Quality Issues in Elementary Education
QUALITY ISSUES IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION
1. PEDAGOGY, TEACHER TRAINING AND CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT FOR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
1.1 GANDHIJI ON EDUCATION
Real education has to draw out the best from the boys and girls to be educated. This can never be done by packing ill-assorted and unwanted information into the heads of the students. It becomes a dead weight crushing all originality in them and turning them into mere automata
Mahatma Gandhi (Harijan 1 December, 1933)
1.2 THE NATIONAL POLICY RESOLVE
1.2.1 The National Policy on Education, as revised in 1992, had emphasized the need for a substantial improvement in quality of education to achieve essential levels of learning. The Programme of Action, 1992, stressed the need to lay down Minimum Levels of Learning at Primary and Upper Primary stage. This need emerged from the basic concern that irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex, all children must be given access to education of comparable standards. The MLL strategy for improving the quality of elementary education was seen as an attempt to combine quality with equity.
1.2.2 The main indicator of the quality of elementary education can be visualized in terms of its product – the learners’ achievement both in scholastic and co-scholastic areas i.e. the performance in various subjects of study and habits, attitudes, values and life skills necessary for becoming a good citizen. The factors associated with success in these areas, which relate to conditions of learning and learning environment, are also sometimes considered as indicators of quality of elementary education. Thus ensuring quality in the inputs and processes becomes necessary if quality achievement is aimed at.
1.2.3 A strong focus on quality issues in elementary education underpins all efforts under SSA, which will increasingly become centre stage, as the programme advances. There is a clear outcome orientation within the programme, reflecting an understanding that inputs of different kinds, whether in the form of additional teachers, training programmes, textbooks etc. must translate into tangible outcomes that reflect improvement in the quality of classroom transactions, pedagogic practices and learning outcomes of children. SSA includes several features that seek to improve the quality of elementary education, (a) ensuring basic provisioning to enable improvement in the quality of classroom transactions; (b) large scale capacity building of States, for undertaking interventions for quality enhancement; and (c) evaluation of quality related processes and assessment of learning outcomes.
1.2.4 Quality issues in elementary education will therefore, revolve around the quality of infrastructure and support services, opportunity time, teacher characteristics and teacher motivation, pre-service and in-service education of teachers, curriculum and teaching-learning materials, classroom processes, pupil evaluation, monitoring and supervision etc. Indeed improvement of quality in these parameters and its sustenance is a matter of grave concern for the whole system of education. Some issues are mentioned below:
(a) Providing for reasonably good school building and equipment to all schools;
(b) Providing quality ECCE to all children until 6 years of age;
(c) Ensuring a minimum of 4 to 5 hours per day of meaningful stay of each child in school;
(d) Providing trained and committed teachers in all schools and really interested and oriented instructors for all EGS/AIE centres.
(e) Improving the quality of existing pre-service teacher education;
(f) Organizing quality in-service teacher education to all teachers on a periodical basis and with a follow up mechanism;
(g) Creating and sustaining teacher motivation;
(h) Revitalizing supervision system for quality elementary education;
(i) Re-organization of curriculum to imbibe local needs and in-corporating the concerns of the National Curriculum Framework 2005;
(j) Development of competency based and contextual teaching-learning material;
(k) Improving teaching-learning processes to make them child centered, activity based, mastery learning oriented;
(l) Providing for remedial teaching and enrichment programmes at due occasions in all classrooms;
(m) Introduction of formative evaluation and grading system to make it stress free for children;
(n) Reduction of curriculum load; and
(o) Introducing participatory management of elementary education with community support.
1.2.5 Remedial Education - Very often children admitted to formal schools after undergoing a bridging programme face problems of adjustment to the formal environment. These children need to be helped for sometime through community-based volunteers. The scheme would support activities like home visits, weekly meetings with parents and children, remedial teaching of such children for a period of upto 4 months after their admission into formal schools.
