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Chapter - I
1.1.1. Secondary Education is a crucial stage in the educational hierarchy as it
prepares the students for higher education and also for the world of work. Classes
IX and X constitute the secondary stage, whereas classes XI and XII are designated
as the higher secondary stage. The normal age group of the children in secondary
classes is 14-16 whereas it is 16-18 for higher secondary classes. The rigor of the
secondary and higher secondary stage, enables Indian students to compete
successfully for education and for jobs globally. Therefore, it is absolutely essential
to strengthen this stage by providing greater access and also by improving quality in
a significant way.
1.1.2. The population of the age group 14-18 was 8.55 crore in 2001 as per census
data. The estimated population of this age group as on 1.3.2005 was 9.48 crore,
which is likely to increase to 9.69 crore as on 1.3.2007 i.e., at the beginning of the
11th Five Year Plan. This is likely to stabilize at around 9.70 crore in 2011. The
Gross Enrolment Ratio for classes IX-XII in 2005-06 was 40.49%. The figure for
classes IX and X was 52.26 % whereas that for classes XI and XII was 28.54%.
1.1.3. With the liberalization and globalization of the Indian economy, the rapid
changes witnessed in scientific and technological world and the general need to
improve the quality of life and to reduce poverty, it is essential that school leavers
acquire a higher level of knowledge and skills than what they are provided in the 8
years of elementary education, particularly when the average earning of a secondary
school certificate holder is significantly higher than that of a person who has studied
only up to class VIII. It is also necessary that besides general education up to
secondary level, opportunities for improvement of vocational knowledge and skill
should be provided at the higher secondary level to enable some students to be
1.1.4. Since universalisation of elementary education has become a Constitutional
mandate, it is absolutely essential to push this vision forward to move towards
Universalisation of secondary education, which has already been achieved in a large
number of developed countries and several developing countries. Paras 5.13 – 5.15
of the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 (as modified in 1992) deal with
Secondary Education. Para 5.13 of the NPE, inter- alia, stated that “Access to
Secondary Education will be widened with emphasis on enrolment of girls, SCs and
STs, particularly in science, commerce and vocational streams…….
Vocationalization through specialized institutions or through the re-fashioning of
secondary education will, at this stage, provide valuable manpower for economic
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1.1.5. Hon’ble Prime Minister in his Independence Day Speech, 2007 has inter-alia
stated that,
“We are setting out a goal of universalizing secondary education. This is clearly the
nest step after universalizing elementary education. While the goal is laudable much
work needs to be done before we are in a position to launch the Scheme for
Universalisation of Access for Secondary Education (SUCCESS). Its details need to
be quickly spelt out and discussed with States so that we are fully ready to launch it
from 2008-09. We must not underestimate the complexity of this task as the
principles for universalizing elementary education cannot be easily transferred to
secondary education. The physical, financial, pedagogical and human resource
needs are quite different. We also need to recognize the role currently being played
by the private sector and policy design must factor this in. Detailed strategies and
plans would need to be worked out rapidly for each state. Special attention would
need to be paid to Districts with SC/ST/OBC/Minority concentration. The
recommendations of the Sachar Committee need to be seriously considered while
planning for this programme”.
1.1.6. The Tenth Plan Mid-Term Appraisal (MTA) document of the Planning
Commission has also, inter alia, recommended as follows:
“In order to plan for a major expansion of secondary education in the event
of achievement of full or near full retention under SSA, setting up of a new Mission
for Secondary Education, on the lines of SSA, should be considered.”
1.1.7. Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) is the highest deliberative and
advisory forum on Education in the country with Education Ministers of all States
and eminent educationists as its Members. It was re-constituted and activated in
mid-2004 after a gap of several years. After deliberations in the first meeting of the
re-constituted CABE, held in August, 2005, seven Committees of CABE were
constituted in September, 2005, two of which were particularly relevant for
Secondary Education.
1.1.8. Besides the Committee on Universalisation of Secondary Education, CABE
had also, at the same time, set up another Committee on “Girls’ Education &
Common School System” under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister, Assam.
Report of this Committee was also presented in June, 2005. The Committee has
recommended, inter alia, that:
�� “….. making good quality education available to all students in all schools
at affordable fees is a primary commitment of the Common School
�� State should invest in public schools system with standards, norms,
building, etc., with the same standards as that of Kendriya Vidyalayas.
1.1.9. Reports of both the above CABE Committees were discussed and generally
endorsed in the meeting of CABE held on July 14-15, 2005.
