| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In Gunotsav there is detailed planning for the exercise, with development of formats, conducting phase I and phase II assessments and recording, analyzing and acting upon the assessment results for remedial action. The State wide exercise involves self-assessment on learning levels, community participation and co-scholastic activities of all children and on the maintenance and utilization of infrastructure & stakeholder participation by the school known as Phase I. Similarly, Phase II consists of external evaluation of 25% of the schools by the Chief Minister, all ministers and more than 3000 officers including all IAS, IPS, IFS and Class I & II Government officials for three consecutive days.
Phase I Self Evaluation by teachers
Each school is given “School self evaluation booklets” with instruction and guidelines for conducting the assessment on scholastic, co-scholastic parameters, community participation and use of resources.
All students are assessed on their learning levels; by conducting assessment for reading, writing and numerical skills of all children studying in primary schools (Std 2 to 5) and subject knowledge of all children studying in upper primary sections (Std 6 to 8) for all subjects through OMR sheets pre-printed with students' name.
Phase II Officers Assessment in Schools
Uniform sample coverage is ensured in all blocks and each cluster. Visits of the officials to the schools are not predetermined. Education department prepares the list of clusters having 8 to 10 schools in each cluster. The officers are oriented on selection of three schools considering above strata and select three out of 8 to 10 schools’ cluster in a random manner. Thus all schools have to be in readiness for the assessment.
The officers and their team spend an entire day in one selected school with school evaluation booklets and child wise report cards based on Self-Assessment. The officers carry out scholastic and co-scholastic assessment join the children for the mid-day meal, review the school’s basic facilities on matters of safety and utilization of resources and also the status of community participation.
After school hours, the officers interact with parents and take views and suggestions for the school. This encourages the participation by parents and makes them aware on their role in school activities.
The last step is to upload school evaluation information on the Gunotsav website– www.Gunotsava.org. However, from the current year officers are not required to upload the student assessment related information since the OMR based evaluation formats which are scanned for analysis are used for assessment.
Online monitoring of the students/teachers /schools and verification is done at every stage through the portal as the results of all the phase are kept public on the web-portal of Gunotsav (www.gunotsava.org).
Third Party Evaluation:
Diagnostic test is conducted for sample schools in each District by Educational Initiatives as third party audit. Pratham ASER has conducted process evaluation of external evaluation and UNICEF carries out follow-up program of Gunotsav known as remedial teaching program.
The data analysis is done in such a way that learning outcomes wise results of each child is made available to teachers. Accordingly, teachers undertake remedial program in their respective class/subject. The remedial teaching program as follow-up of Gunotsav resulted in mainstreaming of 1.26 million students (2010), 0.56 million students (2012) and 0.46 million students (2013) through remedial classes.
Child Tracking System for Learning Outcomes:
All the children are given unique ID and childwise sch0lastic achievement is available online for longitudinal tracking.
Since this is the fourth year of Gunotsav implementation in the state, the further plan of implementation involves institutionalization of Gunotsav processes which would be based on continuous monitoring and support to schools through child tracking, mentoring, peer learning, strengthening field functioning, volunteer support and deepening stakeholder participation.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
• Hon’ble Chief Minister, all ministers and more than 3000 officers including all top level Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), Indian Forest Services (IFS) and Class I & II Government officials visit more than 8500 primary schools over three days to assess learning outcomes, and are the major stakeholders of the project.
• Apart from the department officials, Ministers, Members of Parliament (MP), Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA), District Collectors, District Development Officers (DDO) and other senior officers, President & members of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI), Municipal Corporation dignitaries (Mayor, Municipal Commissioner, Corporators& Corporation Officials) and Co-operative Society participate in Gunotsav.
• Parents and school management committee (SMC) are involved for constant views and suggestions for educational activity carried out in schools. This makes the parents feel confident and satisfied because they can understand the schools activities and monitor their children.
• Gunotsav also has enhanced stakeholder’s participation with collaborative participation of organizations like UNICEF, Educational Initiatives (EI), American India Foundation (AIF), Care India and Pratham. UNICEF organizes evaluation of Gunotsav’s follow-up program known as Remedial Teaching; EI conducts diagnostic test to validate as well as to identify hard spots of learning, EI also helps the Education department to analyze the data and overall design of Gunotsav; Pratham carries out process evaluation during external assessment.
• There is good integration and convergence among all departments functioning under Education Department viz. Department of Primary Education (DPE), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Gujarat Council of Education, Research & Training (GCERT). The IT support including Gunotsav web portal is provided by iNDEXTb. ), The whole line of Education Department including District and block level officers, Block and Cluster Level Coordinators, Head Masters and all primary school teachers are at the forefront of this exercise.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
• The strength of Gunotsav is that it is a State initiative with close coordination between different departments and the participation of almost the entire top brass of the State. Officers from Departments other than education are encouraged to participate in Gunotsavand give their perspectives and thoughts to meet the overall objectives of the program.
• The Education Department of Gujarat State, teachers, students and parents are key stake holders of Gunotsav. Education department plans, executes, analyzes, acts and finishes the initiative every year. There is a high level of involvement of Department of Education and its constituents, the State Council of Education Research and Training, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Director Primary Education, DIET teams, Text Book Board and Industrial Extension Bureau (iNDEXTb). The self assessment process is monitored by Block Resource Centre Co-ordinator (BRCC) and Cluster Resource Centre Co-ordinator (CRCC). The web portal developed is a store house of data for primary education in Gujarat and is used for planning annual activities at state, district and block levels. The child tracking system for learning outcomes is being developed jointly by these partners.
• The role of the Education Department is vital and begins well in advance of the actual visits during phase II. It continues till the results are known, analyzed and remedial plans are drawn and executed.