1.3 Approach under SSA for Quality Enhancement
1.3.1 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will make efforts to take a holistic and comprehensive approach to the issue of quality. Efforts to decentralize the whole process of curriculum development down (grassroot level) to the district level will be made. Reducing the load of non-comprehension by facilitating child-centered and activity-based learning will be attempted. Learning by doing, learning by observation, work experience, art, music, sports and value education shall be made fully integral to the learning process. Appropriate changes will be made in the evaluation system to make it more continuous and less threatening. Performance of children will be constantly monitored in consultation with parents but shall not be restricted only to cognitive areas. Teachers’ role in preparation of textbooks and secondary learning materials will be enhanced. School timings will be made contextual. Based on a broad curriculum framework, districts would be free to define their content areas in their local contexts. State and national level institutions will facilitate this process of decentralized arrangements for development of curriculum and evaluation systems. Some guiding principles in curriculum and evaluation reform will be as follows:
(a) Teacher/ community participation in material preparation and in developing a school vision;
(b) Focus on good quality printing, illustrations for books along side improvement in content; freedom from ‘cheapest syndrome’ in matters of children’s books;
(c) Use of local dialects as language' in classes one and two;
(d) Community-based and school-based projects for work experience;
(e) Association of local artisans/workmen in school activities;
(f) Primacy to cultural activities, art, sports, etc.;
(g) Content based and motivational training for teachers;
(h) Continuous assessment of students for all round development;
(i) Facilitating child-to-child learning;
(j) Looking upon quality improvement as integral to a holistic School Improvement Programme.
1.3.2 Norms approved under the scheme of Restructuring of Teacher Education will apply. Block/Urban Resource Centres and Cluster Resource Centres will be set up as per the norms mentioned earlier. They will function under the guidance of DIETs.
1.3.3 Efforts to identify teachers as resource persons will be attempted through adoption of objective criteria. Teachers as resource persons could then interact with pedagogy experts and other teacher educators to develop useful learning approaches for children. Efforts to recognize the unique learning needs of children must be made. The diversity of learning environments and learning approaches should be encouraged and teachers should have the freedom to experiment on a much larger scale.
1.3.4 The effective interface of teachers and teacher educators is critical for developing a context specific intervention. Study tours of teachers will be encouraged. NGOs with experience in pedagogy will be associated in developing capacity among teachers for innovative practices.
1.3.5 The distance education mode will continue to be an important input in the in-service education of teachers and other personnel in the area of elementary education. It will supplement the face-to-face training by using multimedia packages like audio-video programmes, radio broadcast, teleconferencing, etc. This will also facilitate dissemination of innovative practices of one region to others. DIETs would be the centre of activity at the district level. The state coordination would be done by SIETs/SCERTs. These State level organizations would take up capacity building activities of DIET personnel.
1.4 SOME SIGNIFICANT INTERVENTIONS UNDER SSA FOR QUALITY ENHANCEMENT
(i) Setting up of National Resource Group for Quality Education.
(ii) Coordination with NCERT – Department of Elementary Education, Department of Measurement and Evaluation, Department of Teacher Education and 5 Regional Institutes of Education..
(iii) Constitution of National Expert Group on Assessment in Elementary Education (NEGAEE)
(iv) Reading Development Programme in Early Years with support from NCERT.
(v) Establishment of Resource Groups at different levels (state /district /block /cluster).
(vi) Active involvement of State SCERTs (21) and DIETs (556).
(vii) Setting up and operationalizing Block and Cluster Resource Institutions.
(viii) Documentation of good practices and sharing across States.
(ix) Enhancement, convergence and collaboration among major academic bodies and NGOs at national/state/district level for quality enhancement.
1.5 TEACHER RECRUITMENT, RATIONALIZATION AND MANAGEMENT
1.5.1 States have their own norms for recruitment of teachers and a lot of diversity exists in payments being made to new recruits. In many cases the appointing authority is the local Panchayat. The States will be free to follow their own norms as long as these are consistent with the norms established by NCTE. There will be no compromise on standards even though payments of less than the State pay scale as an interim measure may be adopted in States with large-scale vacancies. Rationalization of existing teacher units will be a priority. The presence of the non-governmental sector has to be taken note of before working out vacancies.
1.5.2 The programme will provide for primary and upper primary school teachers to ensure that there is no single teacher school . Overall, the effort will be to provide at least 1: 40 teacher pupil ratio. Qualifications of upper primary teachers will be as per state specific norms and the number of upper primary schools will be broadly as per the national policy norm. The practice of at least 50 % women teachers will be strictly followed.
