Even after the RTE boosted rural school attendance, Ekal remained crucial due to issues in government schools like teacher absenteeism and teaching quality. In 2013, Ekal was the sole education source in 20% of its operating villages.
The movement traces back to a pivotal analysis by Dr. Popli, Dr. Arora, Dr. Sharma, and Mr. Bhagat in 1983, identifying key issues—Education, Health Care, Poverty, and Skill Development—laying the groundwork for Single Teacher Schools. The concept of One Teacher Schools was born in Gumla in 1986, refined by social activist Bhau Rao Devras and put into practice by industrialist Madan Lal Agarwala. Shyam Gupt played a pivotal role, evolving Ekal into a global movement, steering its visionary initiatives.