By Prabhat Kishore
Samagra Shiksha, an overreaching programme for the schooling sector extending from pre-school to class 12, was launched on 1st April 2018 in order to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to class 12. It subsumed the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE). The scheme has been extended upto the FY 2025-26 and fully aligned with the provisions of National Education Policy, 2020.
Several transformational recommendations of NEP have been made part of the Samagra Shiksha scheme, which includes holistic progress card, child tracking, bagless days, focus on SEDGs and out of school children etc. To ensure time bound implementation of NEP, a comprehensive and task oriented implementation plan called SARTHAQ has been released. Also to ensure universal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy, the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat) has been launched, so that every child achieves the desired learning competencies in Reading, Writing and Numeracy at the end of grade-3, by 2026-27.
Decentralized Planning exercise based on measurable outcomes is being carried out with the involvement of all stakeholders so that the scheme be fruitful in achieving the ultimate goal. In order to achieve the desirable objectives and outcomes of the schemes, a comprehensive action plan upto FY 2025-26 covering all the interventions of Samagra Shiksha is being prepared by all the states.
NIPUN Bharat portal is to be launched, which will have all the documents for the mission at one place. The focus will be on various interventions related to child-centric teaching learning materials, play based activities and supplementary graded materials, resource materials for teachers to align their innovative pedagogies with learning outcomes and grade level competency at foundational level. The Lakshya (Targets) of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is to be displayed on the walls of schools/classrooms for mass mobilization. Also the Codified Learning outcomes for Foundational stage will be intimated to the parents & teachers. In the next academic session, a 3-month play based preparation module for Grade-I (Vidya Pravesh) will be adopted by all the schools.
In order to ensure 100% GER at all levels as envisaged in the NEP, adequate facilities for infrastructure and quality education at secondary level will be targeted for universal access and quality education for the age group of 14-18 years. New secondary/Senior secondary schools will be opened in unserved localities on the basis on GIS mapping. All secondary schools will be equipped with integrated science lab and ICT/Smart classroom with internet facility. Vocational education is to be planned in 50% of the composite secondary/Sr secondary schools. The drop-out rate at Secondary level is quite high, primarily due to students’ inability to cope up with the curriculum and high stakes associated with these classes. To tackle this situation, 2-3 month School Readiness Module for children entering Grade-IX will be adopted.
To ensure universal access and afford opportunity for quality education to all children from pre-school to Grade-12, opening of new/upgraded school from pre-primary to class-12, addition of new subjects in existing secondary schools, provision of adequate number of classrooms & labs, rain-water harvesting, solar panel/electrification, barrier free access, toilets, drinking water, hand washing facilities, incinerators & sanitary pad vending machines in all girl’s hostels, Classroom-com-workshop for vocational education, extension of transport/escort facility upto secondary level, special training for out of school children of age-group 16 to 19 years belonging to SEDGs through open school system at secondary/Sr secondary stage will be made.
Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the education sector drastically due to year long closure of the schools and large scale migration. Although various initiatives have been taken during the school closure to support the children; but they require a bridge course to bridge the learning gap. Based on the findings of NAS, appropriate interventions are to be ensured in the schools. Further usage of DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge SHAring), which enables education at home through innovative state programmes, will be ensured. A 100-days reading campaign for children from Bal Vatika to class-VIII has already been initiated in January 2022.
As per NEP emphasis, age appropriate enjoyable and inspirational books are to be ensured in the school library. The success stories and best practices, especially those adopted during pandemic, are to be uploaded on national repository for nationwide sharing among teachers/students. NISHTHA training will be extended for teachers upto secondary level and also to Anganwadi workers as well as educational administrators.
As NEP mandates 50 Hrs of CPD every year to teachers, training need analysis for teachers will be conducted by SCERTs to customized training programmes. The excess teachers presently available will be re-deployed in needy schools before filling up the vacant posts. In most states, the PTR is better than the prescribed national norms; but there is a shortage of subject teachers, which will be taken into account at the time of recruitment. Suitable mechanism for online and transparent system of recruitment as well as transfer will be developed.
BRCs and CRCs will be developed as vibrant academic resource centres for training and onsite support to teachers and schools. All KGBVs will be upgraded upto class 12 in next 3 years. Safety and security guidelines will be strictly enforced and its social audit will be done. Also KGBVs will be equipped with ICT & SMART classes and will be enriched with library books through Library Grant. Activities will be planned to improve access, enrolment, retention and learning outcomes of all disadvantaged groups and vulnerable children including girls, transgender, SC, ST, minorities, migratory and urban deprived children. States will adopt & notify guidelines for fixing accountability of school management with regard to the safety of children in schools. A comprehensive action plan is to be chalk out for identification of children with special needs (CWSN), training of teachers, availability of special educators, infrastructure creation and ICT inclusive programmes.
To expedite the vocational education, construction of workshop/laboratory-cum-classroom, training module for courses of entrepreneurship soft skill etc. is to be done in upper primary schools. All upper primary, secondary and senior secondary school will be covered with ICT and digital initiatives in a time bound manner. Social Audit to cover 20% of schools per year is mandatory to monitor the implementation of schemes and ensuring transparency & accountability. Special emphasis is to be given to Aspirational Districts, Special Focus Districts (SFD), Left Wing Extremism (LWE) districts, Educationally Backward Blocks (EBB), SC/ST/Minority concentration districts.
For all Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), the financial management system has been changed and a Single Nodal Agency (SNA) has been designated for each CSS for each state. The bank account of each SNA is to be opened and mapped in PFMS.
Samagra Shiksha will act as vehicle for carrying out the recommendations of National Education Policy 2020. Proper planning and implementation of interventions of Samagra Shiksha would help in achieving the objectives of providing quality education for all, in a time bound manner and remove the bottlenecks currently available in the education sector. It will prove to be an efficacious weapon in transforming the nation as “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”.
(Author is a technocrat & academician. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected] )