The Punjab Government under the visionary guidance of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has undertaken remarkable measures aimed at transformation of the overall educational standard in the State and is fully committed to continue the pace of reforms."Disclosing this here today on the last day of the 65th two day Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting in which the Education Ministers of all the states participated, the Education Minister, Punjab, Mrs. Aruna Chaudhary said that in the sphere of School Education, the main achievement has been the launching of pre-primary classes from 14th November, 2017 in accordance with which the children from 3-6 years of age would be admitted in all the Government Primary Schools of the state thus bringing even the poorest of the poor within the ambit of the initiative.Elaborating about the other game changing measures undertaken to uplift the educational scenario, the minister said that the flagship Learning Enhancement Program ‘Padho Punjab Padhao Punjab’ has been started in all government schools from classes 1st to 8th under which the students’ learning is assessed and they are put into different groups as per their learning levels.
Besides, the Revision of Curriculum and Text Books is also being undertaken and the School curriculum and text-books are being redesigned and aligned with the Learning Outcomes. The new books will be implemented from the forthcoming session i.e. 2018-19. Also, a large number of teachers' grievances has been addressed by undertaking steps like All pending Assured Carrier Progression (ACP) cases of almost 70,000 employees in the department were cleared by 31.08.2017, All pending probation and confirmation cases were cleared by 31.08.2017, All powers were delegated to the concerned school heads and other in- charges to reduce interaction with the offices, Permission for higher qualification to the teachers have been delegated at DDO level and Meetings of Departmental Promotion Committee for promotion are being held quarterly now.
Disclosing other path breaking steps promulgated by the State Government, the minister listed out separate cadre for border areas for Districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Tarn Taran and Pathankot, Linking of teacher accountability with students' performance, educational improvement committees, E-Governance in the functioning of the Education Department in which all data related to schools, students and teachers are computerized and uploaded on epunjabportal on the website of the Department, Transparent transfer policy, Rationalization Policy, Teachers for teaching job oonly in order to maintain quality of education, School Electrification Programme, Reforms in the working of State Education Board, Stress on computer education with state of the art facilities in schools, Girls' Education, along with Sports and Physical Education.Mrs. Chaudhary while emphatically putting forward certain issues of the state said that central funding should be given to state along with broad objectives of the programme and micro planning should be left to the state, various volunteers have been engaged under various schemes like Education Guarantee Scheme, Alternative and Innovate Education and Special Teacher Trainers etc. These schemes were later discontinued and burden of these volunteers has to be borne by the state putting pressure on its financial resources.
The financial norms of various components of SSA/ RMSA and MDM needs to be urgently revised upward. The existing rates of funding for school grant, maintenance grant, grant for text books and uniform needs to be at least doubled to enable the states to implement these schemes properly. The Union Government should provide funding for Senior Secondary classes (11th-12th) as these two classes are not covered under any scheme, Honorarium of MDM cooks should be increased from Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 3000/- so that honorable wages can be provided to these workers. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) should develop a system to ensure that the information may be taken automatically from the State portal and requirement of uploading information separately on central Government portals is done away with and the redressal of the issue of non-receipt of approved funds by MHRD on time. In case of Punjab, Rs. 1139.10 crore were approved under Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan (SSA) for the year 2017-18 out of which the Union Government share comes to Rs.683.46 crore on the basis of 60:40 sharing pattern. But so far only Rs.221.22 crore has been released. Balance amount Rs.462.24 crore is still pending with the Union Government. The Union Government should release its full share under SSA instead of Rs. 315 crores that it has promised to release.The Union Minister for Human Resources Development Mr. Prakash Javadekar while lauding the pro-education initiatives of the Punjab Government especially the pre-primary classes assured every possible assistance from the side of Union Government. The Secretary, School Education, Punjab, Mr. Krishan Kumar was also present in the meeting.