Project Unnayan Banka setting an example for public education system in India

Banka, LWE affected district of Bihar with majority tribal population has set up a perfect example of public education system, where government schools, department of education and district administration with the complete support from Eckovation has created a education revolution. The students, teachers, district administration and Eckovation  are the drivers of change in this revolution. This  education revolution is known  as Unnayan Banka.

Unnayan Project: Mera Mobile Mera Vidhyalaya

The general view about the indian public school system with muddled infrastructure, shortage of staff and poor performance of students, the situation in Banka is even more complex. Most of the students come from tribal community and BPL families where they need to make a choice between going to school or go for daily wagers work to support their families livelihood. Many students just take admission to become beneficiaries of Government Schemes like Mid Day Meal, free bicycle for students registering themselves in schools, completely free education supported by required books and notebooks. This has become the major reason for the very poor ratio of number of students attending the school regularly to the number of students registered in schools. During my field research in 45 schools of Banka District, I found 11% of the total registered students were present in schools for all these reasons. The another disappointing observation was “there was shortage of teachers in each and every school, there were schools where students haven’t studied chemistry because they don’t have science teacher in schools.” Also, the teachers were regular in school but they didn’t hold any accountability for their responsibilities of providing quality education to students.

However, the interesting thing which I observed was number of girls attending the school outnumbered the number of boys in all the schools of Banka, an LWE affected district of Bihar. This was true in the most interior and affected areas with majority tribal population like Suiya Ghutiya, Darshaniya, Shaktinagar also. Throughout my student life, I have always seen the opposite. In my school, there were only 10 girls in a batch of 40 students. In my engineering, the ratio was even worst, there were only 8 girls in a batch of 120 students. This is the case of one of the most prestigious engineering college of India, located in the centre of the country.

This was big challenge for Eckovation to ensure the reach of quality education to these students. Based on our field study and observations in the district with it’s unique socio-economic complexities, we prepared a solution for ensuring the Quality Education in the public schools of the district. This innovative and scalable is based on three key features: Assessment and continuous monitoring; Cohort Learning and Multi-Platform Learning Facilities.

With the support of highly energetic and innovative DM of Banka, Mr. Kundan Kumar, who has spearheaded the national award winning Jal Sanchay Program for watershed development in Nalanda,  we decided to start the project small, including only those schools in the pilot phase where the teachers and students were motivated already, and which had sufficient attendance so that a measurable impact could be made. We created a long list based on data that we had on papers. Out of that, we studied 20 schools and finalised only 5 schools for the pilot.

The Pilot Phase in these five schools were spectacular for learning the challenges in the implementation of the model. Long hours of electricity cuts, non-operational computer labs and generators, school teachers needed continuous support from IT department, teachers faced problem in daily reporting from their mobile phones on eckovation platform. During this phase, the district administration team of banka: the education department, the IT Team; the school teachers and Eckovation worked together to cross these breakers. The efforts of the team district administration of Banka and Eckovation helped set a well defined process in these three weeks.

This unique model provided a single platform to all the stakeholders involved in the execution of the  initiative; all the teachers, education department, IT team to connect and communicate with Eckovation Team and Kundan Sir. This ensured 100% transparency in the system. The problems faced in implementation are directly communicated to the every tier of administration. The monitoring of daily performance and attendance of students is accessible to all.

We conducted training session for teachers to ease school teachers with the daily assessment and monitoring process. The local businessman and leaders donated inverters and TV to the schools. IT team supported the schools when they faced difficulty in IT Operations.  Soon the enthusiasm and motivation of the Team Unnayan towards the development of public education system grew like a chain reaction. Presently, 40 schools in Banka has adopted the Unnayan Model and they daily conduct sessions and report their daily assessment on Eckovation Platform.

The district administration of this LWE affected district has changed the perception of government systems and the public education system where we assume teachers are not willing to take classes. Team Unnayan has worked with minimal resources and has set an example for the country. Today, every student of Banka is confident to pass the board examination. This effort by administration of Banka and Eckovation has created a revolution in the field of education.

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