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. Student of primary school at least have basic knowledge of reading, writing and simple mathematics equations which may be helpful in performing their daily activities.
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, the government of Gujarat launched a programme called Gunotsav, or 'Celebrating Quality'. Therefore Gunotsav is defined as an accountability framework for quality of primary education which includes learning outcomes of children as well as co-scholastic activities, use of resources and community participation.
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.
Main objective is to ensure quality education for students in Government schools:
This statewide exercise has been an annual feature for four years now and will continue.
Gunotsav is carried out state wide in two phases,
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 I & II 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 analyzed 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.
Monitoring by External Parties - Unicef, Pratham & Educational Initiatives
In the First phase self evaluation is done for 34177 primary schools which include all Government primary schools, Ashram schools and Granted schools. Before the first phase, schedules were shared at district, block, cluster and school level, for the self evaluation to be done in every school. During the earlier three Gunotsavs, each school was given a school self evaluation booklet. It has instructions 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 each child for their respective classes and standards. Forms were filled and the data were submitted to the CRCC. Data gathered by all schools were uploaded on the Gunotsav web portal, within 15 days at the cluster level.
In April 2013 Gunotsav, each school was given a school Self evaluation booklet with instructions for conducting the academic test for children and for the assessment of co-scholastic activities, use of resources and community mobilization. Assessment was carried out in the presence of School management committee (SMC). The School assessment format is designed for 55 indicators for 11 categories can be assessed on OMR based rating scale. Over 52 lakh children of standard II to VIII have been given unique DISE ID number as part of new system of Child Tracking for Learning Outcomes. For the purpose, children of Standard II to V were assessed for their performance in basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy; whereas children of standard VI to VIII took the OMR based test for all scholastic subjects including Gujarati, Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Science and Technology. For standard 2 to 5 individual child wise results were prepared utilizing OMR sheets and uploaded centrally. For standard 6 to 8 child wise OMR based answer sheet each with unique DISE ID number were collected and the database was created during scanning by applying OMR / ICR / OCR technology and by applying various validations. Utilizing this database, iNDEXTb generated various reports and graphs for remedial measures. Similarly, reports / graphs for co-scholastic activities, use of resources and community mobilization were generated. This child wise database was placed online for utilization by schools.
Evaluation for the second phase follows 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 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/blocks/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 and meeting with parents) 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 aware of their role in the school activities.
The 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 co-scholastic activities, use of resources and community participation.
There has been progressive changes in Gunotsav implementation every year. The following table shows the year wise detail of Gunotsav.
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 60% weightage for education /subject wise marks and 40% for school co-scholastic activities, use of resources and community participation etc. Report cards are prepared for 34177 schools. A grade summary is available for districts, talukas, schools and teachers.
FOLLOWING GRAPHS SHOWS THE RESULTS OF LAST THREE GUNOTSAV
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
The Guntosav portal developed by Education department & iNDEXTb 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.
Gunotsav now uses OMR testing for children from standard II to VIII and OMR based assessment tools for school evaluation parameters also. It has made the process of data collection and data analysis even more credible and further enable complex analysis. It has enabled the state to initiate Child Tracking System for Learning Outcomes on a longitudinal basis for each individual child which will strengthen accountability within the system.
This Program has been recognized as one of the best practices in the 12th Five Year Plan document published by Planning Commission, Government of India.