Why A Ranking System for Schools?
Nagati Narayana & V Anthaiah
THE Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is going to introduce a ranking system for Kendriya Vidyalayas in June next year, according to media reports. While the stated objective for the reported move is to “improve quality”, the ploy is to cut down on government spending and privatise school education. Educationists have warned against such a move. If private schools are later included in the ranking system, schools run and aided by governments may be left behind, which will ultimately encourage people to send their wards to private schools. Hence, it is a duty of every Indian to oppose such a policy and safeguard government schools. Otherwise, the poor will be losing out on getting education.
According to the reports, Kendriya Vidyalayas will be assessed for 1,000 points under seven different heads, and will be listed under four categories. Category A: scoring 80 per cent and above points (excellent), Category B: Scoring points between 60 and 79.9 per cent (very good), Category C: Scoring points between 40 and 59.9 per cent (good), and Category D: Scoring points below 40 per cent (average).
The seven different heads under which the assessment will take place are:
Academic Performance (500 points): The guidelines are yet to be issued. But it is a fact that Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) are known for their excellent academic performance. They always bag first and second positions in the CBSE results in both Class X and Class XII. This only possible because almost all KVs are showing same type of academic performance. So, it may be difficult to rank based on this. KVs are known for their supervisory methods and inspection mechanisms. Over the years, they have evolved successful methods to raise the academic standards. Most of the KVs produce good results in every academic year and they are assessed on the basis of performance index. If any KV performs bad in exams, the principal and subject teachers concerned are either warned orally or in written communiqué. Sometimes punishments are also awarded. Then what is the necessity of introducing a new system of ranking? KVs are inspected by an academic panel inspection team under the leadership of an assistant commissioner of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and assessed under different heads with allotted points and these vidyalayas are intimated about the points awarded after the inspection. Moreover, there are many other factors which influence the academic performance of a KV such as socio-economic status of students, rural or urban, educational background of parents, and literacy of the states. By not taking these factors into account and applying the same yardstick for all KVs for rankings is most unscientific.
Infrastructure (150 points): Infrastructure facilities more or less remain same in most of KVs because they are provided as per the directions of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan headquarters. KVs that have permanent staff will have sufficient funds in their Vidyalaya Vikas Nidhi (VVN). KVs located in city outskirts, districts and other towns suffer due to lack of funds in VVN as they pay salaries of ad-hoc teachers. The sangathan do not provide funds for infrastructure development.
School Administration (120 points): The job of the administration at vidyalaya level, i.e. principal level, is to see that instructions issued by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan headquarters and regional offices are being implemented properly or not. To see its implementation, the regional office concerned will take regular feedback and give suggestions for improvement, any difference is only due to factors mentioned earlier. Moreover, school administration in KVs is a centralised one. So, there are doubts how this will help in the new ranking system.
Finance (70 points): A few years ago, KVs used to get total finance from the MHRD. After the fee hike in KVs, the funds from the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan headquarters are not released in certain areas. They have stopped recruitment of Group-D staff and the vidyalayas are going for private conservancy, security, sanitation, etc. A good amount of VVN is spent under these heads. From where will the vidyalaya mobilise the finance? Is the MHRD trying tell the vidyalayas to go for mobilising finances from corporates and other sources to do better in the ranking system?
Community Participation (60 points): Community participation in KVs is at its maximum only in Kerala. In many other states, parent-teacher associations are non-functional, and parent-teacher meetings are conducted only to discuss the performance of their wards in school exams. Hence, assessment under this head may not yield expected results in other states and schools of such places may lose rank.
Grace marks (90 points): This type of assessment modalities have to be studied.
Observation by Inspectors (10 points): This varies from inspector to inspector in his/her perception of the things. Who are the inspectors? Officers from the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan or CBSE or any private agency?