Education provides the surest instrument for attaining sustainable development of a high order in a country. In this regard, primary education acts as the basic enabling factor for participation, freedom and overcoming of basic deprivation; whereas secondary education facilitates economic development and establishment of social justice. Over the years, liberalisation and globalisation have led to rapid changes in scientific and technological world and have prompted the general needs of improved quality of life and reduced poverty. This undoubtedly necessitates the school leavers to acquire higher levels of knowledge and skills than what they are essentially imparted with throughout the eight years of elementary education. Also, a crucial stage in the educational hierarchy, secondary education empowers children to aggrandise nations by preparing them for higher education and also the world of work.
Following the recommendations of New Education Policy of 1986 and Programme of Action, 1992 the Government of India initiated different schemes to support children of secondary and higher secondary schools at different points in time. The IEDSS (formerly IEDC), Girls’ Hostel, Vocational Education and ICT@schools schemes were started with the overall objective of providing accessible, and relevant secondary education of good quality in India. Started in 2009 in partnership with State Government and Local Self Government, RMSA was the most recent addition to these four existing schemes.
The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan is a flagship scheme of Government of India, launched in March, 2009, to enhance access to secondary education and improve its quality. The implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10 to generate human capital and provide sufficient conditions for accelerating growth and development and equity as also quality of life for everyone in India. Largely built upon the successes of SSA and, like SSA, RMSA leverages support from a wide range of stakeholders including multilateral organisations, NGOs, advisors and consultants, research agencies and institutions. The scheme involves multidimensional research, technical consulting, implementation and funding support. Currently in its fourth year of implementation, RMSA covers 50,000 government and local body secondary schools. Besides this, an additional of 30,000 aided secondary schools can also access the benefits of RMSA; but not infrastructure and support in core areas.