• Gunotsav also has enhanced stakeholder’s participation with collaborative participation of organizations like UNICEF & Pratham. UNICEF organizes evaluation of Gunotsav’s follow-up program known as Remedial Teaching. UNICEF had deputed external field investigators to conduct third party audit of Remedial program. Pratham had participated in providing hand holding support to teachers during remedial teaching program.
• The Gunotsav portal acts as a resource for tracking the school, children and each block/cluster’s development has been a prominent one. The portal provides the much required transparency, accountability which enables active participation and engagement from all the stakeholders. The website is simple in design and has all the relevant information related to Gunotsav, with instructions for each process in the local language. Web based online data is available for first phase as data is captured instantly through scanning of Self-Assessment Optical Marking Reader (OMR) sheet.
• Online monitoring and verification is done at every stage through the portal. Various districts are allocated to different officers in the Department of Education / senior management. Each officer tracks the data entry for the allocated schools of the district to ensure that the entry process is completed on time. The greatest strength of Gunotsav website has been prompt report generation of the assessment conducted in the two phases.
• It is a convergence model requiring very minimal use of extra funds.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Major outputs of the Gunotsav program:
• Coverage in all 34000 government primary schools across all 26 districts of the state. The self evaluation allows for assessment of over 5.4 million school children.
• Focus on Learning Outputs: Because of Gunotsav, the State could take a holistic stock of elementary education including learning outcomes of children, status on use of infrastructure in the school and community participation in the school. Further the department officials at all levels, teachers and community at large became sensitized regarding quality in primary education. In addition, it led to more cohesive working together for attaining desired level of learning outcomes. The state could categorize teachers, schools, clusters, blocks and districts according to their performance.
• Enhancement in quality of Education: Due to awareness regarding Gunotsav and follow-up of the same, the number of poor performing (Scoring 0 to 2 grade points out of 10) schools have reduced from 4.2% in 2009 to 0.4% in 2013, the number of high performing (Scoring 8 to 10 grade points out of 10) schools have increased from 1 % in 2009 to 9.8% in 2013. Comprehensive school report card is also generated according to the performance of schools in the areas of students learning outcomes, co-curricular activities, community mobilization and use of resources.
• Remedial classes to Enrichment in Education: Improvement in learning level of children who required specific support from teachers was observed. Around 1.26 million students in year 2010, around 0.56 million students in year 2012 and 0.46 million students in year 2013 were covered through remedial classes as follow up of Gunotsav.
• The Gunotsav process has been studied with visits and engagement from states like Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Tamilnadu and Rajasthan to replicate the process adapted to their state program. It is recognized as a best practice in the 12th Five Year Planning Commission which shows that Gunotsav has provided an adaptable and transferable model at the national level. Gunotsav can be adapted across the country to create a nationwide platform for improving quality in Elementary Education.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Monitoring the progress of the activities carried out in Gunotsav was done in following ways;
• Self Assessment: All schools carry out self assessment by teachers regarding learning outcomes of children, co-scholastic activities of school, community participation and use of resources. The self assessment process is monitored by BRCC and CRCC.
• External Assessment: Since all the schools are aware that any of the schools can be visited by external evaluators, this awareness itself generates sense of sincerity among teachers during self assessment process. In this way, the external assessment is a major monitoring and validation stage during Gunotsav.
• Online monitoring of the students/teachers /schools and verification is done at every stage through the portal as the results of all the phase are kept public on the web-portal of Gunotsav (www.gunotsava.org). Periodic review meetings were also held at State, District and Block level.
• Monitoring by External Parties:
o Assessment of post Gunotsav Remedial class program by UNICEF: The remedial program as follow up of Gunotsav program was carried out in all the schools. The regular monitoring system through BRC-CRC coordinators was providing handholding support to teachers as well as monitoring the progress made by each child. The consolidation of data at all level was done at each level. Apart from that, UNICEF had deputed around 350 Field Investigators for the term-end assessment of Remedial teaching program and collected data from 10% of the total schools. During the execution of three-month remedial program, UNICEF had also deputed consultants to monitor the program.
o Pratham had evaluated the process of external Evaluation in which a team of representatives from Pratham were observing the process being carried out at school level as part of external evaluation and they also interacted with external evaluators as well as other stakeholders too.
o Education Initiatives conducts Diagnostic Test in 50 schools of every district, just after external evaluation as part of Gunotsav to validate the data as well as to diagnose actual gap of learning outcomes. The results of diagnostic test and Gunotsav assessment are of similar pattern which can be correlated positively. This positive correlation reveals the reliability of data collected through Gunotsav.
• Since Gunotsav gives child wise data, child tracking with linked teacher profiling and teacher support has become possible. Child tracking is nothing but the longitudinal trend system of monitoring for learning outcomes.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
• Slow internet connection/ Gujarat State wide Area Network (GSWAN) connectivity in some areas in initial phase of the implementation of the project which was resolved by some technical expertise.
• Reluctance/Resistance of the staff in carrying out the assessment of students/teachers/schools and uploading the results on the web-portal.
• Coverage all 34000 schools with deepening of assessment framework.
• First three Gunotsav’s were able to provide data up to classroom level; therefore longitudinal tracking of child was not possible.
To overcome all the above issues, the state government have come out with OMR based Evaluation system which does not require uploading of assessment data at any level. Further the longitudinal tracking of children according to their learning outcomes became possible. Tracking of Teacher and Teacher profiling is also now possible. This IT solution has helped teachers and officers in focusing more on the actual tasks to be performed rather than spending time for uploading data.
Due to above strategic change, the state is now capable of assessing all children in the school rather than sampled classrooms or sampled learning area like reading or writing.