Chhattisgarh has been striving to attain the goals of universalisation of elementary education for long and is geared to achieve the same through some flagship programmes like the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Despite many difficult situations and circumstances, the state has continued on its path towards full enrolment in basic education. Currently, the state is trying to achieve the goals of universalisation of secondary education through Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
Between the years 2003-04 and 2015-16, the number of primary schools increased from 31,907 to 33,997, Upper Primary schools from 7,098 to 16,291, while the number of High Schools increased from 1,176 to 2,605 and Higher Secondary schools from 1,386 to 3,726. This means that during the past 12 years, a total of 2,090 primary schools, 9,193 Upper Primary schools, 1,429 High Schools and 2,340 Higher Secondary schools were opened.
Improving access and enrolment
The increase in the number of schools has been beneficial in two ways — it has not only resulted in the increase in enrolment, but at the same time, reduced the burden of traveling to distant places or leaving home to get education, as the government has initiated the process of providing access to schooling near homes as per RTE norms.
Enrolment in Upper Primary schools increased from 10,91,451 to 1,66,41,178. Enrolment in High Schools rose from 3,61,619 to 9,88,460 and in Higher Secondary Schools, enrolment increased from 2,34,624 to 5,50,397.
During the past 12 years, the total number of students rose from 46,40,499 to 59,96,040 right from the primary to secondary level — that is, the total increase in students during the past 12 years has been 13,55,541.
Strategies to increase access
There have been several strategies that the state government has followed to increase access, that includes:
- Providing schooling facilities within one km for primary students, within 3 km for Upper Primary, within 5 km for High schools and within 7 km for Higher Secondary school students through the school mapping exercise.
- Upgradation of existing primary schools into Upper Primary in the ratio of 2:1.
- Opening residential hostels in tribal dominated areas.
- Opening Porta Cabins in Left-wing affected areas.
- Separate exclusive girls’ schools in case of opening new schools in the same locality.
- Residential girls’ hostel in educationally backward blocks in the name of Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalayas.
- Functioning of model schools in PPP mode.
Strategies to increase enrolment
There have been several strategies that the state government has followed to increase enrolment, that includes:
- Conducting mass enrolment drives every year before the commencement of the new session.
- Responsibility of enrolment with teachers as well as the school management committees.
- Local facilitators to bring children in residential hostels from remote LWE areas.
- Exclusive girls’ schools in populated areas to increase the participation of girls in education.
- Providing cycles to girls studying in class IX and coming from distant places.
- Free uniforms, textbooks, MDM and other incentives to retain children.
- Ensuring quality education in schools to attract and retain children.
- Supply of teachers in position and as per pupil to teacher ratio and rationalisation of schools and teachers.
- Special provisions to Divyang children to continue their education.
- Opening residential hostels in safer roadside areas.
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam ShikshaGunvatta Abhiyan
The Chhattisgarh government had initiated a new programme in 2015 to improve the quality of education in elementary schools. Under this programme, focus schools are selected through a rigorous social audit of schools with the help of the community. The responsibility of improving quality of these focus schools is given to public representatives and senior officials.
They visit these schools twice in a session and improvements are measured through analysing the first and last visit reports.
In the first year, the focus was to create a learning environment in schools and the schools were evaluated through a 100-point questionnaire probing all those factors responsible for creating a learning environment in schools and enabling conditions for quality education.
The second year is focused on assessing class as a unit. Based on 10 competencies, classrooms are assessed and those classes in which 75% of students are able to answer 70% of questions are identified as successful classes. In the next year, child-wise tracking of students’ achievements is done. The final year of this four-year programme assesses schools as a whole with respect to quality.
Social audit of schools
The Education department organises social audit in a systematic way.
Special training and tools in the form of rubrics are developed and analysis of social audit data and action points are identified to work on throughout the year. The community observes students’ competencies in public and explores the strengths and need areas in schools. It also contributes in the development of schools.