Cabinet clears PM-SHRI plan to upgrade over 14.5k schools

Published on Sep 07, 2022 11:57 PM IST

The scheme was announced on Teachers’ Day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said these schools would serve as model institutes and will encapsulate the spirit of NEP 2020

New Delhi: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with I & B Minister Anurag Thakur briefs the media on Cabinet decisions at National Media Centre, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma) (PTI09_07_2022_000124B) (PTI)
New Delhi: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan with I & B Minister Anurag Thakur briefs the media on Cabinet decisions at National Media Centre, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. (PTI Photo/Vijay Verma) (PTI09_07_2022_000124B) (PTI)

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a 27,360 crore Pradhan Mantri Schools For Rising India (PM-SHRI) scheme for upgradation of 14,500 schools across the country over the next five years, education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

The scheme is expected to benefit 1.8 million students. Of the project’s total cost, the Centre’s share would be 18,128 crore, the minister added.

The scheme was announced on Teachers’ Day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said these schools would serve as model institutes and will encapsulate the spirit of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Existing schools managed by the central government, states, Union territories and local bodies will be strengthened under the PM-SHRI scheme, Pradhan told reporters after the meeting.

“PM SHRI schools will showcase all components of the NEP 2020, act as exemplary schools and also offer mentorship to other schools in their vicinity. The first batch of such schools will start from this year,” he said.

The minister also said that these schools will have a registry for tracking enrolment and learning progress. “This initiative will be launched in all schools across the country. But we will launch it in pilot mode in PM-SHRI schools this year,” he said.

The funds will be directly sent to schools via direct benefit transfer (DBT), Pradhan said.

“Principals and school committees will have the flexibility of deciding where to utilise 40% of the funds allocated to them. A transparent criteria will be set for this purpose. This flexibility will be given to schools for the first time in the country,” he said.

In a statement, the government said these schools will adopt more experimental and holistic pedagogy as envisaged in NEP 2020 and use play-toy-based, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centered, discussion-based, flexible, and enjoyable learning methods.

These schools will follow a different assessment method than the traditional one and assess students on conceptual understanding and application of knowledge to real-life situations, and be competency-based, it added.

The selection for PM-SHRI schools will be done through a “challenge mode” wherein schools will compete to become “exemplar schools”, according to the statement.

“The schools (are) required to self apply on an online portal. The portal will be opened four times a year; once every quarter, for the first two years of the scheme,” it said.

The selection process will comprise three stages with definite timelines. In the first stage, states or Union territories would agree to implement NEP in its entirety with the Centre laying down commitments for supporting schools for achieving specified quality assurance.

In the second stage, a pool of those eligible to be selected under PM-SHRI will be identified based on prescribed minimum benchmarks. As part of the third stage, schools from this pool will then compete to fulfill the commitments. The fulfillment of conditions would be certified through physical inspections.

“Maximum two schools… (one elementary, one secondary/senior secondary) would be selected per block/ULB (urban local body) with (an) upper limit of (a) number of total schools across India. Geo-tagging of schools for the selection and monitoring of PM SHRI schools will be done,” the statement said.

The selected schools will be developed as “green schools”, incorporating environment-friendly aspects such as solar panels and LED lights, nutrition gardens with natural farming, waste management, plastic-free, water conservation and harvesting and study of traditions/practices related to protection of the environment, among others, the statement said.

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