PM Shri schools scheme
Why in news?
The Union Cabinet approved the ‘PM Schools for Rising India’ (PM SHRI) scheme to turn existing government schools into model schools for implementation of the National Education Policy, 2022.
- The scheme will be implemented as a Centrally sponsored scheme with a total project cost of ₹27,360 crore, with the Centre’s share being ₹18,128 crore for the period of five years from 2022-23 to 2026-27 for transforming nearly 14,500 schools across the country.
- schools will be selected only if the State government agrees to implement the NEP “in entirety with the Centre laying down commitments for supporting these schools for achieving specified quality parameters” to become PM SHRI schools.
- These schools will also be “monitored vigorously” to assess their progress in implementing NEP.
- A school will receive nearly ₹2 crore, and the money will be transferred directly to the school’s account through Direct Benefit Transfer. The principal or the local committee will be given the flexibility to determine the use of 40% of the fund
- The PM SHRI scheme also provides a “School Quality Assessment Framework” which will be developed for measuring key performance indicators for carrying out quality evaluation of schools selected from the current academic year.
What are the key features of the scheme?
- As per the education ministry, the PM Shri Schools scheme will provide high-quality education in an “equitable, inclusive and joyful environment that takes care of the diverse background, multilingual needs and different academic abilities of children”.
Some key features of the PM Shri scheme are:
- Improvement of existing school infrastructure and provision of more facilities.
- Early childhood care and education including Balvatika and foundational literacy and numeracy.
- Development of ‘Green schools’. These will be equipped with solar panels, LED lights, nutrition gardens, and waste management, water conservation and harvesting systems. Students will also be made aware of traditions and practices related to the protection of the environment and encouraged to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
- Modern facilities including ICT (information and communication technologies) facility, smart classrooms, library, digital library, science labs and vocational labs etc. Schools will also get science and maths kits and annual school grants for library or sports.
- Counselling focused on well-being and career
- Sports and arts for every child.
- Provision of safe and appropriate infrastructure for girls and those with special needs.
- Mother tongue and local languages to be encouraged.
- Teachers are expected to adopt more experiential, holistic, integrated, play or toy-based, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible and enjoyable methods.
- Students to be taught about India and made aware of the country’s contribution to the world.
- Another feature includes “character-building, citizenship values, fundamental duties and responsibilities towards nation-building”.
- A student registry will be maintained for tracking enrolment and learning progress. PM Shri schools will be monitored regularly to assess progress and understand challenges faced in the implementation of the NEP.
- A ‘School Quality Assessment Framework’ is being developed to measure the progress and performance of these schools.
- The government has said it is exploring the possibility of collaborating with Sector Skill Councils of the National Skill Development Corporation and local industry to enhance employability and provide better employment opportunities.
- Schools will be connected to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and to higher education institutions for mentoring.
The quality parameters that will be evaluated once a school is selected for the scheme will include
- implementation of NEP 2020,
- student registry for tracking enrolment and learning progress,
- improvement in learning outcomes of each child to achieve levels above State and National average,
- linkage of school with higher education institutions and local entrepreneurial ecosystem for mentoring as well as creating “students rooted in the heritage of India, proud of values of Bharat, conscious of duties towards society and responsibilities towards nation-building”.
Which school will be selected and how?
- All elementary schools (Classes 1-5 or 1-8), secondary (Classes 1-10 or 6-10) and senior secondary schools (Classes 1-12 or 6-12) that are managed either by the Centre, State, UT, local bodies and have a UDISE+ (Unified District Information for Education Pus) code can apply.
- UDISE is a platform which collects information on a school’s profile, physical infrastructure, teachers, enrolments, results, etc. through an online Data Collection Form that contains information on multiple performance indicators.
- The selection process will be application-based— schools will have to first self-apply online on a portal to be considered. This portal will be opened four times a year, once every quarter, for the first two years of the scheme. Selection will be through a three-step process.
- The selection of schools will first include a Memorandum of Understanding with State and Union governments which will have to agree to implement NEP in “entirety”. Following this, eligible schools will be identified on the basis of prescribed minimum benchmark through the government’s UDISE+ data on schools.
- Subsequently, the schools will compete with each other on certain parameters, which will be evaluated through a physical inspection.
- States or Union Territories will then recommend the list of schools to the Ministry. Maximum of two schools per Block will be selected for the scheme.
- The last stage will be challenge-based. Teams from States, Kendriya Vidyalaya or Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schools will visit the applicant institution to inspect and verify claims.They will then recommend the selected schools to the Ministry of Education.
- The ministry will select a maximum of two schools — one elementary and the second either secondary, or senior secondary — from a block or urban local body, as applicable. The final decision will be taken by an expert committee.
- The scheme has been announced at a time when some States, including Tamil Nadu, continue to oppose NEP for imposing a centralised education system on the entire country when education is a State subject as well as enforcing the three-language policy under which students will learn three languages out of which two have to be native to India.
Other grounds for opposition include mandatory school entry at three years, which could leave out many from marginalised communities, promotion of vocational courses from Class 6 at the cost of formal education, as well as the option to exit schools in Class 10 with the option to re-enter in Class 11.