Launched across all government schools in Madhya Pradesh in 2011 by the School Education Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Pratibha Parv, literally a festival of excellence, is a comprehensive initiative for the assessment of teaching and learning, and evaluation of educational facilities and activities.
Even as the government is making efforts to address problems related to infrastructural shortages and student dropouts by implementing schemes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Mid-day Meal programme, it is equally important to concentrate on aspects of teaching and learning to improve the performance of students in schools.
The school education system suffers not only from a lack of infrastructural facilities but also from the shortage of well-trained and motivated teachers. Factors such as a high rate of teacher absenteeism, increased drop-out rates and under-staffed government schools adversely affect the quality of education.
Pratibha Parv draws upon the ‘Gunotsav model’ of Gujarat, which also assesses the performance of students in a similar manner. It seeks to introduce a comprehensive assessment approach to improve the overall education system across all state-run schools in Madhya Pradesh.
The objective of Pratibha Parv is to assess the academic performance of students and ensure improvement in quality of education in primary and upper primary schools. It also works to create awareness in teachers and among the general public regarding the quality of education. Apart from assessing the overall infrastructure, the initiative looks into the provision of additional hours of tuition classes for low achievers. Pratibha Parv is instrumental in verifying the availability and usage of school facilities, and strives to provide social audit opportunities and develop a sense of ownership of the community in the educational process and institutions.
The key stakeholders of the programme include Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK), Bhopal which is the implementing agency, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) which provides technical support, the Directorate of Public Instructions and Tribal Development Directorate, and finally school students and teachers who are the beneficiaries.
The Pratibha Parva assessment is carried out in two phases spread over two days. The first phase is a self- appraisal based evaluation involving primary and middle school students. This is undertaken in the presence of officials from a number of government departments at the district level. The second phase of Pratibha Parva relates to the evaluation of various aspects including the schools’ academic achievements and teaching arrangements, school management and amenities as well as community participation. This phase takes place in the presence of Class I and Class II officers from all departments in the district.
The initiative is organised in a campaign mode with attention to its advocacy, conducting meetings with the panchayats, teachers and other staff and through the use of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) tools.
The results of the Pratibha Parv create the foundation for developing school improvement plans attending to areas of academic and curriculum activities that require special attention. The initiative provides feedback on different aspects such as school infrastructure, teaching and learning processes, achievement levels of students in different subjects, identification of weak students, teacher training and meeting other needs and requirements.
Pratibha Parv is reaching out to many students and teachers in under-resourced schools and providing them with an opportunity for better quality of education. It has reduced the fear of examination among students by making the assessment procedure more student-friendly.
This initiative has successfully contributed to raising the attendance of primary school students from 71 to 78% (2011-2013), raised middle school attendance from 79.1 to 84% (2011- 2013) and reduced the fear of conventional classroom examinations among students. This initiative has covered approximately 1,00,00,000 students in 1,12,788 school.
Like many other initiatives focussing on improving the education scenario in the country, especially in government schools, Pratibha Parv initially struggled to bring about changes in existing system and convincing teachers and students about the new assessment programme. Long-drawn negotiations with the teachers’ union were undertaken to resolve the issue.
Another challenge the initiative faced pertained to the differential abilities of students within the same class. Since the initiative is implemented across the state, challenges with respect to capacity related issues in adapting to the new practice were encountered. Further problems were also faced in standardising the data entry format and the online updation of other relevant information.
The use of localised and available resources makes Pratibha Parv a self-sustainable initiative. The development and implementation of Pratibha Parv did not require any additional resources. The programme leverages existing resources, both financial and human, in a cost and time-bound manner.
Pratibha Parv presents an excellent example of taking a step towards improving the quality of school education. This model has been appreciated by parents, the community as well as by other states. Self-appraisals and departmental and third party appraisals have helped identify the lacunae in the educational system and the comprehensive assessment programme has helped academic and administrative decision-making.
Source : NITI Aayog
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