By: Er. Prabhat Kishore
The Government of India has launched a centrally sponsored scheme PM SHRI (PM Schools for Rising India) in the education sector. This initiative is intended to prepare selected existing school of the country as PM SHRI schools, which will help showcase the implementation of all aspects of NEP 2020 and emerge as exemplary schools over a period of time.
These schools will be learning spaces in which every student fills welcomed and care for, where a safe and stimulating learning environment exists, a wide range of learning experiences are offered, good physical infrastructure and appropriate resources conductive to learning are available to all students. It will nurture the students in such a way that they become engaged, productive and contributing citizens towards building an equitable, inclusive and plural society.
Under this scheme, a total of 14597 PM SHRI schools across the country will be qualitatively strengthened by providing them with dedicated, targeted and all-inclusive interventions to ensure holistic transformation and all-inclusive interventions to ensure holistic transformation at all levels, including access, quality, equity and inclusion. The aim of such schools would be to produce well-round individuals equipped with skills. More than 20 lakh students are expected to be the beneficiaries of the scheme.
Pedagogy in these schools will be more experimental, integrated, play-based in foundational years, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible and enjoyable. Focus will be on the learning outcomes of every student in every grade i.e. assessment of quantitative, verbal and logical reasoning skills. Assessment at all levels will be based on conceptual understanding and application of knowledge to real-life solutions and will be competency-based. Skill-based Aptitude test will be introduced for Vocational Education.
Assessment of the resource effectiveness in terms of availability, adequacy, appropriateness, and utilisation for each of the domains will be done and the gaps will be filled in a planned manner. Linkage with local industry will be incorporated for enhancing employability. To develop these schools as GREEN School, eco-friendly aspects like solar panels & LED lightings, nutrition gardens with natural farming, waste management, water conservation etc. will be incorporated. Efforts will be made to involve the community as well as alumni in the volunteer efforts by organising help sessions, career guidance and mentoring.
By carefully tracking the students and their learning levels, universal participation will be ensured. Regular visits to these schools by other schools in the district will be organised to motivate them to adopt the interventions and become exemplary schools themselves.
Adequate infrastructure, including toilets, clean drinking water, attractive spaces, electricity, computing devices with internet, library, sports material and recreational resources will be ensured so that teachers and students of all genders as well as disabilities receive a safe, inclusive and effective learning environment to teach and learn. The use of plastic will be restricted in PM SHRI schools. Children will be encouraged to wear uniforms made from locally sourced and sustainable materials.
The PM SHRI schools will have convergence with various existing schemes such as Samagra Shiksha for teacher’s salary, quality inputs & digital resources etc., PM POSHAN for Mid-Day meal, ICDS for ECCE linkages, Jal Jeevan Mission for drinking water, National Child Labour Project (NCLP) for mainstreaming of child labour withdrawn & rehabilitated, Assistance to Disabled Persons (ADIP) for provision of Aids & Appliances, School Health Programme (SHP), Department of Rural Development for provision of playground, boundary wall, toilets etc., Department of Panchayati Raj for recycling of waste, Department of Telecom for extension of Bharat Net services to the schools, MSDE for skill initiatives and vocational education, Department of Sports & Youth Affairs for greater participation in Khelo India, Geo-tagging of schools for selection and monitoring of PM SHRI schools will be done with the support of Bhaskaracharya National Institute of Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG-N).
The selected schools should have certain minimum benchmarks like own pucca building in good condition, barrier free access with safety norms, equipped with fire safety measures, separate toilets as well as hand washing facility for boys & girls, potable drinking water facility, power supply, library & sports equipment, Photo ID Cards to all teachers. Also, enrolment at Elementary and Secondary/ Senior Secondary level should be at least more than the state average enrolment for the category.
The Elementary as well as the Secondary/Senior Secondary schools managed by the Centre/State/ UT/Urban Local Bodies/KVS/NVS will be considered for selection under the scheme. PM SHRI schools will be selected through Challenge Mode, in which Schools will have to self-apply on the online Challenge Portal, which will be opened four times a year, once every quarter, for the first two years of implementation of the scheme. A maximum of two schools (one Elementary and one Secondary/Senior Secondary) will be selected per block/urban local bodies. States can create clusters around PM SHRI schools to enable the benefit to reach to more schools in the cluster. By setting high standards, these schools will become model for all other schools to follow.
PM SHRI schools is a visionary and ambitious scheme in the education sector and will be vibrant schools focusing on the all round development of the students. They will provide leadership in their respective regions in providing high quality education in an equitable, inclusive and joyful environment that takes care of the diverse background multilingual needs and different academic abilities of children and makes them active participants in their own learning process. (The author is a technocrat & academician)