1.5.3 The support for newly appointed teachers’ salaries (on a reducing basis) under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will be for a ten year period. The sharing arrangement will be 85:15 in the IX Plan, 75:25 in the X Plan. For XI Plan & thereafter, it will be 65:35 for the first two years i.e. 2007-08 and 2008-09; 60:40 for the third year i.e.2009-10; 55:45 for the fourth year i.e. 2010-11; and 50:50 thereafter i.e. from 2011-12 onwards between the Central Government and State Governments/Union Territories other than NE States. For the 8 North-Eastern States, the fund sharing pattern between Centre and States shall be 90:10 under the programme in the XIth Plan period and till the end of the programme with the centre’s share resourced from the 10% earmarked funds for the NE Region in the SSA’s Central Budget. Long term sustainable financing of teachers' salaries is likely to enthuse States to fill up teacher vacancies as per requirement. Assistance will not be available for filling up existing vacancies that have arisen on account of attrition. States that did not utilize the support under Operation Blackboard for a third teacher in Primary or an additional teacher in Upper Primary will be eligible for assistance for new posts created to meet the rising enrolment of pupils.
1.5.4 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will encourage decentralised management of teacher cadres. The local government should recruit and the community should have a say in the selection process. The Gujarat model of recruiting fully trained teachers on fixed pay as an interim strategy could be adopted in States with large-scale teacher vacancies. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would like to improve the accountability of the teacher vis-à-vis local community without diluting the standards for selection of teachers, as laid down from time to time by the National Council of Teacher Education.
1.5.5 Opportunities for the professional development of teachers have to be encouraged and all efforts to provide effective in-service training and orientation have to be made. The norms for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan provides for effective in-service teacher training.
1.5.6 Arrangements for class room observation after training programmes, by the Resource Persons will be encouraged.
1.6 CURRICULUM AND TEXTBOOK DEVELOPMENT
1.6.1 The NCF 2005, developed by NCERT after extensive consultations, endeavours to reduce the curriculum load and make learning more enjoyable for children. NCERT has prepared a three-phased programme for the development of textbooks from 2006-07 till 2008-09. The NCERT textbooks have attempted to incorporate the concerns articulated in the NCF regarding sensitivity for cultural diversity, gender and a child centered constructivist approach to learning. NCERT is supporting States in setting up Core Groups to review their syllabi in the light of NCF, 2005. These groups have to ensure that syllabi for all subjects, namely, social science, science, mathematics and Languages:
(a) Incorporate the values enshrined in the Constitution of India and the National Policy on Education in the Organization of Knowledge in all subjects.
(b) Reflect sensitivity to gender, caste and class parity, peace, health and needs of children with disabilities.
(c) Infuse environment related knowledge and concern in all subjects and at all levels.
(d) Link school knowledge in different subjects and children’s everyday experiences.
(e) Ensure appropriateness of topics and themes for relevant stages of children’s development.
(f) Ensure continuity from one level to the next.
(g) Make inter- disciplinary and thematic linkages between topics listed for different school subjects, which fall under discrete disciplinary areas.
(h) Integrate work related attitudes and values in every subject and at all levels.
(i) Nurture aesthetic sensibility and value by integrating the arts and India’s heritage of crafts in every aspect of the curriculum.
1.7 REVIEW OF TEACHER TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OF PERFORMANCE STANDARDS
1.7.1 In order to address issues related to efficacy of teacher training, MHRD undertook a review of teacher training strategies and programmes, with a view to impacting the final classroom processes and learning achievement of children. An initiative called ADEPTS (Advancement of Educational Performance through Teacher Support) has been rolled out in 2007 – 08.
1.7.2 This was a collaborative exercise between MHRD, the States/ UTs, NCERT,TSG and UNICEF, for Advancement of Educational Performance through Teacher Support. It was felt that teacher training under SSA needed to be strengthened to become more outcome oriented. That is, inputs in training should translate into positive changes in classroom practices. For this purpose, it was first necessary to define the desired standards of teacher performance. Then, it should be possible to device appropriate teacher training programmes that enable teachers to perform at the identified levels.
1.7.3 The need for strengthening the teacher support systems, simultaneously, was also felt .In this context, the exercise of defining desired performance standards of trainers at different levels (DIETS/BRCs/CRCs/) was also undertaken.
1.8. SALIENT FEATURES OF THE GUIDELINES FOR IN-SERVICE TEACHER TRAINING:
1.8.1 NCERT has revised the guidelines for annual in-service training in the form of “The Reflective Teacher”. The Key features of the guidelines developed by NCERT are :-
(i) It takes into account the ‘Constructivist’ approach, as advocated in NCF 2005. This means that the teacher should act as a ‘facilitator’, and should work towards creating a variety of learning experiences in and out of the classroom that enable children to construct knowledge from activities and experiences in day to day life. The teacher is not to be a ‘transmitter’ of knowledge to passive recipients (the children).
