Rs 1 trillion SSDP set to replace SSRPAs the School Sector Reform Programme (SSRP) expires in December-end, the government has come up with another ambitious plan—School Sector Development Pro-gramme (SSDP)—to reform school education as per the spirit of the new constitution.
As the School Sector Reform Programme (SSRP) expires in December-end, the government has come up with another ambitious plan—School Sector Development Pro-gramme (SSDP)—to reform school education as per the spirit of the new constitution.
The plan, currently being discussed at the Education Ministry, aims at restructuring the school education and making basic education—from grade one to eight—free and compulsory with an investment outlay of Rs1 trillion over the next seven years.
The SSDP, which will be implemented by the ministry after consultation with the stakeholders, has set a target of bringing the dropout rate to zero, introducing technical education from grade 9 and making it mandatory for every Plus Two college to provide school level education.
“The central government will fund free and compulsory basic education,” reads the document. The new constitution envisions seven provinces and three-tier governance with a divided responsibility of education. The ministry has taken increased girls’ enrolment, growth in the number of female teachers, improvement in infrastructure and increase in access to education to be the major achievement of the SSRP.
According to officials, the government will seek donors’ support as it cannot arrange for the Rs1 trillion funds with its own resources. Currently, 17 bilateral and multilateral donors are supporting the education sector. The budget allocated to the ministry this fiscal year is Rs102 billion, which is around 13 percent of the country’s total budget.
The five-year SSRP was adopted in 2009 envisioning extending school education up to grade 12, restructuring the school education, increasing girl’s enrolment and dissolving the Higher Secondary Education Board. As a majority of the targets set by the programme remained unimplemented by its deadline in 2014, the ministry extended it till the end of 2015.
Though the ministry has termed SSRP as a success, it was largely a failure in the lack of legal provisions to realise its vision. An amendment to the Education Act was necessary to restructure school education in basic and secondary (grade nine to 12) levels from the existing primary (grade one to five), lower-secondary (six to eight), secondary (nine to 10) and higher secondary (grade 11 to 12) levels.
In the lack of political consensus, the amendment bill was not endorsed by Parliament though it was presented twice. The plan to provide compulsory education and to form the Central Examination Board by dissolving the HSEB did not materialise either due to the legal hurdle.