As the Samagra Shiksha Scheme has been aligned with the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the government of India will be focusing on enhancing the qualitative outcomes as envisaged in the NEP 2020.
The main motive will be to increase the effectiveness of the implementation of the scheme and for this purpose the government of India has set certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each intervention to assess the intervention which can be made to achieve the set targets.
However, all eyes will be on the J&K government whether it will be able to achieve the targets as envisaged in the NEP-2020.
One of the indicators in the new approaches of NEP is strengthening of Block resource persons and Cluster resources persons.
Being one of the performance indicators, the Government of India considers the Block Resource Centres (BRC) and Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) as the most critical units for training and on-site support to schools and teachers.
But in J&K, these resource persons are being relieved from the schools and are mostly adjusted in offices for jobs. In order to have a good and promising human resource in the department, the government had fixed tenure of two years for these resource persons in the offices. But rarely any ZEO or CEO has followed the norm with the result that these so-called resource persons who are meant for on spot training of teachers and providing academic support end up doing clerical jobs in offices. Due to this, the J&K school education department cuts a sorry figure after its failure to improve the learning outcomes of the students.
Over the years, the national surveys have depicted a grim picture of the learning outcomes of the students in government schools. The outcomes have shown no improvement as it is believed that most of the teachers are not well trained and acquainted with new pedagogies and technologies. For this, the resource persons are responsible to provide the teaching support to the teachers in schools to overcome the learning gaps of the students.
In context with the new approaches of the NEP-2020, the government of India has suggested that periodic inspection and supervision of schools by resource groups to observe the infrastructure and facilities and the administrative aspects is critical.
In addition to it, a proper system of academic and curricular support has to be developed to serve the purpose of continuous professional upgradation of teachers.
As per the policy, each Block and Cluster Resource Coordinator is supposed to visit the schools and provide onsite academic support and send reports on a periodic basis.
It is always expected that the periodic visits by BRCs and CRCs will be monitored at UT level through technological intervention, preferably through a mobile app. But in case of J&K, the CRCs and BRCs in majority of the zones across J&K are given patronage to enjoy their prolonged stint in the offices as clerics with no supervision of schools.
Only a few resource persons work with dedication and follow the norms as set by the GoI but their contribution goes unnoticed as the majority has made it a messy state of affairs.
Over the years, the J&K government has issued repeated orders and circular instructions to streamline the job and duties of these resource persons besides adhering to their tenure in offices. But all these orders and circulars remained confined to only papers with no implementation in the ground. The J&K government has underestimated the importance of the role of these resource persons but has allowed these teachers to handle the non teaching jobs for years.
While the Government of India has started an exhaustive exercise for implementation of the NEP-2020, the J&K government should revamp the functioning of these resource persons in order to achieve the targets envisaged under NEP-2020.
Besides strengthening of BRCs and CRCs, the other key indicator is to compile State Curriculum Framework (SCF) for which the department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL) GoI and NCERT has decided that the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) should be framed by incorporating and integrating the local and indigenous flavour from across the country through wider consultations.
For this the department should filter the people deputed in SCERT and also put a check on the people deputed to the academic division of JK Board. Deputation to these institutions should not be considered as a privilege but the department should check the credentials of all the teaching faculties who are deputed in these institutions. Such initiatives will bring reforms in the academic sector of the education department.
Because for the purpose of developing the SCFs, the government has to nominate SCERT (wherever it is available) as the nodal agency for developing the SCFs in collaboration with the concerned State or UT agencies including such as school Examination Boards, SIEMATs and DIETs.
Unfortunately, the deputation of teachers and lecturers in the majority of DIETs is made on the basis of personal influence of the teaching faculties in the power echelons without checking their records. DIETs being the research institutes are supposed to have promising staff but in J&K it is the other way around.
So keeping in view all the points, the school education department should first revamp the DIETs and SCERT besides streamline the duties of Resource persons at zone and cluster level. These initiatives will set a good beginning for compiling the framework and proper implementation of the NEP-2020. Restructuring at ground level will pave the way for fruitful results of implementation of NEP-2020.