Niti Aayog released report on School Education Quality Index 2019

New Delhi: In its first ever ranking of school education quality, government think tank Niti Aayog has graded Rajasthan, Kerala and Karnataka as top performers among large states in the overall category.

Rajasthan has ranked second in the School Education Quality Index, 2019 which has been brought out by the NITI Aayog. Kerala has topped the School Education Quality Index (SEQI) while Karnataka is placed third. Uttar Pradesh has ranked last in the list of 20 large states.

The report was prepared after evaluating 30 indicators in 20 large and eight small states. The 28 states and seven UTs have been ranked on two broad categories – outcome and governance. These 30 indicators based on which weightage has been assigned, with learning outcomes in the outcome category being given 50% weightage. The Niti Aayog report will soon be released by the Union Human Resources Development Ministry.

The report comes as a boost for the state government as the ASER report for 2018-19 that was released in January 2019 had placed Rajasthan among the bottom five in learning outcomes in reading writing and arithmetic.
The school education minister Vasudev Devnani claimed that reforms such as merger of schools, improving student-teacher ratio, reducing the shortage of teachers, availability of subject teachers and continuous evaluation had led to improvements.

Manju Rajpal, school education secretary, said the Niti Aayog report was very encouraging and would motivate the state to do better. “It is commendable that Rajasthan which used to once rank at the bottom is now at the top. It is a matter of pride for the teachers and officials.”

She said the union Human Resources Development Ministry had increased the sample size for this survey which was conducted in 2017-18 by the state education department and government school teachers.

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“This time the number of government schools in the survey was increased to 15,000. They were divided into three sets of 5,000 each and they surveyed students in classes 3, 5 and 8 to assess their learning levels,” she said. The classes 3 and 5 students were assessed in Arithmetic, English and Environment studies while the class 8 students also had general science in addition to the other subjects.

The students had to take exams and participate in group discussions for the assessment. The teachers and supervisors too were evaluated apart from the infrastructure, she said. Rajpal said Rajasthan spends about 6% of the state budget on education which shows successive governments are according priority to the sector.
West Bengal doesn’t feature as it didn’t participate. Barring Goa in the West, all the other seven in small states category are from the north-east region. In the outcome indicators, the states have been assessed on access (enrolment), infrastructure — such a book banks and percentage of vocational courses offered — minority and rural and urban students and learning outcomes of classes III, V and VIII.

Within learning outcomes, the maximum weight-age has been given to class III. In governance, the states and UTs were assessed on teacher and student attendance, the time taken and utilization of funds, etc. The report is based on 2015-16 and 2016-17 data of Unified District Information on School Education, the National Achievement Survey of ministry of human resource development.

Data shared by states and UTs and was prepared with the help of and other technical experts by Niti Aayog. According to an official, the objective of this ranking to understand in how school education in different states is progressing.

As per the Niti Aayog, the purpose of the state-level School Education Quality Index (SEQI) is to institutionalize a focus on improving education outcomes. The index has been measured on the basis of 44 indicators – 29 outcome indicators and 15 governance and management indicators.

The Niti Aayog had announced in December 2018 that it would come out with a SEQI and Digital Transformation Index to improve outcomes and share best practices.

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