Towards ensuring quality education

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The government has initiated a number of steps to improve the standard of education in K-12 segment and link them with vocational courses. GHANSHYAM GOEL analyses the current scenario and probable outcome of these initiatives.

The Department of School Education & Literacy is taking several steps to make school education job-oriented and qualitative. The Department is implementing a component of Vocationalisation of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education under Centrally sponsored scheme of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) with an aim to prepare educated, employable and competitive youth for various sectors of the economy and global market.

It also envisages filling the gap between educated and employable, reducing the dropout rate at the secondary level and decreasing the pressure on academic higher education. The scheme involves introduction of job-oriented vocational subjects in sectors like Retail, Automobile, Agriculture, Telecommunication, Healthcare, Beauty & Wellness, IT-ITes, Electronics, Security, Media & Entertainment, etc. along with the general education subjects from class IX to class XII.

For granting academic equivalence to students of Industrial training Institutes (ITIs) affiliated with National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT), Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by National Institute of Open Schooling with the Directorate General of Training, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship last year.. The MoU provides a mechanism for grant of Secondary and Senior Secondary certificate to ITI students/pass outs who have pursued two years of ITI course, after class 8th and 10th respectively.

Under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the State Governments and UT Administrations are supported on several interventions to improve teaching standards, including regular in-service teachers’ training, induction training for newly recruited teachers, training of untrained teachers to acquire professional qualifications, additional teachers for improving pupil-teacher ratio, academic support for teachers through block and cluster resource centres,  continuous and comprehensive evaluation to equip the teacher to measure pupil performance and provide remedial action wherever required, and teacher and school grants for development of appropriate teaching-learning materials, etc.

Further the Government has launched Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA) programme, as a sub-component of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and RMSA to motivate and engage children of the age group of 6-18 years in Science, Mathematics and Technology through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities.

For improving the quality of school education, the School Standards & Evaluation framework, known as ‘Shaala Siddhi’ has been developed by National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), to enable schools to evaluate their performance in a more focused and strategic manner and to facilitate them to make professional judgments for improvement.

In order to improve quality of education, the National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT) conducts periodic national surveys of learning achievement of children in grade III, V, VIII and X. From the current year onwards, the Government has decided to conduct annual National Achievement Surveys covering all students from class 1-8 in all Government and Government aided schools.

*Author is Director General (M&C), posted at PIB, New Delhi.

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