Gujarat is a real path breaking state in India. If only the other states can learn from Gujarat.
Instead of focusing only on input requirements specified in the Act like classroom size, playground, and teacher-student ratio, the Gujarat RTE Rules put greater emphasis on learning outcomes of students in the recognition norms. Appendix 1 of the Gujarat Rules is the one which has a path-breaking formulation for recognition of a school: this will be a weighted average of four measures:
Student learning outcomes (absolute levels): Weight 30 percent.
Using standardised tests, student learning levels focussing on learning (not just rote) will be measured through an independent assessment.
Student learning outcomes (improvement compared to the school’s past performance): Weight 40 percent.
This component is introduced to ensure that schools do not show a better result in (1) simply by not admitting weak students. The effect of school performance looking good simply because of students coming from well-to-do backgrounds is also automatically addressed by this measure. Only in the first year, this measure will not be available and the weightage should be distributed among the other parameters.
Inputs (including facilities, teacher qualifications): Weight 15 percentStudent non-academic outcomes (co-curricular and sports, personality and values) and parent feedback: weight 15 percent.
Student outcomes in non-academic areas as well as feedback from a random sample of parents should be used to determine this parameter. Standardised survey tools giving weightage to cultural activities, sports, art should be developed. The parent feedback should cover a random sample of at least 20 parents across classes and be compiled.
This is one of the first times in India’s history that public policy has focused on children and parents, instead of focusing on the public sector producers of education services.