July 28, 2021 5:57:32 am
In an assessment by the state education department from May 2019 to 2021, mainly on learning outcomes, only 14 of the 30,681 government primary schools scored A+ grade as against 3,207 schools that got the grade in 2018. The number of schools scoring A grade also declined from 22,437 to 2,282 in Gunotsav 2.0, as the new scoring method is called.
Education secretary Vinod Rao said that Covid-19 did not have any impact on the evaluation as a majority of the schools were evaluated for the academic session 2019-20 and the remaining few in 2021.
The exercise, introduced in 2009 under the then chief minister Narendra Modi to improve standards in government schools, was revised in 2019 to give 80 per cent weightage to learning outcomes, against 60 per given earlier.
Ministers are assigned districts to independently evaluate primary schoolchildren in government schools as part of this exercise, which was curtailed on account of the Covid pandemic. Schools have not reopened for offline classes for over a year now.
This Gunotsav evaluated learning levels in the pre-pandemic academic year, combined independent observations by School inspectors and learning outcomes. The inspectors sat in class to observe parameters like how is a teacher teaching, how much students have understood, teaching environment in class etc, while the learning outcome evaluation was fed online.
Schools with A+ score in the range of 100-85 per cent, A with 85-75 per cent, B with 75-50 per cent, C with 50-25 per cent and the lowest of D grade with 25-0 per cent.
Among 33 districts and four municipal corporations (total 37), the top three districts are Valsad that scored 67 per cent followed by Devbhumi Dwarka with 66.8 per cent and Botad 66.7 per cent. A huge rise is seen in B, C and D grade schools has been reported compared to the last Gunotsav conducted in 2018.
As many as 14 districts and one municipal corporation have been graded below the state average of 57.8 per cent. These include Narmada, Tapi, Surat, Kutch, Vadodara, Bharuch, Jamnagar, Dang, Aravalli, Anand, Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Mahisagar, Banaskantha, Dahod and Chhota Udepur with the least of 49.3 per cent.
Since the first Gunotsav in 2009, the number of A+ grade schools increased from 5 to 3,207 in 2018. The evaluation exercise revealed an average grade of 57.85 per cent indicates that in more than 75 per cent schools, no remedial education was implemented.
The Gunotsav that evaluated learning levels in the pre-pandemic academic year, combined independent observations by school inspectors and learning outcomes. The inspectors sat in class to observe parameters like how is a teacher teaching, how much students have understood, teaching environment in class etc, while the learning outcome evaluation was fed online.
After pilot roll out conducted in 850 schools, these institutes were externally evaluated by a team of over 460 school inspectors.
Attributing this huge decline to different evaluation criteria, Rao told The Indian Express, “What was called A+ schools earlier had 60 only per cent weightage to learning outcomes which has been increased in the revised criteria. Thus, there is a major difference in the numbers under each grade. Only if the results are closer to truth, then you can improve.”
The evaluation criteria used for Gunotsav, so far, had been in the ratio of 60:20:20, where 60 per cent for academic performance, 20 per cent for extra-curricular activities and 20 for use of available resources and social partnership.
Gunotsav 2.0 gave highest weightage of 80 per cent to learning outcomes — 54 per cent on the basis of unit tests and semester tests, 26 per cent on attendance and school management. While remaining 20 per cent on co-curricular activities and resources and its usage — 12 per cent on co-curricular activities and least of 8 per cent to resources and its use.
Another major change in the revised Gunotsav 2.0 is the accreditation of 100 per cent government schools externally against only 20 per cent of the schools that were picked for external evaluation by bureaucrats, police officers and ministers, whereas from the academic session (2019-2020), all schools were subjected to external evaluation. So far, remaining 80 per cent schools were evaluated internally by the schools and thus graded.
“Gujarat is the first state to evaluate its 100 per cent schools externally. This is one of the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) which Gujarat has already completed even before its implementation,” Rao says.
The evaluation has also been made more scientific, based on unit tests and semester and annual examinations, rather than on-the-spot assessment of students, which was being done till now. The school inspectors or assessors appointed for the task have just been trained and equipped with GPS-enabled tablets which will help them evaluate schools on real-time basis and enter the data online.
“The recent evaluation of government primary schools has revealed the actual position of schools and education in the state government. The state government’s tall claim of over 3,000 schools in the top grade has been exposed by its own evaluation,” Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Manish Doshi said accusing the state government of promoting private schools that charge exorbitant fee from parents instead of improving its education quality.
The Indian Express had reported on October 9, 2019, how disparities in the grading of schools under Gunotsav became evident in the results of the eighth edition of the annual evaluation of government primary school children in 33,000 schools in the state.
With the number of schools graded differing greatly between how internal evaluators and external evaluators assess them, based on academic and non-academic parameters, the education department had already initiated new evaluation methods from the current academic year onwards.
The data from Gunotsav 8 (2018-19) accessed by this paper illustrated why these changes were required.
Based on parameters that measure only academic performance, 1,563 schools got A+ grade, while this number shoots up 14 times to 23,228 schools when evaluated on non-academic parameters. As for the overall ranking, considering both academic and non-academic parameters, as many as 3,207 schools are listed under A+ grade, an increase from 2,117 schools in the previous academic session.
While there has not been much of an increase between academic years 2016 and 2017 where 1,960 and 2,117 schools respectively were graded A+, there was a huge disparity in the way internal assessors and external evaluators grade schools, as internal evaluators classify more schools under A+ grade and fewer schools under the low grade of D, compared to external assessors, across districts.
It was only in the A+ grade that the number of schools excelling in academic performance was much lower than the number of schools performing well in non-academic parameters. The gap declined with the grades and subsequently reverses till the bottom grade D.
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