(i) This approach requires teachers to be reflective, that is they need to become ‘mindful enquirers’ into their own experiences, to guide children meaningfully.
(ii) The guidelines advocate a ‘split up’ model of in service training, in which 6-8 days training is provided at the BRC/DIET level and 2 days training through actual observation of classroom situations. Thereafter, teachers are expected to return to their school settings for 2-3 months, to try out the recommended methodologies and ideas. At the end of the training programme, they once again return to the BRC/DIET for 2 days to share their experience and reflect on the new ideas before they complete the training.
(iii) The guidelines recommend a formal training duration of 10 days, as evident from above.
(iv) In keeping with NCF 2005, the guidelines recommend training of teachers in areas such as art and heritage crafts, health and physical education, work education and education for peace, besides training in basic subjects like language, EVS and Mathematics.
(v) The guidelines stress identification of training needs and development of appropriate training modules through BRGs/DRGs/SRGs. It is also recommended that the training design should emphasize local contextuality and specificities in the teaching learning situation.
(vi) A list of suggested readings, educational audio and video programmes for teachers have also been provided in the guidelines.
1.9 IMPROVING QUALITY LEARNING THROUGH LEARNING ENHANCEMENT PROGRAMMES (LEP)
1.9.1 Acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills plays a crucial role in children's learning process, especially in higher classes. Therefore SSA lays special thrust on acquisition of these basic skills in early years. States under SSA, in course of time, have realized its importance and have gradually moved from school improvement programmes and quality improvement programmes to Learning Enhancement Programmes (LEPs) with focus on basic skills in early grades and Science & Maths at upper primary level.
1.9.2 For implementing such innovative practices funds available for remedial teaching, teacher training, REMS, innovation and State/ District project management are generally being used for such interventions involving activities like material development, capacity building academic support, monitoring and evaluation. Also, to take the LEP to the scale funds upto 2% of the total outlay can be utilised subject to pre defined conditions. Budget available under Project Management (up to an upper limit of 6% of the total State budget) can be considered for the same. Out of the said 6% funds available, each State/ UT would be expected to design a Learning Enhancement Programme (LEP) using a maximum of 2%. The State would also provide a detailed plan of action for its project management related activities utilizing an upper limit of the 6% amount. For smaller districts where the management fund is insufficient to accommodate quality intervention within 6%, the limit may be observed at State level.
1.9.3 Major parameters of LEPs. The Following major parameters may be considered during appraisal or approval of any Learning Enhancement Plan in a District/ State/ UT:
(i) Objectives of the programme should focus on learning enhancement of students in selected subject areas over a stipulated period.
(ii) Provision for learning achievement surveys (baseline, mid term and end term) would be made to track children's performance over the period.
(iii) Information about the background of children, their learning difficulties, challenges related to their performance along with the total number of children to be covered.
(iv) Type of materials to be developed for students, teachers, trainers and other stakeholders.
(v) Role and functions of key personnel like teachers, CRCs, BRCs, DIETs, community and others who will implement the programme and strategies for their capacity building.
(vi) Information about the pedagogic principles including strategies for learning tracking to be adopted during the programme.
(vii) Strategies for evaluation of the intervention internally and externally.
1.9.4 A State/ UT will provide a detailed plan for a District/ State specific Learning Enhancement Programme related to reading, mathematics and science by using up to a total of 2% from the Programme Management cost of 6%.
(Ref.F.No.2-3/2005-EE.3 Dated on 29.8.2007)
1.10 NCERT SUPPORT FOR READING ENHANCEMENT PROGRAMME FOR EARLY GRADES:
1.10.1 ‘Reading’ is a very important area in the primary stage curriculum. The National Curriculum Framework 2005 also advocates creation of opportunities for reading and developing a print rich environment in schools. NCERT’s learning achievement surveys have shown low achievement in early grades, in basic literacy and numeracy.
1.10.2 Basic education of good quality should facilitate the acquisition of skills in literacy and numeracy, at the appropriate time. This is the foundation on which other competencies are built later. If the foundation is weak, subsequent learning is impeded. As part of the quality enhancement agenda under SSA, NCERT has launched a reading programme for the early grades of the primary stage, as an exemplar for States to build their own programmes for strengthening children’s’ reading skills. The objectives of this programme are as follows:
(i) To select, procure and also develop new graded reading materials for children (Classes I and II) in Hindi and English
(ii) To design and create a reading corner in each of the selected schools in the pilot project.
