Third phase witnesses marked improvement in Gunotsav results
The results of third phase of Gunotsav were announced recently; while it saw better performance by a majority of schools, the scheme also brought to light the anomalies in infrastructure of schools.
The third phase of Gunotsav saw significant improvement in the number of schools scoring high grades, informed education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while declaring the results for the third phase on February 27.
The third and final phase of the initiative was held from January 3 to 6. Under this, as many as 1174995 students were evaluated from 17869 schools on their academic as well as extra-curricular performance.
Gunotsav is an initiative of the state government which aims at improving the overall quality of education in primary schools.
In a positive development from the previous phases, the latest phase of Gunotsav saw 3575 schools (20%) scoring A+ grade as compared to 1672 (9%) in the second phase and 777 (6%) schools in the first.
Further, the percentage of schools securing the A grade also went up considerably to 40% or 7063 schools as opposed to 29% or 5480 schools in the second phase and 19% or 2323 schools in the first.
Students between classes 2 and 8 of all primary schools were assessed under the initiative. The third phase was held in Majuli, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Dhemaji, Goalpara, Baksa, Nalbari, Dhubri, South Salmara, Karimganj, Hojai and West Karbi Anglong districts.
Additionally, this phase saw a drop in the number of schools scoring low grades. Only 3% schools scored B grade this time when compared to 23% and 10% in the first and second phase respectively.
The minister attributed this improvement to the recruitment of teachers across the state after the first phase of the initiative.
Under the scheme, external evaluators consisting of the chief minister, other state ministers and officials visited and marked the schools. The overall assessment was based on academic achievements of students and co-curricular activities comprising the morning assembly, formation of student parliaments, use of library books by students, conduct of physical education classes, availability and utilisation of school infrastructure and other facilities, and participation of school management committees in school activities were a few criteria taken into consideration for the evaluation.
70% govt primary schools lack access to electricity
While the overall grades of schools have become better in the third phase, Gunotsav also brought to everyone’s attention the lack of basic amenities in government schools. Sarma revealed that close to 70% primary schools in the state do not have access to electricity.
“After conducting three phases of Gunotsav, it was revealed that out of 48963 schools which took part in the initiative, 34162 schools lack electricity,” he informed.
The minister blamed this on the lack of effort and initiative in this regard by the previous Congress government and said that officials from previous years should be held accountable.
Experts maintain that the initiative has been instrumental in bringing out the gaps in schools and elementary education.
District elementary education officer of Kamrup (Metro), Buli Gogoi Bhuyan, said that the scheme is a step in the right direction and is proving helpful in improving the levels of learning in schools. She said, “This form of evaluation of students is extremely crucial in order to improve the quality of education in schools. The exercise has highlighted the areas which need attention and improvement.”
Authorities further mentioned that one of the gains of Gunotsav has also been the identification of absentee students across the state.
“We have detected 20% absentee students. Earlier as per our records, there were 41 lakh students enrolled in Assam while actually there are 37 lakh students,” said Sarma.
Officials found that there were four lakh absentee students whose names were enrolled in schools but who did not attend classes.
They tested it by sending 20% less mid-day meals in schools and did not receive any complain from schools of shortage. “We have saved 20% money in mid-day meals this way.”
Further, the education department was also able to save funds in school uniforms which will be sent out to 37 lakh students instead of 41 lakh, leading to a saving of rupees 16 crore.
‘Will fix everything by next year’: Sarma
The education minister promised that he will ensure that the schools lacking basic amenities will see better infrastructure by next year.
“Because of Gunotsav we have also identified places having excess and deficit teachers,” said officials.
Further, the results of the scheme revealed that at least 2000 schools do not have classrooms while 1379 schools did not have toilet facility.
Authorities informed that the education department will need around 962 crore rupees to incorporate all requirements in elementary schools across the state.
“Every student should get minimum water, toilet, classrooms and electricity. Today we have a meeting with the finance department and we will request them to give 962 crore in one go,” said Sarma.
The drop out rate has also declined this year with 78000 students dropping out of schools as compared to 1.6 lakh from last year. Also, a total of 28000 students took admission this year.
Further during this phase, 3579 teachers were found to be in excess and 5120 were in deficit in schools. Additionally, Goalpara district was ranked first this time, Nalbari stood second while Darrang secured the third phase.
Officials informed that from next year onwards, high schools will also be assessed under Gunotsav.