Shimla: To improve education standards in around 15,000 elementary schools, Himachal Pradesh government has introduced Samarth programme as part of a state-wide transformation programme that aims to institutionalize a review and monitoring mechanism with the objective of identifying problems and challenges and finding solutions to them.
So far, the state government has been able to review over 5,000 schools, visited over 11,000 classrooms and covered 2.91 lakh students. In each school visit, a reviewing officer assesses the school on well-defined parameters in five categories: basic school infrastructure, classroom observations, school management, assessment results and funds utilisation, said a senior official from education department here on Sunday. He said that review monitoring mechanism provided a platform for sharing best practices in education with all stakeholders in the government, ranging from teachers and block officers to the principal secretary of education.
Unlike the earlier system, the optical mark reading (OMR) forms now allows immediate digitisation. As a result, a school visit in the first month is followed up with meetings based on digitised information at the state and district levels. Problem areas as well as well-performing schools are identified and discussions are oriented not towards fault-finding, but towards finding solutions and implementing them, he added.
This year, the state government has also embarked on an ambitious mission for on-time distribution of free textbooks among all students across the state, so as to completely eliminate loss of teaching time due to textbooks delay. Over 55 lakh books have been distributed among six lakh eligible students across 15,000 schools before the commencement of the academic sessions in February and April. Officials said that despite extreme weather conditions, difficult terrain and two separate academic cycles, Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in the country to achieve this feat. He said earlier, teachers often had to travel across the district to book depots to collect the books for schools.
He said that this year block officials were asked to collect books from depots and distribute these till the cluster level, thus saving time, effort and money. Instituting online demand collection and verification by blocks, a digital mechanism was instituted for easy collection, analysis and dissemination of demand for textbooks, he added.