(iii) To orient teachers in reading pedagogy
(iv) To create awareness among teachers as well as community for developing a reading culture
(v) To devise strategies for wide dissemination of existing and new developed reading materials
(vi) To publish a magazine once in two months for children including compositions/writings done by children
(vii) To develop a teacher’s manual for utilization of the reading materials
(viii) To develop guidelines for setting up of reading cells across States
(ix) To identify and document the activities of NGOs working in this area
(x) To evaluate and document the process of the pilot project in the form of periodic reports.
1.11 ACADEMIC FOCUS OF BRCs/URCs AND CRCs
1.11.1 BRCs/URCs and CRCs have been conceptualized under SSA based on their good performance in initiatives such as DPEP, Lok Jumbish, Shiksha Karmi, etc. Presently nearly all BRCs/ URCs and about 95% CRCs are operational in the country. However, much of their potential as academic resource centers are yet to be realized and their role and functions are to be academically channelised. BRCs/URCs and CRCs need to function as resource centers near the schools to study the problems and issues related to quality through effective use of DISE, household survey, Quality Monitoring Tools etc. Accordingly they need to design strategies to address the academic issues. Some of the major academic roles of BRCs/URCs & CRCs are outlined below.
(a) Development of the Center as a rich academic resource center with ample resource/ reference materials for concerned teachers.
(b) Development of strong resource pools by inviting resource persons from nearby teacher education institutions, NGOs, Colleges/ Universities and resourceful individuals form Resource Groups in different subject areas for primary and upper primary level.
(c) Regular school visits for addressing emerging pedagogic issues and issues related to school development.
(d) Organization of teacher training and monthly meetings to discuss academic issues and design strategies for better school performance.
(e) Setting up of performance indicators to track and enhance school performance.
(f) Consultation with community members and Panchayati Raj Institutions to strive for school improvement.
(g) Design a Quality Improvement Plan for own block/ cluster as per the SSA goals and strive to achieve that in a time bound manner.
(h) Monitor the progress of quality using Quality Monitoring Tools in collaboration with nearby DIET.
1.12 QUALITY ISSUES AT UPPER PRIMARY STAGE
1.1.1. Since Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan covers the Upper Primary stage also, the focus in quality interventions would have to be on meeting the complex needs of this stage in terms of teacher qualification, competency, subject specific deployment in schools, academic support through BRCs/CRCs, training needs of teachers, classroom based support and supervision issues. Since SSA will be one of the first major programme interventions at Upper Primary stage (OBB, LJP, BEP, EFAUP had Upper Primary components), greater clarity with regard to the specific needs of this stage will emerge in the course of programme implementation.
1.1.2. As large number of children are transiting from primary to upper primary stage, the focus from XIth plan is on promotion of upper primary level. The SSA programme will orient itself by supporting the States for the following:-
(i) Provision of upper primary schools wherever gap exists within the norms;
(ii) Providing for subject specific teachers in Maths and Science at upper primary level.
(iii) Enhancement of Science & Maths learning through specific programme inputs.
(iv) Provision of free text books to all children within the ceiling of Rs.250/- per child.
(v) Furniture for upper primary schools for more conducive learning environment @ Rs.500/- per child subject to certain conditions.
(vi) Providing for Computer Aided Learning at upper primary level.
1.13 USEFUL AND RELEVANT EDUCATION AND EDUCATION FOR LIFE
1.13.1 One of the goals of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is to promote education for life. The debate on learning skills and life skills is an old one in India. There is a lot to learn from the Basic education system advocated by Mahatma Gandhi and the 'Nayee Taleem' advocated by Dr. Zakir Husain. The whole issue of relevance of education has been raised in the context of education for life. A lot of experts feel that education is not just the process of imparting literacy and numeracy. It is actually a process of socialization that helps children cope with the natural and the social environment. They have therefore, emphasized the need to develop a school system that builds on the solidarities in societies and tries to learn from the natural environment. The pursuit of useful and relevant education would imply a much greater focus on integrating physical and mental development.
1.13.2 The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan would encourage States to focus on total development of children. Encouragement to sports, cultural activities, Project work involving interaction with social and natural surrounding, activity based learning, exposure to life skills with regard to health, nutrition, professions, etc. Such a focus will entail looking upon a school as a social institution that is the hub of community activities. Encouragement to work experience would require the attachment of children with professionals, farmers, artisans, in order to master the social and natural context.
