Himachal brings reforms in school education

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Shimla, July 2 (IANS) To improve the standard of education in over 14,000 government elementary schools, the Himachal Pradesh government has started a programme to identify problems and challenges and find out solutions, an official said on Sunday.

Over 5,000 schools have been reviewed so far by visiting over 11,000 classrooms and covering 2.91 lakh students, a government spokesperson told IANS.

In each school, the reviewing officer assesses the school on five parameters — basic school infrastructure, classroom observations, school management, funds utilization and assessment results.

The spokesperson said this has been possible due to the initiative of the state which has replaced the existing lengthy and cumbersome review system with comprehensive two-page optical mark reading (OMR) form.

Unlike the earlier system, the OMR forms allow immediate digitisation. As a result, problem areas as well as well-performing schools are identified and discussions are oriented not towards fault-finding but towards finding solutions and implementing them.

The actions decided upon in the state review meetings are tracked via a detailed action point tracker, thus ensuring that reviews don’t become a paper exercise but actually translate into quality improvement on the ground, the spokesperson added.

Further, each district is issued a letter containing a list of schools where improvements need to be made across various specific issues, besides voice calls are also made directly to schools.

The government also started on-time distribution of free textbooks to all students across the state.

More than 55 lakh books have been distributed among 600,000 students.

Despite extreme weather conditions, difficult terrain and two separate academic cycles, Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in the country to achieve this feat, the spokesperson said.

According to Annual Status of Education Report of 2016, Himachal Pradesh ranks first among states in language and mathematics competencies.

Not only the state has the highest rate of children who can read a standard II level of text in the country, it also ranks first on the basis of students who are competent to read stories meant for standard V students, says the report.

–IANS

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