While the Covid-19 pandemic has left the country’s education sector struggling, online education has led to many students falling out of the ambit of formal education. However, Gujarat has emerged as one of the better-performing states in India, especially the government schools and grant-in-aid schools.
Education for all
According to the child tracking system (CTS) data, nearly 65 per cent of the total students study in the 40,000 government schools in the state. This represents over 7 million students studying in grades 1 to 12. Moreover, more than 500,000 students in Gujarat study in private schools under the Right to Education Act, 2009.
CTS data further reveals that more students in Gujarat have been admitted to government schools than private ones after Covid. In the past year, out of the 327,000 students that enrolled in schools, 200,000 were admitted to government schools alone.
Catering to the needs of students in far-flung areas, the state has also started schools in the core interior tribal areas like Dangs.
The education is imparted not only in Gujarati, but also Hindi, English, Marathi, Urdu, Odia, Tamil and Telugu mediums.
Mission ‘Schools of Excellence’
The state government has also formed the ambitious Mission Schools of Excellence, India’s largest school transformation programme. Under the mission, over 20,000 schools in the state with the strength of more than 120 students will be transformed into ‘Schools of Excellence’ (SoE). It is expected to benefit 80 per cent of government school students in Gujarat. The state government, under SoE, will also provide physical and digital learning facilities to students to help them achieve grade-appropriate learning.
The state is also focusing on integrating technology with school education. Under the Gyankunj Project, over 15,000 smart classrooms have been built across Gujarat, according to MIS data. In 2022-23, as many as 24,000 more such classrooms are expected to be made functional. The daily online attendance of all schools in the state is 11.5 million.
All public elementary schools and field officers have also been provided with tablets. Over 350 schools have been equipped with CCTV cameras, MIS data further showed.
To increase access to the Centre’s DIKSHA app, QR codes have been added to school textbooks. These can be accessed to learn online. As a result, Gujarat has been topping the national ranking in terms of the number of direct plays on the app. Also, online classes for each grade are telecast through DD Girnar, a TV channel.
So far, over 300 million virtual classroom sessions have been conducted on Microsoft Teams. This is the largest use of the platform worldwide. Also, YouTube is being used actively for live interactive classes for students in grades 9 to 12. Eighty million views on the state’s YouTube channel is a testament to that.
The state has also launched the first edtech company, Gujarat Education Technologies (GET). A learning management system and the G-Shala content app were launched under the scheme. Currently, over 3 million students are using G-Shala.
Gujarat has also become the first state to launch a school accreditation and ranking framework, GUNOTSAV 2.0.
Food, transport and more
Under two schemes – the Mid-day meal scheme and Doodh Sanjivani Yojna (DSY) – around 7 million students get free meals and flavoured milk. DSY mainly caters to 78 tribal and developing blocks, providing them with 200 ml of milk per child per day.
Since the launch of the school transportation facility in 2012, over 150,000 students have benefitted from an improved transportation facility, according to data from the unified district information system. Hundreds of thousands of students get a free pass to travel via state transport.
In the past 20 years, over 145,000 classrooms have been built in the state. In the next 12-18 months, 20,000 additional classrooms are likely to get ready, according to data from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
The state government, in the past 8 years, has allocated over 15 per cent of its Budget to the education sector. According to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE), the pupil-teacher ratio in the state stands at 28:1 and the student-classroom ratio is 25:1. A total of 237,000 teachers are employed in government schools in Gujarat, according to the data from Teacher Portal.
In the past 20 years, 185,000 teachers have been recruited in the state.
Gujarat was the first state to launch the learning-outcome-based students’ report card. It also launched Vidya Samiksha Kendra, a centre for monitoring school education indicators online. Over 10 billion data points have been collected in real time using the platform.
For its efforts, Gujarat was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration in 2021.