January 24, 2019
Great strides in school education in Bangla
School education has seen a lot of change, both qualitatively and quantitatively, in seven years of the Trinamool Congress Government. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Government has taken several first-of-its-kind initiatives like giving school bags, school shoes, uniforms and exercise books free of cost to students of Government schools.
Certain new types of schools like BRGF Schools and Model Schools have been started. Use of technology in classrooms is being encouraged. To inculcate self-sufficiency, schools are being encouraged to plant their own gardens for procuring the vegetables for mid-day meals.
Free school bags, school shoes and uniforms: For the first time, the Trinamool Congress Government has started providing school bags, school shoes and uniforms for free on a mass scale. In 2018, the School Education Department has supplied more than 57 lakh school bags for distribution in Classes V, VI, VII and VIII. Shoes have been provided to 50.32 lakh primary school students. All students from Classes I to VIII have received school uniforms free.
Free exercise books: For the first time, free exercise books have been distributed at the rate of three exercise books each for students of Classes V to VIII, four each for students of Classes IX and X, and five each for students of Classes XI and XII. More than 340.3 lakh exercise books have been distributed to over 97.73 lakh students till now.
Free textbooks: Textbooks are being provided free to all students from the pre-primary level to Class XII. Nearly 9.5 crore books, comprising 389 titles, are printed and distributed annually.
Free Braille textbooks: Specially designed Braille textbooks are being given to all visually challenged students.
BRGF Schools: This is again a new concept developed by the Trinamool Congress Government. With money from the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF), the government sanctioned 40 BRGF Schools from 2011 till March 2018, of which 37 are running. As a part of this, 39 school buildings were constructed.
Model Schools: This is another new concept of the Trinamool Government. From 2011 till March 2018, 67 Model Schools were sanctioned, of which 51 are running. As a part of this, 54 school buildings have been constructed.
Cent per cent coverage: 100 per cent of government and government-aided schools are covered under the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme. At the elementary level, more than 1.2 lakh students are covered.
Self-sufficiency of schools for MDM Scheme: For achieving self-sufficiency in arranging for the food provided through MDMs, 76,248 kitchen-cum-stores were constructed and 6,025 kitchen gardens developed between financial years (FY) 2011-12 and 2017-18. This is a continuous process. Hence, more and more schools are achieving self-sufficiency in this regard.
Use of environment-friendly fuel: Till now, 37 per cent institutions are using LPG for cooking MDMs. Rs 10 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose.
Special help for the backward regions: In the Jangalmahal and Sundarbans regions, a total of 969 dining halls have been constructed at a cost of Rs 29.72 crore, provided by the State Government. Another grant of Rs 13.32 crore has been sanctioned to construct 434 dining halls in the tea gardens, Jangalmahal and the Sundarbans.
Recruitment and Training
Teacher recruitment: For primary schools, 50,426 teachers have been recruited and for upper primary, secondary and HS schools, 27,572 teachers have been recruited.
Other recruitments: A total of 182 education supervisors and 200 group D staff (on a contractual basis) have been engaged across the State.
In-service teacher training: More than 7.5 lakh teachers have been provided in-service training.
Drinking water and toilets: All schools have been provided with safe drinking water and toilets.
E-classrooms: To improve the standard of instructions with the help of technology, the Government is seeking to set up e-classrooms across the State. Related infrastructure has been provided in 2,000 secondary and 650 primary schools. More such classrooms are being set up.
Computers: To encourage the use of computers in schools, 5,591 secondary schools have been provided with 56,060 computers.
Recreational infrastructure: This again is a new initiative for the State Government. Recreational infrastructure like see-saws, swings, slides, among others, has been provided in 990 primary schools.
Libraries: Library grants to the tune of Rs 17.60 crore have been provided to 3,447 schools.
Laboratories: Laboratory grants to tune of Rs 68.98 crore has been provided to 4,238 schools.
Additional classrooms: In the period covering the last seven financial years, from when the Trinamool Congress Government came to power, 96,428 additional classrooms were constructed by the State Government and the construction of 95,378 additional classrooms was facilitated by the Government under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA).
New buildings: In the last seven financial years, new buildings were constructed for 586 newly set up primary schools, 4,211 newly set up upper primary schools, 2,733 Shishu Shiksha Kendras (SSK) and 171 Madhyamik Shiksha Kendras (MSK).
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGVB): From FY 2011-12 to 2017-18, a total of 51,259 students have been enrolled in KGVBs, which are residential girls’ secondary schools for the weaker sections of society.
Hostels: From FY 2011-12 to 2017-18, 92 KGBV hostels, with 8,472 students, have been made functional. Fifty-bedded girls’ hostels were approved for 139 Government-aided and Government-sponsored schools and 39 integrated BRGF Schools.
Upgrading of schools: In the last seven years (till March 2018), 575 junior high schools were upgraded to secondary schools and 1,924 secondary schools were upgraded to higher secondary schools.
Special training: Of the total enrolment of 3,59,851 out-of-school children in the last seven years, 3,21,223 have been provided with special training.
Early Grade Reading & Numeracy (EGRaN): With a view to ensuring early grade reading and numeracy skills for primary school children, a total of 52,000 primary schools have been covered by EGRaN training till April 1, 2018.
Residential school for deprived urban children: Such schools are functional since FY 2011-12. A total of 9,478 students have been enrolled, 2,507 of them in FY 2017-18.
Children with Special Needs (CWSN): For such children, computer-aided learning is being provided in 1,382 schools and aids and appliances have been provided to 93,644 students.
Allowances: Transport allowance has been provided to 2,61,950 students and escort allowance (for children with special needs) to 1,77,252 students in the last 7 financial years.
Scholarships: From FY 2016-17, Swami Vivekananda Merit-cum-Means Scholarship, at the rate of Rs 12,000 per year, is being given to students who have scored at least 75 per cent marks and whose family incomes are below Rs 2.5 lakh a year. A total of 87,685 students have been given this scholarship till FY 2017-18.