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The success of the innovative PM SHRI school project will depend on the quality of educators NewsPipa

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Union Cabinet approval PM Shree School Scheme It comes at a time when the schooling system is in shambles. Teachers seem to be caught in a time warp after the pandemic and children’s anxiety spikes as they switch to online classes during a public health emergency and then return to regular schools. Confused school management and parents are finding it difficult to bridge the learning gap. Where do we stay from here? Perhaps towards a pedagogy based on activities, toys, art and projects and inclusive learning methods that incorporate sports and give vocational education its due.

The four National Curriculum Frameworks emphasize inquiry, creativity, discovery, problem solving, decision making and enjoyable learning. How is NEP 2020 and the new NCF that may come into effect soon different from previous initiatives? Basically they fit the above elements of classroom teaching. 14,500 PM SHRI Schools can become agencies for change envisioned by new policies But it will require commitment, hard work and progressive thinking. These schools need to find ways to reverse learning losses and ensure life outcomes that positively impact the nation’s economy — especially in the way the nation uses its demographic dividend. We need to find new ways to understand not just what children learn but how they learn. In India, 250 million children are out of the classroom and millions are in school, but unable to learn.

Hopefully, PM SHRI schools will attract major investments from the Center as well as the state governments, apart from a separate budgetary allocation for upgrading their facilities. These schools promise to incorporate all aspects of NEP Each region will have PM SHRI schools that will handhold and mentor other schools around them. A wide range of learning experiences, good physical infrastructure and appropriate resources will be available to students. With the introduction of vocational education, different pedagogies and assessment methods will be used. Students graduating from these institutions will be linked with skill mentors and local industries to provide employment opportunities. Schools will be energy-efficient with natural farming patches, they will be equipped with rainwater harvesting systems and enable the study of traditional eco-friendly practices. The community and alumni will be involved in activities such as career guidance and mentoring. Parents will also be trained to become home counselors. The school will become a community center after regular hours and will be integrated with existing schemes including PM Poshan, Sambarah Shiksha and Ayushman Bharat.
If these “ideal” schools achieve even a quarter of their goals, they will bring about a significant change in the country’s educational landscape. However, improving the quality of education is not only extremely challenging but also an expensive proposition, especially in countries with large socio-economic gaps. Years of underinvestment in high-quality teachers, training and resources have led to a cycle of weak learning. Breaking them will not be easy.

As a document, NEP 2020 is inspiring. But if teachers are not motivated to work hard, it will remain on paper. Currently, low status, low pay and inadequate working conditions prevent talented people from entering the profession. However good these “emerging schools” may be, they will not become meaningful centers of learning, if teachers are not trained in the innovative methods underlined in the NEP. We still don’t have enough institutions with curricula that train teachers for the schools of the future.

Poor teaching is a product of systemic deficiencies that make the teaching profession attractive to large numbers of talented people. For PM SHRI schools to succeed, a teacher training program must be in place to train teachers in the pedagogical practices recommended by the NEP. There is a major leadership crisis in the case of principals.

Perhaps, the government’s next initiative should be a “PM TRI” scheme — Teachers for Rising India.

The author is Chairperson and Executive Director of Education, Innovation and Training DLF School and Scholarship Programme

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