Punjab topped the national performance grading index of school education for 2019-20 released by the Centre on Sunday.
Punjab, which has improved its showing from 13th position it attained in 2018-19, topped the charts this time among all the states and union territories with a score of 929 out of 1,000, followed by Chandigarh (912) and Tamil Nadu (906). The performance grading index ranks the states on a set of 70 parameters relating to learning outcomes and quality, access, infrastructure and facilities, equity and governance processes to catalyse transformational change in the field of school education, according to a school education department official.
“Happy to share that Punjab has been ranked as top performer among all States and UTs in school education in the Performance Grading Index 2019-20. This is the result of focus, hard work and commitment of all our teachers and administrators,” chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh tweeted after the rankings were released by the Union ministry of education. Neighbouring Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are at 11th and 13th positions.
Shot in the arm in poll year
The national school education grading comes as a much-needed boost for the Amarinder Singh government ahead of the state elections, as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the principal opposition party, is trying to corner the ruling Congress on school education.
The AAP has been repeatedly comparing the state of government schools and their performance in Punjab with that in Delhi, where its national convener Arvind Kejriwal heads the government, telling Amarinder to learn from him.
Punjab is the top performer whereas Delhi is at number six in theses rankings, giving the former an upper hand. The assembly elections in Punjab are due early next year.
Stands out in school infra, access
The state has done well in infrastructure and facilities in schools, access and governance processes as compared to previous years, the ministry report showed.
The school education department has given a facelift to many of its schools across the state, improving the available infrastructure and facilities, and has scored the maximum 150 points.
Similarly, it is on top in access to school education, governance reforms and providing equal opportunities to disadvantaged sections, including girls and differently abled children.
Education quality a concern
Despite its enormous leap in rankings, Punjab remains a laggard in learning outcomes and quality of education. The state has ranked 27 in this category with a score of 126 out of 180, according to the report.
It lags behind Rajasthan (169), Chandigarh (160), Karnataka (160), Jharkhand (156), Gujarat (152), Andhra Pradesh (154), Himachal Pradesh (140) and Haryana (134). However, the state has done better than Delhi, which has a score of 124.
The scores are based on annual assessments and National Achievement Survey, which was last carried out two years ago.
Result of sustained efforts: Minister
Punjab school education minister Vijay Inder Singla said the state’s top ranking in the performance grading index was the result of sustained and concentrated efforts of the state government.
“The government has not only taken new initiatives but also introduced several reforms which brought the much-desired optimal education outcomes at every level,” he said in a statement.
Among these initiatives, he listed the smart school policy, online teacher transfer policy, introduction of pre-primary classes, teacher recruitment, online education and distribution of free smartphones.