Surendra Singh, IAS
BACKGROUND: Elementary education plays a very significant role in the development of a child as well as that of a society and the nation. UTTAR PRADESH, having largest share of young people, has been observing a continuous fall in quality and standard of education at elementary level despite increased access, infrastructure and number of schools. Free and compulsory education up to class 8th to all, incentives like free text books, Mid-Day-Meal, scholarship, uniform and bags to girl students has not resulted in improvement in learning. According to recent report, 56% of class V govt. School students cannot read a class II text or perform a simple division.
Poor learning level at elementary level has adversely affected performance of students at higher level. Uttar Pradesh having 16.5% population of the nation contribute only 12% of JEE crackers while Andhra Pradesh (population is 6.9%) and Rajasthan (5.6% of population) contribute 17.7% and 17.4% respectively. Poor performance continues in all the competitive examination and premier institution. This performance comes from the urban area not rural where more than three fourth students get their education.
FACTORS BEHIND POOR LEARNING LEVEL:
OBJECTIVE: This initiative was taken to eradicate inherent weakness in the system and streamline basic education with assured quality and equity. Following are main objectives-
STRATEGIES ADOPTED: Aadhar was introduced with comprehensive interventions at various level targeting difficulties and weakness inherited in system since long. Sustainable learning, creative mood, competitive attitude, quality education, effortless studies with local innovations were tools adopted to enhance academic learning. Following strategies were adopted for bringing about desired change and coveted goals:-
1. OPENING OF SCHOOLS & FAIR DISTRIBUTION/POSTING OF TEACHERS: As many as 22 primary and junior high schools in district were closed due to zero availability of teachers while 40 schools had only one shiksha mitra. This skewed distribution was not due to lack of teachers but due to unfair posting of teachers involving malpractices and corruption. Schools in the vicinity of Muzaffarnagar and Meerut were flooded with teachers.
Teachers were posted as per rules and strength sanctioned in the school.
2.ADARSH SHIKSHAK & MEDHAVI CHHATRA KHOJ PRATIYOGITA: It has been observed that there has been constant decay in competition to teach among the teachers and to learn among the students. To promote and develop competitive attitude in school atmosphere a competition namely Adarsh Shikshak & Medhavi Chhatra Pratiyogita was organized in the District. Every class & school (PS& JHS) was represented in this competitive exam. Four students were nominated by teachers from OBC, SC & girl and three students were randomly selected. Schools were given intimation in July itself when session started after summer vacations.
Adarsh Shikshak was to be selected on the basis of student’s performance, so a race began to teach more effectively among teachers as well among students. There was a change in attitude, devotion, energy level, sincerity, methodology and a sense of belongingness during preparation.
This competition attracted 31,287 students to participate at 80 Nyay Panchayat exam centre. It was conducted by departmental officers not belonging to education department and result was declared in night. Competition covered all subjects and general knowledge too. 2380 toppers of each class of every centre appeared in district level competitive exam. Result was declared in evening along with names of teachers.
These achievers students (Medhavi Chhatra), their respective teachers (Adarsh Shikshak) and guardians were honored with medal, certificate, prizes; books etc to motivate them and also showcased hidden talent in students of government run PS & JHS of rural area. This competition led to strong wave of motivation, inspiration & dedication among all- teachers, students & parents/guardian. The 62 toppers students were adopted by businessmen & elite class of the city.
3. MODEL SCHOOLS: Few schools with certain standards were chosen in every Nyay Panchayat to be developed as Model School. Schools were selected on voluntary basis where teachers were enthusiastic, creative and devoted. Positive competitions developed among teachers to prove that their school is best and more than 500 schools became model schools.
4. AADHAR BROCHURE: It contained all component of Aadhar, formats and standard practices to be implemented in detail. It was aimed to promote new technique of learning like maintaining parent’s interaction diary, Teachers’ diary, learning chart etc.
5. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION: The community including Pradhan, was asked to go to school, enquire about attendance, academic level, taste MDM, and teach if they can.
6. PERSONAL TOUCH: Students in government schools lack personal attention and touch. Teachers were expected to offer care and affection to children. Birthday of students was celebrated to give them importance and personal care. Plantation was done in schools by students with duty assigned to take care of plants by them.
7. TEACHERS’ FELICITATION: Teachers were honored for their good work. They were identified on the basis of their achievement in educational, cultural, sports field and school ambience. Special functions were organized to honour superannuating teachers.
8. BRC DAY: Teachers faced many personal problems for which they had to run to headquarter which adversely affected teaching hour and brought harassment to them. So, BRC day was organized to provide one stop solution for teacher’s grievances.
9. LEAST SUSPENSION: Suspension has not been a punishment anymore. This is surprising that suspension is being done on demand and even bribe is paid for suspension. So teacchers suspended in exceptional cases and concluded pending departmental enquiry and punished guilty. This move led to feeling of protection in performing teachers and a sense of fear among shirkers and irresponsible ones.
10. CHECK ON TEACHER’S UNION/ORGANISATION: Teacher’s organization in the district were indulged in all type of illegal activities including getting money in transfer, posting, attachment of teachers, harassing teachers and officers, staging protest and gherao for baseless issues. Such leaders were punished with president of union suspension.
11. RAIDING PARALLEL BSA OFFICE: A parallel BSA office, running in a commercial shop in connivance with BSA, was raided and recovered more than 250 important files including a diary containing details of transactions amounting to 1 crore received in lieu of registration of new schools, leave, CCL, transfer, posting, attachment. BSA was suspended and the babu was sent to jail. This action sent a strong message to department to fall in line of law.
12. EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT CHART: This document registered level of learning of students every month. This chart gave an idea to new teachers regarding every student’s educational learning status. The students were divided into red, yellow and green star categories and effort was made to bring poor students in higher one.
13. TEACHERS DIARY: A complete record of school, teacher, students, their attendance, learning level, modules, syllabus, parent-teacher interaction record etc were maintained in the form of Teachers Diary. This diary can give anyone a complete idea of the teaching and learning level of the class. It became a repository to make aware and guide the new teacher in case of transfer of current teacher. It got published and distributed to all teachers with the mandate to maintain and update it.
14. AADHAR CONTROL ROOM: Control room aimed to monitor implementation of Aadhar. It established direct contact between school and department, a watch on attendance, quality and MDM. It also aimed to achieve goal under different heads of the SSA. All interaction got recorded and best practiced got preserved in Library and shared with others. It also registered complaints and issues hindering education at any stage.
15. SCIENCE TALENT EXHIBITION: Block level science exhibition was organized to promote scientific temperament among students. Teachers & students jointly prepared science models and exhibited at block level programme. Working models made study interesting for students also led to sharing of scientific skills and enriched other students.
16. WEBSITE/FACEBOOK: Website provided platform to share the materials and also update the users about latest initiatives. Facebook was used to get regular feedback and suggestion from the teachers, guardian and community.
20. SCOUT AND GUIDES: Scouts and Guides were introduced to train interested teachers in scout and guides. One team was constituted at each Nyay Panchayat level. Scout and guide teacher further trained their colleague and students. They spread awareness about SSA, Aadhar and strengthened community participation.
OUTCOMES: “Aadhar” has introduced sea change in academic as well as non-academic atmosphere of schools. These outcomes has been listed below-