He said that under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the enrollment of SC children increased substantially.
There was also a significant drop in the number of out-of-school SC children from 8.2% in 2005 to 5.9% in 2009. Similarly there is reduction in the percentage of out-of-school ST children from 9.5% in 2005 to 5.2% in 2009.
In higher education too, the HRM said that Central Educational Institutions Act provides 15% and 7.5% reservation to SC and ST students respectively.
To ensure benefits of various schemes of the Government of India reaches directly to SC/ST students, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has earmarked an amount of over 12 thousand crore rupees under SCSP (SC sub plan) and over six thousand crore rupees under TSP (Tribal sub plan), for 2013-14.
While talking about education of children with special needs, the Minister said that RTE-SSA sought to ensure that every child with special needs, irrespective of the kind, category and degree of disability, is provided meaningful and quality education.
Over 93% of the identified children with special needs have been covered through various strategies, he said. The scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) was launched in 2009-10 to provide assistance for the inclusive education of the disabled children in classes IX-XII. Household surveys and special surveys were conducted by all states to identify children with special needs.
Accordingly over 32 lakh children with special needs have been identified. Out of this, over 28 lakh children with special needs (86.27%of those identified) are enrolled in schools. One lakh twelve thousand children are covered through School Readiness Programme in 23 states/UTs and one lakh twenty nine thousand children with special needs are being provided home-based education in 28 states/UTs, the HRM stated.
Similarly in higher education for children with special needs, the Minister added that various schemes like upgradation of existing polytechnics to integrate Persons with Disabilities (PwD), Higher Education for Persons with Special Needs (HEPSN), Teacher preparation in Special Education (TEPSE), Financial assistance to visually-handicapped teachers are being implemented.
During 2009-2010, 1586 students have been enrolled in Central Universities. The UGC also provides a number of relaxations to PwD in the NET examination.
The Meeting was also attended by Minister of State for HRD Dr. Shashi Tharoor. Secretary HRD, Shri Bhattacharya, members of the National Monitoring Committee, academics and senior officers of the Central and State Governments were also present in the Meeting.