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1.1.10. It is well recognized that eight years of education are insufficient to equip a
child for the world of work as also to be a competent adult and citizen. The pressure
on Secondary Education is already being felt due to the success of Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan. Therefore, while secondary education is not constitutionally compulsory,
it is necessary and desirable that access to secondary education is universalized
leading to enhanced participation, and its quality is improved for all. At the same
time, it may not be possible to fully universalize education at the secondary stage
during the Eleventh Five Year Plan as the drop out rates are as high as 28.49% from
classes I-V and 50.39% from classes I-VIII. However, with rising expectation from
improved access to secondary education, retention in classes I-VIII will further
1.2.1. The following statistics give an overview of the present status of Secondary
and Higher Secondary Education in the country (as on 30.9.2005),
1. No. of secondary Schools (IX-X) 1,06,084
2. No. of Hr. secondary schools (XI-XII) 53,619
3. No. of Students at secondary level (IX-X) 2.50 crore
4. No. of Students at Hr. secondary level (XI-XII) 1.34 crore
5. Population of 14-16 age group (as on 30.9.2004) 4.78 crore
6. Population of 16-18 age group (as on 30.9.2004) 4.91 crore
7. Pupil Teacher Ratio (IX-X) 33
8. Pupil Teacher Ratio (XI-XII) 34
Source: Abstract of Selected Educational Statistics (2005-06) (provisional),
population projections are based on census data compiled by Registrar General
of India.
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1.2.2. The Table given below shows the status of enrolment, dropout rates and pass
percentage in classes IX-XII (as on 30.9.2005),
Indicators Boys Girls Total
1. Enrolment (IX-X) 1.45 crore 1.05 crore 2.50 crore
2. Enrolment (XI-XII) 0.78 crore 0.56 crore 1.34 crore
3. Gross Enrolment Ratio
57.72 46.23 52.26
4. Gross Enrolment Ratio
31.54 25.19 28.54
5. Dropout rate (Class I –
60.04 63.56 61.59
6. Pass percentage
(Class X State Board
Exam. -2006)
66.30% 70.26% 67.86%
7. Pass percentage
(Class XII State Board
67.49% 77.25% 71.28%
Source: Abstract of Selected Educational Statistics (2005-06) (provisional)
1.3.1. The vision for secondary education is to make good quality education
available, accessible and affordable to all young persons in the age group of 14-18
years. With this vision in mind, the following is to be achieved:
�� To provide a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation,
which should be 5 kilometer for secondary schools and 7 -10 kilometers for
higher secondary schools.
�� Ensure universal access of secondary education by 2017 (GER of 100%), and
�� Universal retention by 2020,
�� Providing access to secondary education with special references to economically
weaker sections of the society, the educationally backward, the girls and the
disabled children residing in rural areas and other marginalized categories like
SC, ST, OBC and Educationally Backward Minorities (EBM).
1.4. Goal and Objectives
1.4.1. In order to meet the challenge of Universalisation of Secondary Education
(USE), there is a need for a paradigm shift in the conceptual design of secondary
education. The guiding principles in this regard are; Universal Access, Equality and
Social Justice, Relevance and Development and Curricular and Structural Aspects.
Universalisation of Secondary Education gives opportunity, to move towards equity.
The concept of ‘common school’ will be encouraged. If these values are to be
established in the system, all types of schools, including unaided private schools
will also contribute towards Universalisation of Secondary Education (USE) by
ensuring adequate enrolments for the children from under privileged society and the
children Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
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1.4.2. The above goal translates into the following main objectives;
i) To ensure that all secondary schools have physical facilities, staffs and
supplies at least according to the prescribed standards through financial
support in case of Government/ Local Body and Government aided
schools, and appropriate regulatory mechanism in the case of other
ii) To improve access to secondary schooling to all young persons
according to norms – through proximate location (say, Secondary
Schools within 5 kms, and Higher Secondary Schools within 7-10 kms) /
efficient and safe transport arrangements/residential facilities, depending
on local circumstances including open schooling. However in hilly and
difficult areas, these norms can be relaxed. Preferably residential schools
may be set up in such areas.
iii) To ensure that no child is deprived of secondary education of satisfactory
quality due to gender, socio-economic, disability and other barriers.
iv) To improve quality of secondary education resulting in enhanced
intellectual, social and cultural learning.
v) To ensure that all students pursuing secondary education receive
education of good quality
vi) Achievement of the above objectives would also, inter-alia, signify
substantial progress in the direction of the Common School System.