1.13.3 The shift in focus should result in a greater involvement of a number of extension workers in schools. Agriculture Extension Workers, Health Workers, Aanganwadi Workers, extension workers in artisan based programmes, activities of the Khadi and Village Industries Corporation, learning from traditional wisdom by interaction with the respected senior citizens in an area, etc. should form an integral part of the strategies of education for life. Children should be encouraged to think and observe independently and the classroom should be a forum for interaction.
1.14 RESEARCH, MONITORING AND EVALUATION
1.14.1 As Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan emphasizes quality education, it is necessary to periodically monitor and evaluate all aspects of pedagogical inputs like curriculum and textbook development, teacher training packages and class room processes, amongst others. In this effort the role of community assumes paramount significance. The community leaders and groups need to be sensitized on issues related to monitoring of children's progress and other quality related school activities. Existing VECs, PTAs, SECs, MTAs, SMCs, etc., should be involved in this process by organizing fortnightly/monthly meetings in the schools.
1.14.2 In order to assess enhancement in children's learning achievement and progress, after the launch of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a periodic assessment every three years should be done at the primary and upper primary stages, using the BAS findings as a reference point.
1.14.3 Research groups at the State, district and sub-district levels would be constituted to facilitate quality improvement in teaching-learning. State, district, block and cluster resource groups would function in collaboration with the SCERTs, DIETs, BEOs/BRCs and CRCs respectively. Information regarding the constitution and functioning of these groups would be incorporated into the Project Management Information System.
1.14.4 Research plays an important role in implementation of the programme. Studies are mainly conducted at both national level and State level to provide feedback on effectiveness of the different inputs, to highlight the problem areas in implementation and to suggest changes in interventions to make them more effective. The SSA encourages research & evaluation as an on going continuous process.
1.14.5 National level Research studies
a. Mainly conducted by NCERT, NUEPA and Technical Support Group (TSG) of Ed.CIL.
b. Mainly, NCERT is responsible for conducting national pupil achievement surveys.
c. The Research, Evaluation & Studies Unit (RESU) of TSG plays major role in getting large scale studies / surveys conducted on issues arising from analysis of EMIS; need felt during the implementation of programme or on suggestions made by National Resource Group / Sub-Mission / JRMs.
d. The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) at National level is comprised of experts in education and allied areas from all over the country. Their prime role is to discuss research issues and to suggest new studies to be undertaken.
e. The Committee for Approval of Research Projects (CARP) is chaired by Secretary (SE&L), Ministry of HRD and comprises of eminent professionals from different national institutions, NGOs and other organizations approves the studies that will be commissioned under the SSA. The CARP also approves the budget for these studies.
f. After the topic of research is decided, an outline of research proposal is developed by RESU and then proposals are invited from NGOs, Universities and other organizations either by advertisement or by selecting agencies on the basis of their reputation and contribution in research.
g. For the studies involving several States, effort is made to develop a common methodology and to prepare the tools of data collection centrally by RESU with the help of external resource persons. Also detailed sampling plan is developed and even samples of schools or villages are drawn centrally for all the participating States, to facilitate data collection and to ensure uniformity in sampling across states. This is particularly important since usually different agencies are selected for conducting the study in different States.
1.14.6 State Level Research Studies
Every State is expected to have a State Research Advisory Committee or State Research Approval Committee / State Resource Group comprising of eminent professionals in education from state level institutions, universities, national or state level Research organizations and NGO’s. Their role is to approve and suggest topics of research studies keeping in view of state needs and to review the completed studies. States will develop their own procedures of commissioning research studies such as by empanelling agencies and inviting proposals from them or through advertisement in newspapers.
1.14.7 District and School level research studies
At district level there are District Resource Groups comprising of representatives from DIETs, other educational institutions, NGOs and eminent professionals in education and allied science. Studies are undertaken by DIETs at district level, while Action Research studies are conducted by teachers in schools on problems identified by them. Financial assistance for such studies is provided from the SSA funds for REMS at State level, while training programmes for teachers in Action Research are conducted at district level.
1.14.8 Upto Rs.1500 per school per year will be available for Research, Monitoring and Supervision, out of which Rs.200 per school per year to be spent at national level. Rs.1300/- per school per year will be available at State level subject to the conditions laid down under Norm No. 15.
