Mission Schools of Excellence in Adalaj, Gujarat
Recently, the country has entered the era of 5th generation i.e. 5G of mobile and internet. We have used internet services ranging from 1G to 4G. Now 5G is going to bring about a massive change in the country. Not only has the speed increased with every generation, but every generation has linked technology to almost every aspect of life.
Similarly, we have also seen different generations of schools in the country. Now 5G will take our education system to the next level by moving beyond smart facilities, smart classrooms and smart teaching. Now our school students will also be able to experience the power of Virtual Reality and Internet of Things very easily. I am happy that Gujarat has taken a very important and first step in the country in the form of Mission Schools of Excellence.
The change that has come in the education sector in Gujarat in the last two decades is unprecedented. Such was the condition 20 years ago that 20 out of 100 children in Gujarat did not go to school. That is, one fifth of the students were left out of education. Moreover, most of the school going students used to drop out by the time they reached 8th standard. Unfortunately, the condition of the daughters was worse. Daughters of many villages were not sent to school altogether. There were no resources to teach science as a subject in whatever education centers that existed in the tribal areas.
The children who I met now were those who were admitted to school for the first time in 2003. I had gone to a tribal village then. It was the middle of June with temperature hovering around 40-45 degrees centigrade. I had gone to a village where children had the least education, and the condition of girls was very poor. I told the villagers that I had come to them to ask for something. I asked for a promise that they would educate their daughters. I am privileged to meet the children today whom I had taken to the school for the first time.
On this occasion, I bow to their parents for acceding to my request. I just took them to school. Realizing the importance of education, they taught their children as much as they could and today those children have become independent.
The people of Gujarat have transformed the education system in their state in the last two decades. More than 1.25 lakh new classrooms were built and more than 2 lakh teachers were recruited in Gujarat in these two decades. I still remember the day when ‘Shala Praveshotsav’ (the drive to enroll students in primary schools) and ‘Kanya Kelavani Mahotsav’ (encouraging formal education with special focus on the girls) started. The idea was to celebrate as a festival when the sons and daughters go to school for the first time. There should be celebration in the family, in the locality and in the whole village, because we are making a beginning to educate the new generation of the country. As the Chief Minister, I myself went to villages and requested all the people to send their daughters to school and the result is that today almost every son and daughter in Gujarat has started going to schools and colleges.
Along with this, we have also given maximum emphasis on quality and outcome of education. That’s why we started ‘Gunotsav’ (an initiative to assess learning outcomes of children) along with ‘Praveshotsav’. I remember very well that every student was assessed in detail according to his abilities, interests and his indifference. Along with them, the teachers were also assessed.
Besides the school departments, our bureaucrats, even police officers and forest officials used to go to schools in the villages for three days as part of the campaign.
A few days ago when I came to Gandhinagar, I was pleased to see a very advanced, technology-based version of ‘Gunotsav’ in the form of ‘Vidya Samiksha Kendras’ (education review centres). One would be surprised to see the novelty of ‘Vidya Samiksha Kendras’. The Government of India and the Education Minister of the country had recently called a meeting of Education Ministers and officials of the Education Department from across the country to Gandhinagar. All of them spent a considerable part of their time understanding the concept of ‘Vidya Samiksha Kendras’. Now delegates from different states come to study the ‘Vidya Samiksha Kendras’ and try to emulate that model in their respective states. Gujarat deserves congratulations for this initiative.
A central system has been devised to get even minute information of the entire school education of the state. It is kind of an innovative experiment. Thousands of schools, lakhs of teachers and about 1.25 crore students of Gujarat are reviewed here and feedback is given to them. The data is analyzed with techniques like Big Data Analysis, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Video Walls. Accordingly, necessary suggestions are given to the children for better performance.
