The Indian Education System is one of the largest in the world with more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children from varied socio-economic backgrounds. The system strives to maintain standards and uniformity across the country while giving ample scope for the country’s diverse culture and heritage to grow and flourish.
The Performance Grading Index (PGI) is a tool to provide insights on the status of school education in States and UTs including key levers that drive their performance and critical areas for improvement. Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL) has designed the PGI to catalyse transformational change in the field of school education.
The architecture of the PGI emanates from the rationale that ensuring an efficient, inclusive and equitable school education system is contingent upon the constant monitoring of an interconnected matrix of inputs, outputs and outcomes, and the development of a quick response system for course correction.
The PGI is structured in two categories, namely, Outcomes, and Governance & Management and comprises 70 indicators in aggregate with a total weightage of 1000.
The information on the indicators are drawn from data available with the DoSEL from the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE), National Achievement Survey (NAS) of NCERT, Mid Day Meal website, Public Financial Management System (PFMS) and the information uploaded by the States and UTs on the Shagun portal of DoSEL.
The total weightage under the PGI is 100 points with each of the 70 indicators assigned a weightage of either 10 or 20 points. The States and UTs have been assessed on the basis of their performance against the benchmark for each indicator.
Weightages against each indicator have been divided into 10 groups- 0,1-10,11-20 and so on upto 91-100, Thus, a State which has achieved 91% of the benchmark of an Indicator, will get maximum points (10 or 20 whichever is applicable for the particular indicator), However, in case of a few Indicators, a lower value would score a higher weightage e.g. equity indicators, time taken for release of funds and single teacher schools.
The grades are based on the scores obtained by the States and UTs on the performance on all the 70 indicators during 2017-2018 (Except the data sourced from UDISE which is for the year 2016-17).
Thus, the grading categories are relative and can change depending upon the best performers in a given year. At the same time, all 36 States and UTs can occupy the highest grade simultaneously.
The grades of the States and UTs, based on PGI are as below. .
1. Inter State Differential: On a maximum possible of 1000 points, the range between the States and UTs with the highest and the lowest score is almost 300 which is 30% of the maximum points. Thus there exists a considerable difference within the States and UTs as far as their performance in the arena of School Education is concerned as assessed by the PGI.
Grading of states as per PGI
2. Best Achievers vis-a-vis the Ultimate Goal: As can be observed from the table below, the States and UTs which are in Grade 1 as per the evaluation this year, still have considerable ground to cover to reach the maximum aggregate of 1000 points.
Thus, Chandigarh, Kerala and Gujarat, which are in the first grade are ranked 34th, 22nd and 5th in terms of their size. Similarly, the States which are in Grade VI, are ranked 23rd (Meghalaya), 26th (Nagaland) and 15th (Arunachal Pradesh) respectively.
3. Size vis-a-vis Performance: The Performance of a State/UT is often perceived to be linked to the size (geographical area) of the State/UT as it has a bearing on several logistic, administrative and other issues. However, size does not appear to be a determining factor in the performance of States and UTs in the field of School education as assessed by the PGI.
4. Population vis-a-vis Performance: Population may be construed to be a hindrance to development as it tends to increase the financial burden of interventions by the Government. In terms of population size, the Grade 1 Sates and UTs are 32nd (Chandigarh), 13th (Kerala) and 9th (Gujarat). The population ranking of three States viz. Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh which are in Grade VI, are 23rd, 25th and 27th respectively. Hence, the effect of population on the performance of States and UTs is inconclusive.
5. Domain-wise performance of states
A summary of Domain wise performance of all the States and UTs is as follows. .
An analysis of the Domain wise performance shows that while the best performing States and UTs have done very well or fairly well across all Domains all of them still have some way to go before they reach the highest levels. Thus while Chandigarh, Kerala and Gujarat may be in Grade 1 vis-a-vis the balance 33 States and UTs, they have scored between 801-850 points out of a possible mazimum of 1000. These States and UTs therefore still need to improve their performance so that they can ultimately reach Level 1 in the shortest time.
6. Good Practices: Each State/UT, it is heartening to note, has some areas where it has done exceedingly well. It is expected that the PGI would act as a platform for the States and UTs to share the best practices and thereby enable all States and UTs to improve their overall performance.
7. The Weakest Links: A Domain wise analysis also brings out some areas of general concern for all the States and UTs. It is pertinent to note that in case of all the four Domains categorised under Outcomes, the top score is more than 90% of the maximum possible points in the respective Domain. However, in case of the Domain relating to Governance & Management, the top score (279, Gujarat) is only 78% of the maximum points (360). At the other end of the spectrum, the minimum score obtained in this Domain is below 40% (36.1%). This clearly implies that this is the area all States and UTs must focus upon. The PGI accords the highest importance to this Domain because compliance with the indicators here will lead to critical structural reforms in areas ranging from monitoring the attendance of teachers to ensuring a transparent recruitment of teachers and principals.
While it is common knowledge that shortage of teachers and principals and administrative staff, lack of regular supervision and inspection, inadequate training of the teachers, timely availability of finances (all of which are captured in the Governance and Management Domain) are some of the factors plaguing the education system in the country, it is for the first time that there is a reliable tool which corroborates this. Through the PGI, the shortfalls can be measured objectively and regularly. This is crucial for taking necessary steps to eliminate the gaps.
The second areas that requires attention is the Domain for Infrastructure and facilities where the lowest score obtained was only 38% of the Maximum points. This is a cause for concern as a proper school building with adequate facilities is a must to improve the overall quality of school education. Indicators like availability of ICT facilities, timely availability of textbooks and uniforms, which are critical inputs for better performance of students (and mentioned in the RTE Act), are measured in the Infrastructure & Facilities Domain. Significant shortfalls in these areas have also been captured by the Index.
8. Learning Outcomes: This is perhaps the most important Domain and is the ultimate goal of the Index. However, unlike other Domains which are relatively easier to comply with e.g. providing infrastructure facilities or setting up mechanisms to check attendance, improving learning outcomes takes time and patience. All the other Domains support Learning Outcomes and converge towards it. It has been observed that, in general, the scores of learning outcomes obtained in the higher standards are less than those in the lower standards. It is therefore, imperative to ensure better interventions at the lower standards as it will have a positive cascading effect at the higher levels.
The PGI Report for 2017-18 will be further analysed State/UT wise. For the subsequent years it is expected that the Summary Report will be published every January and the detailed (State wise) Reports by April. The Department also proposes to introduce a performance based grant to States and UTs which would be based on the PGI.
In view of these the quality of and responsiveness to data uploaded by the States and UTs would be of significant importance. To facilitate this, efforts are underway to upgrade the data sources by making them more comprehensive, user friendly, and subjecting them to cross checks, thereby enhancing the reliability and robustness of the information obtained.
The Shagun repository portal is also being upgraded and the States and UTs are being requested to provide images/videos of good practices for sharing with others. It is proposed that, in future, awards for various categories would be based on these evidences suitably corroborated by spot inspections on a random sampling basis.
The National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted by NCERT to measure the learning outcomes is also being streamlined to make the assessment process more objective.
A reliable, timely and participative information system coupled with a robust and efficient data analytics framework is the key to successful implementation of any Government programme.