Primary education is the foundation on which the development of every citizen and the nation as a whole built on. In recent past, India's improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to the economic development of India. At the same time, the quality of elementary education in India has also been a major concern. For children in primary school, the goal is to learn on a basic level the knowledge they will use every day of their lives. This includes skills such as how to read, write and do simple math equations.
While in Gujarat there has been notable focus and efforts on enrollment, and have brought a fare share of success for the primary education, concern for learning outcomes and quality provided in primary education has been addressed by various enhancement programmes for learning improvement. It is for strengthening the quality outcomes, that the government of Gujarat launched a programme called Gunotsav, initiated by the Chief Minister of Gujarat.Gunotsav' or 'Celebrating Quality'.
This programme was started by the state Education department during November 2009, with an aim to evaluate primary education scenario and grade school teachers accordingly. State Government has seen primary education as a grass-root sector and initiated with revolutionary experiments. The government of Gujarat has initiated a series of steps to improve the level of learning in its schools across the state and wishes to take these efforts forward, so as to achieve visible and measurable positive change. Government's efforts have succeeded in increasing school enrollments and bringing down school drop-out ratio, two major concerns in education field. The aim is to ensure that Gujarat should be among the top three states of the country in terms of student learning outcomes over the next 5 years.
A unique example of being a state initiative-Gunotsav is carried out with the participation of all state departments to strengthen 'quality' components of the Dept of Education. Different state departments took up additional responsibilities for this period.
The objectives of Gunotsav have been as follows:
1. Bring awareness in teachers and in general public for quality education
2. Educational evaluation and grading of schools & teachers
3. Assess the quality based classroom educational work or teaching process followed in schools
4. Improvement in education's quality in primary schools.
This statewide exercise has been an annual feature for three years now and will continue to be so.
Gunotsav is carried out state wide in two phases
1. The assessment is conducted for all children of classes 2-7, The first phase, wherein self evaluation is done by 100% schools and is also known as Self Evaluation phase, and,
2. In the second phase, evaluation is done by 3000 senior government officials of Gujarat covering around 9000 schools. As a part of the exercise top IAS, IPS, IFS and other officers besides ministers went to the schools to access the parameters and grade them to evaluate the status of education in the state. Thus 25% of schools in each block (taluka) are assessed personally by senior Government bureaucrats and Class 1 and 2 officers,
The assessments conducted are consciously designed to test appropriate levels of conceptual understanding and their application by the children. Data from both phases is collated, compiled and analysed by INDEXT B using latest information technology and the results are shared with stake holders enabling them to take appropriate action for the identified shortfalls. At the state level, Gunotsav visits yield valuable inputs and perspectives for policy making, along with identifying needs for making special efforts post Gunotsav.
In the First phase self evaluation is done by 33,922 primary schools which include 32774 government primary schools, 701 Ashram schools and 447 granted schools.
Before the first phase, schedules were shared at district level, for the self evaluation to be done in every school. Each school is given a school self evaluation booklet. It has instruction and guidelines for conducting the academic test for children and for the assessment of school infrastructure. All children of Std III to VII/VIII took the test for subjects like Math, Gujarati, English, Social Studies and Environmental Science. After the academic tests , teachers checked and graded children both class and standard wise. Forms were filled and the data had to be submitted to the CRCC. Data gathered by all schools were uploaded on the Gunotsav web portal, within 15 days at the cluster level.
Along with student assessments, Gunotsav also emphasizes on teacher's role and their performance, and also identified training requirements of the teachers based on their training needs. There are more than 20 Non academic parameters to assess school facilities - which are also part of the Self evaluation phase.
Evaluation for the second phase has been done after about two months of the self evaluation. To create a spirit of a high priority to this cause and to make those in the field of education feel the value of this activity, the complete strength of government machinery is deployed with a first hand briefing by the Chief minister to the participating officers in the state capital. Simultaneous satellite based conferences are held at district levels for district officers to share the understand the process.
The second phase of Gunotsav involves 3000 Senior bureaucrats of the State evaluate government primary schools covering 25% schools from all the blocks of the state. Officers and their teams visit one school each day and cover three schools in this exercise, each year. The team comprises of a senior state government official, accompanied by one or two members from his/her own department/office and a local liaison officer. Great emphasis is laid on uniform numbers of schools to be assesses in all clusters/talukas/districts of the state.
The Officer and team spend an entire day in the selected school ( from morning assembly to the evening presentation by students) The team has to reach before school time, participate in the assembly, participate in the school review and non academic and academic assessments-participate in the mid day meal and also review the school's basic facilities on matters of safety and utilization of resources.
After school hours, the officer and team interact with parents and take view and suggestions for educational activities in the village/school. At the end of the day, in school, Officers attend the cultural programme –this encourages the scope of participation among parents and makes them ware of their role in the school activities.
The in class assessment by Officers in the selected schools is conducted for Reading, Math and English. For the 'Reading assessment'-in each standard, and in each division, 20 children or 20 % (whichever is much) are assessed. All the students of the class are assessed for Writing and Numeric Skills. There are specially prepared booklets for reading, writing and math. Officers and accompanying team members divide themselves in visiting classes in the school.
For reading-officers themselves assess the child's reading and grade them on their competency for reading. The written and math evaluation is checked by teachers in front of the officers, which the offices randomly check as well.
Apart from assessing the competencies in each subject, officers assessed parameters of infra structure, extracurricular activities like community participation, use of works books, computers and the like.
A report card for schools
Each school's final grade is based on the self evaluation done by the school and the evaluation done by the officer. This process is strict in its implementation and hence encourages each school to follow honest self evaluation procedures. Schools where only self evaluation was done, are graded on the marks obtained for performance in the self evaluation.
The evaluation gives 70% weightage for education /subject wise marks and 30% for school infrastructure and other parameters. Report cards are prepared for 33,450 schools and 1,72,000 teachers. A grade summary is available for districts, talukas, schools and teachers. Block certificates for BRCCs and Cluster certificate for grading CRCCs are also given based on the performance of the schools.
Gunotsav-the quality enhancement initiative owes its smooth execution to the effective website portal set up by INDEXTb-timely data collection and the facility of web based data entry is provided by INDEXTb, the Industrial Interface Organization in Gujarat.
The Guntosav portal is a store house of data for primary education, and can be used for planning annual activities at state, district and block levels. The web portal also strives to make data collection robust at all levels.
The possibility of using OMR testing for children from Std III to VIII will be explored for Gunotsav in the coming years, for giving accurate data and for making the process even more credible.
Following graphs shows the results of last three Gunotsav
Dissemination of Gunotsav Data
The IT centre prepares CDs with district data for each of the 26 districts. The data has grading starting from teachers, schools, learning levels of children, CRCC and the cluster, BRCC and the block and a district report at a glance. Additionally, printed certificates for each of the above will be distributed by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan -SSA
Each district gets data in the following order in digital format and in print copies
1) Grade summary for schools of all blocks in District Kutch - 1699 schools -summary sheet and details of each school-cluster code, cluster name
( for eg. Lakhtar, Nara etc ) village code, village name, school code, name of school, education average , besides education/other parameters, grading on education, marks on other parameters-total grade marks.
This report card gives at a glance details of how many schools in the blocks of Kutch, are graded in the ranking from A to F
2) Block evaluation sheet ( for all ten blocks of the district)-with the name of the BRCC , details of all schools and the grade of the block
3) Cluster evaluation sheet with the name of the CRCC, no of schools in the cluster-and grade for the cluster
4) School sheet-with cluster name, name of the village, teachers and grade for the school
5) Teacher report card-with the teacher code, name of school, learning levels of children and the grade gained by the teacher.