It is in the DNA and nature of Gujarat to do something new, unique and experiment in the field of education. For the first time, the Institute of Teachers Education for their training was established in Gujarat. Children University here is the only university in the world. Look at the experience of ‘Khel Mahakumbh’. The disciplined work culture in the government machinery, the interest of the youth of Gujarat towards sports and this entire ecosystem is the result of the ‘Khel Mahakumbh’. The National Games were held in Gujarat recently after so many years. The games came in for a lot of praise. Since I am in touch with the players and their coaches, they congratulated me for the event. I told them not to congratulate me because Gujarat’s Chief Minister and the Gujarat government deserve all the accolades. It is because of their effort and hard work that such a big sports festival of the country took place in Gujarat. All the players said Gujarat matched the hospitality and arrangements made during international tournaments. Gujarat has really done a great service to the country by hosting this event successfully, encouraging the sports world and setting high standards. I heartily congratulate the Government of Gujarat, all its officials and all the people from the sports world.
TV had reached 15,000 schools in Gujarat a decade ago. Computer aided learning labs and many such systems had become an integral part of more than 20,000 schools in Gujarat many years ago. Today more than one crore students and four lakh teachers have online attendance in Gujarat. As part of this series of new experiments, today 20,000 schools in Gujarat are going to enter the 5G era of education. Under the Mission Schools of Excellence, 50,000 new classrooms and more than one lakh smart classrooms will be developed in a modern way in these schools. These schools will not only have modern digital and physical infrastructure, but will also make a big difference in the lives of children and their education. Here work will be done on every aspect to increase the capacity of the children.
The 5G technology is going to make the learning systems very easy. If the 2G, 4G and 5G have to be explained in simple terms then 4G is like a cycle and 5G is an airplane. This is the difference. If I have to explain technology in the language of the villages then this is how I will explain. 4G means cycle and 5G means you have an airplane. Such is the power it has.
Congratulations to Gujarat because it has realized the power of 5G and is promoting excellence in modern education which will change the fortunes of Gujarat. And this will give every child the opportunity to learn according to his needs. This will be of great help especially in the education of schools in remote villages. The best teachers will be available in the remote areas through this service. The best teacher would be thousands of kilometers away, but it would appear as if he is present in the classroom. The best content of every subject will be accessible to everyone. Now the best teachers who teach different skills will be able to teach children in different villages and cities in virtual real time. This will also help in removing the gap seen in different schools to a great extent.
These state-of-the-art schools will cater to every need of the students from Anganwadi and Bal Vatika to career guidance and competitive exam preparation. From arts, crafts, business to coding and robotics, every type of education will be available here from a young age. That is, every aspect of the new National Education Policy will be implemented here.
Today, the central government is encouraging similar changes in the entire country through the new National Education Policy. Therefore, the central government has also decided to build more than 14,500 PM Shree schools across the country. This is a pilot project which will be started in different parts of India. It will be monitored for about a year. If there are some shortcomings or there is a need to add something new in the wake of changing technology, it will be done. Efforts will be made in the future to take it to the maximum number of schools in the country by making it a perfect model. These schools will be the model schools for the new National Education Policy across the country.
The central government is going to spend 27,000 crore rupees on this scheme. These schools will complement the new National Education Policy which focuses on critical thinking and envisions providing better education to children in their own language. In a way, they will act as a guide for the rest of the schools.
Education has been the pivot of India’s development since ancient times. We have been supporters of knowledge by nature. Therefore, our ancestors made a mark in knowledge and science, built the best universities in the world hundreds of years ago and established the biggest libraries. However, there was a period when the invaders launched a campaign to destroy this wealth of India. But India did not give up its strong intentions regarding education. It suffered atrocities, but it did not leave the path of education.
This is the reason that even today we have a different identity in the world of knowledge, science and innovation. There is an opportunity to restore its ancient prestige in the ‘Amrit Kaal’ of independence. India has immense potential to become the best knowledge economy in the world and opportunities are also waiting. Most of the innovations related to science, technology and innovations will take place in India in the 21st century. I dare to say this because of my trust in the youth of my country and the talent of the youth of my country.
(Excerpts of Prime Minister’s speech on the launch of Mission Schools of Excellence in Adalaj, Gujarat on October 19)