Punjab schools score well

But still a long way to go for reaching optimal level

Punjab schools score well

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The efforts made by the Punjab Education Department to improve the standard of government schools in the past few years are producing results as the state has topped the Performance Grading Index (PGI) for 2019-20, released by the Centre. The huge leap this time from the 13th rank in the last report is a marker of the progress the state has made in one year in aspects such as learning outcomes and quality, access, infrastructure and facilities, equity and governance that are tracked by the index. With the majority of the states and UTs showing considerable gains in the quality of schools and education imparted, this competitive exercise — introduced three years ago — is on the desired path of goading the governments to take effective steps towards achieving the goals envisaged under the Right to Education.

The Punjab Government has been assessing the performance of schools at the state level for infrastructure, co-curricular activities, contribution of school managements and attendance, incentivising those found the best with monetary rewards. The annual evaluation has paid off with incremental gains in results, enrolments, infrastructural development and availability of teachers. However, while the progress made is commendable, there is still a long way to go for the transformational changes required to attain the optimal and desired outcomes.

Sustained multi-pronged interventions are needed to prioritise and fill the gaps identified by such gradings. The education system is beset by woes at every level. If it’s the question of access and availability of sufficient staff in remote and border areas, political pull leading to overstaffing in big cities tilts the balance and raises a big question mark on the much-touted transparent transfer policy. The inability of most students to reach the standard of academic efficiency expected of them is symptomatic of a system that breeds disgruntlement among contractual teachers — who comprise a large chunk — as they are underpaid and exploited. The lockdown period has accelerated the need for ramping up infrastructure to create digital classrooms. The next grading exercise, covering this period of online tutoring, would assess the progress made in this regard.

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