District school marking file which is linked with the already available DISE data. The schools mapped were placed a layer above the village settlement layer which provides the center of each village of the state. 2001 Village Census data had been used due to unavailability of 2011 data during the exercise.

To calculate the requirement of Primary and Upper Primary schools, the following norms were applied
  • Rural area
    • Distance Norms
      • Every Primary school within 1km radius of the village
      • Every Upper Primary school within 3km radius of the village
  • Urban area
    • Population Norms
      • Treating Schools as centers the same distance norms were applied and a territory of the town was formed. This town map was checked if there are not empty spaces within the town jurisdictions
Based on this analysis a School Master Plan has been created which detail the exact requirement of different type of schools in the state.

Access Issues in Urban Areas
Due to high population density in some of the geographical wards in urban areas, access to government run schools has been a major concern. This has led to a mushroom growth of private schools across slums in major cities. Although the private schools ensure accessibility, affordability becomes a concern for the poor. Also the quality of education in these private schools is of mediocre standards. Urban areas have always attracted and will continue to attract migrants in search of better livelihoods. Children in such families will have transition phases. It is likely, however that if a child was in school and leaning well in the previous location, parents will ensure that the child is in school and learning well in the new location as well, but this depends on accessibility and affordability of schools. Easy access to schools is a major problem for children from families that work on construction sites or children of seasonal labourers. Unstable livelihoods and make shift living arrangements also make it harder for children to attend school regularly. Although there may be schools within 1 kilometer of a habitation in many urban locations getting to the school may be difficult. Major roads, highways, drains and railway lines often impede easy access.

Enrollment and Retention Issues:
Regular attendance and retention of children is a major issue. In most surveys/findings, aggregate numbers do not account for migration or movement of children across villages/towns/cities. While a school may show a high dropout rate (i.e. children not continuing in that school), it may actually be the case of children transferring to a better school in the neighborhood. Sometimes in order to avail benefits from government enrollment schemes, parents enroll their children in Standard 1 in multiple schools. The parents do so for various reasons, one of them being uncertainty of admission in private schools, thus to be on the safer side they enroll the pupils in municipal schools also. Other than this multiple enrolments are to avail of some benefits like free rice, stationery, uniforms and so on. It has also been observed that schools continue to maintain the registers with children who were just enrolled but never attended the school. They do so as the contingency is based on enrollment numbers. Additionally, 2 categories of children are not acknowledged in any retention analysis:
  • Children that have never enrolled in school.
  • Children that have migrated into the community and enrolled into that school, not at Standard I but at a higher standard.
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