Shillong, June 10: Union Ministry of Education’s Performance Grading Index (PGI) 2019-20 report for States and Union Territories, released recently, has flagged some major flaws in the education system across the country, at the same time it has also noted the steady improvement in overall education scenario.
Overall, Meghalaya scored 649 out of the total maximum score of 1000, placing it at the bottom second with only Ladakh below it with a score of 545. This is being seen as a major embarrassment for the state which was once considered the hub of education for the entire North Eastern region, but now sits at the bottom among the other 7 states.
Many may write off the state as poor in the education sector given the score but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that the score does not reflect overall quality and is not absolute. For Meghalaya, is doing quite better in comparison to some major states.
For example, the State sits above Delhi and Puducherry in learning outcome which both have a score of 124 while the state has scored 126.
Similarly, in governance processes, the state has scored 197 while Chhattisgarh scored 169, Nagaland – 174 and Ladakh – 76.
The report notes that Meghalaya has improved its PGI score by 5% to 10%. But the challenge here is that brief reports do not show scores of previous years or give space to projects under development, thus these figures are temporary which are bound to change in the near future.
One of the glaring reasons for Meghalaya’s low score is reflected in areas that the report has given maximum points to like infrastructure (150), equity (230), and governance processes (360). To understand why Meghalaya scored low scores in these categories is to understand these categories first.
Governance processes – concerns with critical structural reforms in areas ranging from monitoring the attendance of teachers to ensuring a transparent recruitment of teachers and principals.
Equity – Deals with having zero difference between SC/ST students and General Category students.
At individual categories, Meghalaya scored 126 out of 180 in Learning Outcome and quality; Access – 53 of 80; Infrastructure – 87 of 150; Equity – 186 of 230; Governance processes – 197 of 360.
As can be seen, Meghalaya’s low score majorly comes from Governance processes but its above the 50 per cent mark, Infrastructure and learning outcome.
However, compared to last year’s score, the state has improved. While the score for learning outcome has remained at 126 in 2017-18 and 2018-19, Access has improved as it was 50 in 2017-18 and 52 in 2018-19; Infrastructure and Facilities was 57 in 2017-18 and 83 in 2018-19; Equity was 186 in 2017-18 and 169 in 2018-19; Governance processes was 165 in 2017-18 and 180 in 2018-19
As can be seen, Meghalaya has improved on every front in comparison to last year.
However, it has to do lot more to catch up to its neighbours in the north east and others in the rest of the country, especially on providing infrastructure and facilities and also focus a lot on the digitization and digital aids in teaching. The report has particular stress on digitization of many areas such as attendance of teachers and students, digital learning aids, smart classrooms, access to computer and internet, among others.
Also, compared to 2017-18 where Meghalaya was in Grade VI, it was improved to Grave V in 2018-19 and maintained the same for 2019-20.
CM’s acknowledges shortcomings
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma has acknowledged the findings of the report and said Meghalaya is working towards improving its score.
He said the current state of education in the state has not happened in a year or two but a result of years of neglect. And it will take time to improve as his government is working overtime to see that the education system and scenario gets better at the earliest.
He said work is underway to improve the infrastructure for atleast 200 schools while 500 new schools have been planned; but these will take time to come up.
About Performance Grading Index
The Performance Grading Index (PGI) has been designed by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL) to catalyse transformational change in the field of school education, shifting focus from access to education to quality of education. The PGI exercise envisages that the Index would propel States & UTs towards undertaking multi-pronged interventions that will bring about the much-desired optimal education outcomes.
The PGI is expected to help States and UTs to pinpoint the gaps and accordingly prioritize areas for intervention to ensure that the school education system is robust at every level.
At the same time it is expected to act as a good source of information for best practices followed by States and UTs which can be shared.
The total weightage under the PGI is 1000 points with each of the 70 indicators having an assigned weightage of either 10 or 20 points.