Quality education is one of the key factors for developing a highly knowledge-based society. And a knowledge-based society contributes to the economic development of a country. But to achieve quality education, strengthening State School System is a ‘must do’ matter. When we talk about strengthening the ‘State School System’, generally, we mean the following holistic approach. I believe one should initiate and complete the following activities under this ‘holistic approach’ to strengthen the State School System:
- Developing / transforming schools into RTE compliant schools.
- Augmenting the available infrastructural facilities by leveraging on the government network to ensure their support and value it against the guidelines laid down by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009. Development of infrastructural services provided at these schools would support in enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in the school.
- Ensuring the basic needs of every school including health, hygiene, cleanliness, digital citizenship, safety and security of students and teachers.
- Facilitating joyful and violence free learning environment i.e. orientation on gender, promote sports, sessions on Health & Hygiene
- Ensuring proper WASH facilities at schools i.e. Safe water, Safe drinking water, Hand washing points, Toilet reconstruction, Cleanliness.
- Ensuring infrastructure in schools that is child friendly and safe i.e. forming and strengthening of Child Forums & School Management Committees
- Facilitating educational content promotion, showcasing, sharing, exchange for wider benefit of the education community from across government & civil society
- Engaging with government department for monitoring of school performance
- Making school governance and management child centred i.e. child centred activity based learning, IT based education, Digital Libraries, Science laboratory, Staff support.
- Enhancing the learning levels of children in schools i.e. providing First Aid Kits; differently-abled friendly classroom arrangements
- Implementing e-Learning mechanism at the grassroots level of education system. Aligning with Digital India, this programme is an initiative taken to spread awareness in the society about Internet, Wi-Fi, Hot-Spot and e-Learning by equipping schools with digital facilities.
- Taking advocacy initiatives for safety, security and sustainability of the product and services provided under any project; and also to strengthening SMCs.
I believe, if all initiatives and can be taken and fulfilled, schools will have a platform for their multidimensional development. This will also provide better working system for schools, so that they can give greater output than their estimated strength in coming future. Thus, strengthening the State School System can contribute to the goal of achieving quality education for all.
As generally known, more than 90 per cent of schools are not yet compliant with the complete set of RTE infrastructure indicators. They lack safe drinking water facilities and also they do not have separate functional toilets for girls and boys etc. They are also not able to cope up with the present development process. Strengthening ‘State School System’ will have huge impacts on School Education System in India. A timely and innovative approach to different problems at various levels could potentially help to regain the expected roles of government educational institutions at the primary and secondary levels. As various challenges around physical and digital infrastructure, level of skills of teachers, lack of proper fund allocation etc remain barriers to change the present education environment in schools, strengthening ‘State School System’ will help to deal these challenges. Enhancing teachers’ skills further, reviving SMCs, using new and emerging technologies, using new and innovative ideas and identifying new partnerships for further developmental activities are some key approaches to transform government schools at primary and secondary levels in India. As there is also a positive intention from the Central and State Governments to adopt digital tools and technologies to enhance various services, education departments also should be ready to respond to the urgent and crucial needs of the students studying in government primary and secondary schools. Also, under this holistic approach of strengthening ‘State School System’, government schools can focus on digital opportunities to overcome various challenges responsible for social exclusion and inequity among students. Teachers and authorities also need to enhance their skills to communicate their problems and as well as their achievements more effectively within the internal and external stakeholder communities. It is also important that authorities should focus on technology adoption, regular teachers training, more government spending, inclusive education system, quality education and PPP model.
Thus, this holistic approach to strengthen the ‘State School System’ will definitely contribute achieving quality education for all.