Union Cabinet approves PM-SHRI scheme for school upgradation

Sep 07, 2022 04:53 PM IST

In a statement, the government said these schools will adopt more experimental and holistic pedagogy as envisaged in the NEP 2020

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Pradhan Mantri Schools For Rising India (PM-SHRI) scheme for the upgradation of 14,500 schools across the country and 27, 360 crore for it for five years. The Centre will contribute 18, 128 crore to the scheme, which is expected to benefit 1.8 million students.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scheme on the occasion of the Teachers’ Day on Monday. (Hindustan Times)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scheme on the occasion of the Teachers’ Day on Monday. (Hindustan Times)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scheme on the occasion of Teachers’ Day on Monday and said these schools will be model institutes and encapsulate the full spirit of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said existing schools managed by the Central government, states, union territories, and local bodies will be strengthened under the scheme. “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.”

Pradhan said the schools will have a registry for tracking enrolment and learning progress. “This initiative will be launched in all schools across the country. But we are launching it in pilot mode in PM-SHRI schools from this year.”

Pradhan said funds will be directly transferred to the schools via Direct Benefit Transfer mode. “Principals and school committees will have the flexibility of deciding where to utilise 40% of the funds allocated to them. Transparent criteria will be set for this purpose. This flexibility will be given to schools for the first time in the country.”

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

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

The selection process will have 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 the 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. The schools from the pool will then compete to fulfil the challenge conditions. 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 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, the study of traditions/practices related to the protection of the environment, etc.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier on Wednesday wrote a letter to Modi over the modernisation of 14,500 schools under the scheme and said it will take 100 years to upgrade the government schools if they work at this pace. He requested Modi to prepare a plan for the redevelopment of all one million government-run schools in the country.

Kejriwal said the condition of over 80% of the government schools was worse than a junkyard. “If we give such education to our children’s crores, how will India become a developed country?”

Kejriwal wrote the letter on the day he began Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s ‘Make India Number One’ campaign from Haryana. He has been citing his work in key areas such as education and healthcare in Delhi as AAP seeks to make inroads beyond its stronghold.

AAP formed the government in Punjab this year and fancies its chances in places such as Modi’s home state of Gujarat, where polls are due this year, with a focus on issues like education.

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