In a first-of-its-kind meeting with NITI Aayog on social sector schemes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the social sector projects with the organisation. Discussing a wide range of education issues, the PM is learnt to have raised concerns over the quality of education and teaching at the school level. He has suggested a timely review of teaching-learning outcome programs and has also insisted on including skill development courses within school curriculum.
The human resource development ministry has assured the PM that from the academic year 2017-18, 800 identified skills from National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) will be adopted in school curriculum. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship(MSDE) will provide the services of contracted vocational trainers for government schools for this.
The PM was concerned about high drop-out rates at schools. He suggested that if a student picks up a skill of his interest at the school level, he/she will be able to find a market for himself/herself.
In a presentation made by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, the commission has also suggested that instead of increasing the number of primary schools, focus should remain on improving the learning outcomes of students. “There are some schools which do not even have 50 students. Other schools are running with a single teacher. 3,000 blocks have been identified as educationally backward, which need to be re-evaluated. Intensive and all-inclusive planning is needed for re-evaluating these schools. It was decided to review the existing schools,” said a ministry source.
In the meeting that lasted for about two-and-a-half hours, Modi is also learnt to have suggested that the ministry improve the quality of teachers at schools. Among the various suggestions made by the PM, was the timely filling of the 9.5 lakh teaching posts that are lying vacant in schools. On the lines of the five-year integrated law program, Modi is also learnt to have suggested introducing a four-year integrated course for teachers training. He also suggested the setting up of a teacher training university. HRD ministry and Niti Aayog have been advised to conduct a feasibility study for setting up All India Education Services on the lines of Indian Administrative Service. The ministry is to submit its report on these issues by the end of this year.
Raising concerns over the high drop-out rates at school levels, the ministry has also been directed to compile the best education practices followed by various states to retain students in school. “The best practices followed by states including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Odisha were pointed out. We are evaluating these practices to see if they can be implemented at an all-India level,” said a ministry official.
The PM also expressed his dissatisfaction over government school teachers being utilized for non teaching activities – such as being roped in for election duty or on census related work. The ministry is now formulating a report to suggest the adverse effects on teachers who render their services for non-teaching activities. It will be submitting its report by the end of September.
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