CRCs asked to improve academic standards in government schools

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has pressed for strengthening of Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) to provide on-site support to the school teachers.

The MHRD has directed the authorities in school education department to ensure the CRCs provide regular support to the schools and the teachers.

The issue about strengthening of CRCs was discussed in the last project approval board (PAB) meeting convened by Secretary Education and Literacy in MHRD on June 12.

During the meeting the representatives of J&K School Education Department were censured for “poor performance” of students in the last National Achieve Survey (NAS) conducted by the NCERT.

As per the minutes of the meeting, the MHRD has stated that the CRCs are the “most critical” units for training and on-site support to the schools and the teachers.

“The CRCs need to undertake regular visits and organise monthly meetings to discuss academic issues and design strategies for better school performance,” read the minutes.

Over the years, the national surveys have presented a grim picture of education sector in terms of “learning outcomes” of students particularly in the primary and the middle classes.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 report revealed that only 22.3 percent children of class 3rd can read the text from 2nd primary text books and only 36 percent students are able to do subtraction. Similarly, only 41.9 percent students are able to read text from 2nd primary text books and only 25 percent can do division. Only 32 percent students from class 8th can do division.

The CRCs have been asked to take up periodic inspection and supervision of schools to observe the infrastructure and facilities and the administrative aspects.

“In addition, a proper system of academic and curricular support should be developed to serve the purpose of continuous professional up gradation of teachers,” read the minutes.

The MHRD has passed on directions to the Education Department that each cluster resource coordinator should visit the schools and provide onsite academic support at least once in two months. “The reports should be sent on a common platform to be shared by MHRD,” read the minutes.

The appointment of CRCs was introduced as a component under erstwhile SSA scheme wherein some trained teachers were appointed as CRCs and entrusted to visit schools to provide academic assistance to the school teachers.

However in J&K, most of the CRCs after their deputation from schools undertake non-teaching assignment in the offices of zonal education officers (ZEOs) and chief education officers (CEO).

“They don’t play their actual role as what they are supposed to do as CRCs. They never visit schools to provide academic assistance,” an official said.

In past, the department had instructed all the CRCs and zonal resource persons (ZRPs) to visit schools on weekly basis and maintain their ‘school tour dairy’ to be submitted to the administrative department fortnightly. But the orders were not implemented till date.

Meanwhile, the MHRD has also pressed for school management committee (SMC) trainings to be conducted by CRCs.

“Four quarterly meetings of SMC should be held in a year on dates to be notified by the state government for all the schools,” read the minutes of the meeting.