UNICEF India in partnership with MHRD today organized a ‘Shiksha Mela – Education Open Day’ to demonstrate case stories showcasing holistic and equitable quality education achieved through convergent programming across 17 Indian states.
An innovative marketplace, creatively exhibiting the education milestones during the lifecycle of every child were on display. This accompanied with a powerful narrative was used to showcase cases from diverse part of the country. These included how early childhood education for early learning and school readiness had been strengthened, how strategic initiatives through which out-of-school children were brought back to school and motivational programmes such as sports for Development and Meena Manches which helped children stay in school. Many other cases also highlighted how skills nurtured in children and young people, enabled their transition to secondary education.
Another critical dimension was the engagement of communities in the education of their children and how they were mobilized to demand and participate in education.
Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India, while speaking on this occasion, lauded the efforts of the Government of India in speeding up its commitment to get all children into school and learning. “Since the enactment of the Right to Education Act, much progress has been made in areas of systemic readiness, improved access and enrolment of children, providing infrastructure especially sanitation facilities in schools, recruitment of teachers and training of untrained teachers. Children are indeed performing reasonably well in the early classes. Still there is a need to do more for translating these results for higher classes and assuring that the requisite skills are built for smooth transition to livelihood.”
“The Samagra Scheme which merges the three flagship programmes-Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Teacher Education aims to provide equitable access and improve quality of learning and governance. This step is critical for India today, to build foundational skills of literacy and numeracy as well as transferable skills that gives children the basis for navigating the dynamic skills agenda for India’s adolescents and youth,” said Dr. Haque.
Focusing on scaling up successful examples from the field, Euphrates Gobina, Chief of Education, UNICEF India facilitated a panel discussion on this occasion. The panelists discussed a few examples of scaling up with quality while highlighting the challenges and solutions for scaling up.
Anil Swarup, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, MHRD, while delivering his keynote address, emphasized on the need for digitization in education.
A ‘Data Visualization App’, which provides user-friendly and visual representation of complex analytics of the education scenario in the country was also launched on this occasion. The app has been made with technical inputs from UNICEF, in collaboration with NIEPA and NCERT. It uses UDISE (Unified District Information System for Education), NAS (National Assessment survey) and Demographic data and is an important visual tool for policy makers, senior government officials, academia, and researchers to address gaps and monitor programs in the field of education.