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We plan to grade schools, train teachers better: Education Secy

Sweeping changes are needed to bring professionalism among teachers — and an entrance test to filter out the best teachers will be an answer to many of the ails plaguing the education sector. In an interview with Chillicious’s Tarun Sharma, Anil Swarup, Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy in Human Resource Development, said that schools will also be graded soon based on education and infrastructure. Excerpts from the interview:

What are the main challenges in education sector?

The main challenge has to do with providing quality education in schools. A few years ago challenges were different; earlier, the challenge was getting children into schools. Now, more than 99 percent children are going to a school. The question is, how can one make education useful in one’s life? In that context lots need to be done. Our focus is on the quality of teachers. If the problems related to [quality of] teachers can be solved, then education can be take off.

How do you improve the statues of teachers?

We are trying to change the process in which someone trains to be teacher. We are planning to come out with CAT (Common aptitute test) kind of exam for teachers to enroll into a B.Ed college. We want serious professionals in the education industry. Nowadays, anybody can enter a B.Ed college and get admission. It should be through an appropriate entrance test. Even we [the education department] are planning to have a common exam for job placements. Various agencies [varisities and colleges and schools] can pick up the right candidate based on the test. NCT is working on certification or accreditation of B.Ed colleges on the basis of quality of education and infrastructure.  

When we can expect this common B.Ed examination?

This should happen from the next financial year. Even when they become teachers, we are trying to give a much better induction programme. We will upgrade them periodically.

School fees is major concern for most parents. Do you have any plan to come out with any norms to regulate school fees?

We are planning to do grading of schools on the basis of quality of education and infrastructure. In this manner, the public gets information about the quality of education in school. I can’t give the exact timeline of implementation of this grading system. However, it is certaintly in the pipe line of Human Resource Development.

Will school fees depend on grading?

The fees structure of schools may depend on grading.  However, grading depends on infrastructure and quality of education imparted at the school.

Are you in talks with startups for using technology in education sector?

We have been using technology for improving education system. We are going to start bio-metric attendance for school teachers. There are complaints that teachers don’t come to school mainly in remote areas so bio-metric attendance may solve this problem. We also intend to introduce tablets in schools for audio-video visuals. A pilot project for the tablet will be rolled out across government schools in Chhattisgarh .