Education Department shows Remarkable Improvement in 2017
The state government recruited around 14,000 teachers in 2017, according to education department officials. The recruitments were conducted in two phases in which 8,000 posts of additional teachers were filled up in the first phase and another 6,000 teachers were recruited during the second phase.
Authorities said that teachers’ recruitment was a top priority for the state education department in order to ensure quality education. The department will continue filling posts of primary teachers during the next year as well.
In December 2016, state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had set a target of recruiting over 13,000 teachers to fill maximum number of vacancies all over the state in 2017.
Further, officials informed that a total of 1,977 schools across the state were found to be having either zero or less than 10 students, but in these schools at least three or four teachers were employed.
The Right to Education (RTE) Act mandates a student-teacher ratio of 30:1 that is, there should be at least one teacher per 30 students. In order to balance out the student-teacher ratio, Sarma said that it has been decided to transfer students from these schools to other schools in the vicinity within the district. He further added that most of these schools were provincialised in 2012.
Over 20 lakh students evaluated under Gunotsav till now
One of the biggest programmes undertaken by the state government to improve the overall quality of education in government schools this year has been Gunotsav under which over 20 lakh students have been evaluated from over 31,000 government schools.
Students between classes 2 to 8 of primary schools were assessed under the initiative. The results of the second phase were released recently.
In the second phase, 18,811 schools and over 11 lakh students participated and the percentage of participation went up from 80% in the first phase to 92% this time.
Further, in the second phase, 9% schools were graded A+ as compared to 6% in the first phase. A total of 29% schools secured the A grade and 32% scored B while this was 19% and 25% in the first phase.
On the other hand, the number of schools which got C and D grades was lower this time. In total, 19% and 10% schools scored C and D respectively this time while 27% and 23% schools were given C and D in the first phase.
While declaring the results, the education minister said, “Looking at the data, we can see that Gunotsav has been instrumental in bringing academic excellence and in improving the overall education scenario in the state. We hope to completely eliminate schools scoring C and D grades from the next phase onwards.”
In the first phase in April, Gunotsav was implemented as a pilot project in eight districts namely Kamrup (Metro), Barpeta, Chirang, Dhibrugarh, Hailakandi, Lakhimpur, Morigaon and Karbi Anglong (West). The second phase, conducted in October, covered 12 districts while a total of 13 districts were covered in the third phase in November.
However, around 75% primary schools in Kamrup (Metro) District scored low grades in the first phase of Gunotsav.
According to data provided by the Assam Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Mission (ASSAM), a total of 708 elementary schools in the district were evaluated under the scheme, out of which 534 schools scored C and D grades.
Additionally, only 18 schools were graded A+, while 14 scored the A grade and 142 schools were given B grade. As many as 54,837 students were evaluated in the district on their academic as well as extra-curricular performance.
In order to bridge the gap in the learning and teaching process, the government has introduced remedial classes for students whose performance was not found up to the mark.
“These classes have begun in Kamrup (Metro) since August as per the individual need of every child. The teachers have identified each student’s weak areas and the subjects in which he or she would require additional support,” said Kamrup (M) district elementary education officer, Buli Gogoi.
Officials feel that if implemented effectively, Gunotsav can be instrumental in decreasing the dropout rate, increasing the accountability of the school authorities and bringing about holistic development in students of Guwahati as well as of the state.
35,000 new classrooms, additional facilities on the agenda for 2018
With the results of the Gunotsav, officials said they have been able to identify different needs in schools.
Approximately, 35,000 new classrooms are needed all over the state. “We will set aside allocation in the budget for the next year to build classrooms, partitions and for other additional facilities like electricity, fans, sports and music equipments,” said Sarma.
Further, in the second phase of Gunotsav results, it was found that 7,522 teachers are in excess while there a shortage of 7,079 teachers was found. The excess teachers will be transferred soon to schools facing shortage of teachers, said officials.
Additionally, 652 schools were found to be operating with a single teacher—these schools primarily received C and D grades. In these schools, one additional teacher has already been deployed.
The education minister also said that government school students will receive free textbooks by January 5, 2018, mentioning that the government also plans to introduce uniforms in schools by March next year.