(Ref: F.2-3/2005 – EE.3 dated –22nd February, 2008. This amendment takes effect from 1-4-2008)
1.15 MONITORING SYSTEMS FOR MONITORING QUALITY ASPECTS IN SSA
1.15.1 (a) All States have ongoing learning assessment systems to keep track of children’s learning achievement and pedagogical improvement.
(b) A computerized annual educational MIS system (DISE) is operational in the country. In 2006-07, it covered 609 districts. The DISE includes several quality related parameters inter-alia, student-classroom ratio, teacher-pupil ratio, teacher profiles (educational qualifications, teacher training, female teachers, etc.) and examination results at exit primary and upper primary classes.
(c) National Pupil Achievement Sample Surveys by NCERT every 3 years for Classes III, V, VII and VIII
(d) Karnataka State Quality Assessment Organisation (KSQAO)
(e) The States are also encouraged to undertake independent learning achievement surveys to assess performance of their students. Some of the State specific large scale independent initiatives include Karnataka State Quality Assessment Organisation (KSQAO leading to Karnataka Schools towards Quality Education – KSQE in subsequent years), Gujarat Achievement Profile (GAP), etc. where students are tested through independent agencies and learning gaps are identified.
(f) Quarterly meetings by Government of India with State Pedagogy Coordinators and SCERT representatives are held to review progress in quality dimensions/interventions, plan future strategies, exchange good practices and build capacities of States.
(g) 41 external monitoring institutions, (including University Departments, Social Science Institutions etc) also monitor all aspects of implementation of SSA and provide reports on a half yearly basis.
1.15.2 NCERT’s QUALITY MONITORING TOOLS - A continuous and comprehensive monitoring and supervision system has been developed by the NCERT in the form of quality monitoring tools. Major quality dimensions of elementary education covered under these formats are:
(a) Children’s Attendance
(b) Community Support and Participation
(c) Teacher and Teacher Preparation
(d) Curriculum and Teaching Leaning Material
(e) Classroom Practices and Processes
(f) Learners’ Assessment, Monitoring and Supervision
1.16 RESOURCE GROUPS AND RESPONSIBILITY CENTRES
1.16.1 The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan emphasizes quality improvement in elementary education for which it deems necessary that resource groups and responsibility centres from national to sub-district levels are identified. These groups would oversee the policy, planning, implementation and monitoring of all quality related interventions. Their major role would be to advise and assist at various levels in curriculum development, pedagogical improvement, teacher education/training and activities related to classroom transaction.
1.16.2 In order to facilitate a decentralized mode of education, these groups would need to be constituted at various operational levels, namely - National, State, district and sub-district. The following could be involved in the groups:
(a) National level - NCERT, NUEPA, Ed.CIL (TSG), Universities, NGOs, experts and eminent educationists.
(b) State level - SCERT, SIEMAT, Universities, IASEs/CTEs, NGOs, experts and eminent educationists.
(c) District level - DIETs, representatives from DPEP District Resource Group, higher educational institutions, innovative teachers from the districts, NGOs.
(d) Sub-district – URC/BRC/BEO, representatives from CRCs, innovative teachers.
1.15.3 NATIONAL RESOURCE GROUP OF SSA: The National Resource Group of SSA has been constituted vide Ministry’s Notification No. F52-1/2004-EE-17 dated 9th April 2008 to advise Central and State Governments on all aspects of quality improvement in elementary education, through SSA and related programmes, with special reference to the following:
(i) Curriculum and syllabus
(ii) Quality and content of textbooks
(iii) Development of other teaching learning materials
(iv) Laying down of minimum levels of learning and their incorporation in curricula, textbooks and teaching process
(v) Monitoring learner achievement vis-à-vis MLL’s and action for improving attainment levels.
(vi) Appropriate pedagogic and evaluation practices
(vii) In service training of elementary teachers and elementary teacher educators, in the context of SSA.
1.15.4 NATIONAL EXPERT GROUP ON ASSESSMENT IN ELEMENTARY EDUCATION (NEGAEE):
To improve the quality of the Learning Achievement Surveys under SSA and to strengthen the existing learning assessment systems in States, a National Expert Group on Assessment in Elementary Education (NEGAEE) has been constituted under SSA. The expert group is to advise NCERT for the conduct of achievement surveys and to develop a Systemic Quality Index that will help State Governments and other institutions to interpret the outcomes of achievement surveys.