Rejuvenating Schools and Making Quality Education Accessible to All

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Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath Ji has taken the pledge to improve the basic education in the state. We have launched the ‘Kayakalp Yojna’ in the state so that parents, even from financially sound backgrounds, prefer government schools for their children. Our mission is to eliminate the distinction between rich and poor and make sure every child, irrespective of the stratum of society he/she belongs from, get equal education opportunities, says Dr Satish Chandra Dwivedi, Minister of State for Basic Education (Independent Charge), Government of Uttar Pradesh, in conversation with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).

What are your key priorities as the Basic Education Minister? How do you plan to bring innovations and rectify the existing education system?

The motto of the Yogi Government is to better the basic education in the state, which is the foundation of the education system of any country. In the last few decades, government schools in UP, owing to lack of due importance, have become the education centres for poor, farmer and weaker section of the society who cannot afford to get their child enrolled in private schools.

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Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath Ji has taken the pledge to improve the basic education in the state. With this mission, we have launched the ‘Kayakalp Yojna’ in the state so that parents, even from financially sound backgrounds, prefer government schools for their children.

The scheme has been instrumental in transforming the face of schools, in terms of infrastructure, better facilities and providing quality education.

What measures have been undertaken by the government to change the mindset of people and inspire them to enroll their wards in government schools?

Hon’ble Chief Minister has laid emphasis on the ‘School Chalo Abhiyan’. Our government came into power in March 2017 and we started the work in this direction from the month of June itself. The operations witnessed further spur after the academic session began in April 2018.

In the last two-and-a-half-year tenure of our government, the basic schools have witnessed more than 50 lakh new enrollments. Students who were studying in non-recognised schools and private schools due to the miserable condition of basic schools have now taken admission in government-run schools.

In the last one year, the student enrollment has increased by 28,00,000 and the number is rising continuously. Now, people are seeking recommendations to get their wards admitted in the basic schools.

Notably, we have started 15,000 English medium basic schools in the state for the people who are hesitant in pursuing Hindi medium of education. They are being built as model schools with the government giving extra focus on infrastructure.

Till now, we have given smart classes to 2,000 such schools and we aim to provide smart classes to all 15,000 schools. So, not only infrastructure, but we are trying to transform the entire teaching-learning pattern as per the modern- day requirements. We are making the entire process digital and online to transform our entire education structure that consists of 1, 69,200 schools, 1, 80, 00,000 students and 5, 75,000 teachers. All the aspects of education, such as teaching-learning experience, extra-curricular activities of students, issues related to leaves and pay structure of teachers, GPF and pension, and service book, all concerns are handled digitally.

Uttar Pradesh has been awarded ‘Diksha Pioneer Award’ by the Government of India for being the first state to successfully execute the implementation of Diksha Portal.

We are providing the online teaching modules to teachers via ‘Nishtha App’ to facilitate them with best techniques & methods of imparting specific lessons.

Besides, we are going to roll out ‘Prerna App’ which will not only help us in monitoring the attendance of teachers and students but also the entire school situation of Uttar Pradesh – be it infrastructure, teaching or MDM; while sitting in our Lucknow office.

You mentioned about online-learning, smart classes and digitalisation being implemented in the schools of Uttar Pradesh. It means, apart from improving basic education, you are also focusing on incorporating technology in education?

Yes, absolutely. It is accepted as a universal fact that by utilising technology, we can deliver better outputs even with minimum resources. With the advent of innovations and technology, the education pattern around the world has been changed drastically.

Earlier, students use to face challenges while filling OMR sheets when appearing for engineering, medical or public service examination, which affected their overall results. Recently, our department conducted a Learning Outcome Test for the students of Class 5 to Class 8 to understand their level of learning and accordingly plan further. Along with my delegation, I visited a school for the supervision and it was a delightful sight to witness Class 5 students filling OMR sheets. Such training (OMR sheets) from an early age will help them while appearing for competitive exams after graduation.

We have undertaken several such initiatives and are doing ample use of technology because it was due to the faulty monitoring mechanism that the education system in the state went berserk. In a wide state like Uttar Pradesh, it is impossible to manually monitor hundreds of schools existing in every block. However, now with the online monitoring mechanism, it is easy to supervise every school and identify the flaws and rectify them.

How do you ensure that children from the weaker section of the society residing near the private schools also get admission in the same schools?

Out government has given due attention to ensure that schools run by private players keep the door open for the children from weaker section of the society. We have strictly implemented the RTE Act in the state and most of the schools are adhering to the rules & regulations. From this year, we are cross-checking whether schools have given admission to delegated number of students from the weaker section and if not then why. We are making sure that from the next academic session, the RTE Act is strictly followed by all the schools in the state.

Apart from this, we are introducing many new activities to ensure the overall personality development of students over and above the academics. From January 03 to 07, 2020, we are going to observe a week celebrating “Freedom of Expression” – where students will be encouraged to take up their choice of activities be it speech, debate, poetry, art, etc. On the occasion of Swami Vivekanand Jayanti on January 12, we are organising a state-level programme in KD Singh Babu Stadium, Lucknow, involving our teachers, students and edu-leaders.

Besides, we are going to highlight the best education practices being followed in the state and recognise individuals who have helped the cause of education (financially), by covering them in a monthly magazine. On the Human Resource portal, we have uploaded all the information about the department, our teachers, officials, and students. We have also introduced a mandatory 15 minute Yoga session after the morning assembly prayer in the schools.

Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji introduced the national programme “Khelo India” to boost the sports culture and improve India’s medal tally in Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Olympics. On similar lines, our Chief Minister also desires that sportsman from a wide-spread state like Uttar Pradesh must rise & shine on international platforms. Under this, we have made mandatory last period in schools dedicated to sports and physical activities.

We are also making efforts to build small libraries in every school. Besides, following the guidelines issued by the Government of India, we have started kitchen gardens in the schools. Overall, we are dedicated to making our schools modern and hi-tech to match the global standards. The mission of Yogi Government is to eliminate the distinction between rich and poor and make sure all the children, irrespective of the stratum of society (economic, social etc) they belong from, get the equal opportunities for education.

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