The Quality Education Programme, Baran, is a collaborative initiative of ICICI Foundation and its partner resource organisations – Digantar, Jaipur and Vidya Bhawan Society, Udaipur — that supports government efforts to improve the quality of elementary education in Rajasthan’s Baran district. In addition to strengthening government education institutions, the programme has improved in-service teacher trainings, teacher and student attendance, classroom practices and learning.
Despite the substantial progress made through the Government of India’s flagship education programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) – which aims to provide free and compulsory education for children ages 6 to14 – many gaps in India’s education system remain. In Rajasthan, SSA has improved access and enrolment in schools, but the programme has made few inroads in improving the quality of education. Improving the quality of education in districts like Baran, which has some of the poorest education indicators in the state, required efforts to strengthen the training and academic capacities of government education institutions at the district, block and cluster levels. These institutions are critical to the provision of support to schools and teachers and consequently to improving the quality of schooling processes and outcomes. Additionally, there was a need to work intensively in few schools in select clusters to demonstrate well functioning schools and their support system at the cluster level and to generate evidence on good practices on overall school improvement.
The Quality Education Program (QEP), Baran, focuses on strengthening the capacity of the District Institute for Education and Training to enable it to provide stronger academic and training support to teachers and schools. QEP also works with Block Resource Centres (BRCs) and Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) to develop their potential as resource centres that support teachers in their day-to-day functioning. In addition, QEP works intensively across four clusters of two blocks (Ataru and Shahabad) to provide in-school and in-classroom support in 78 of Baran’s approximately 1,600 government schools. The programme also works to build linkages between these schools, the community and the government educational institutions in the district. These direct interventions have reached approximately 250 teachers and 6,000 students.
The programme is a collaborative initiative of the Government of Rajasthan through the Collector, Baran; the District Institute for Education and Training, Baran; Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Baran; Digantar, Vidya Bhawan Society and ICICI FOUNDATION.
- The programme has set up a localised resource centre within the DIET, consisting of programme staff and faculty from the DIET, BRCs and CRCs. Known as the Quality Improvement Unit (QIU), the centre provides ongoing academic support and helps with planning and organising trainings for teachers.
- The QIU has developed innovative in-service teacher training modules and teaching learning materials. These modules have been developed through the active and sustained participation of local master trainers selected from Baran’s teacher community.
- For three successive years, 4,200 teachers from primary and upper primary schools have attended the annual in-service teacher-training programme.
- The 78 intervention schools have seen improvements in teacher and student attendance, more engaging and participatory morning assemblies, better classroom organisation and more positive student-teacher relationships. Children’s reading levels have also improved and there is a greater use of teaching learning material in classrooms.