Vinod Khosla in one of his talks says that leadership is about having an internal compass. One needs to a clear vision of goal and a sense of direction to be able to take decisions in complex situations, else one might just succumb to outside pressure and do what is being asked for instead of doing what is needed. What can be that internal compass for a decision maker in school education?
IV. Comprehensive approach to change - There are broadly five different aspects to education reform.
- Economics of education: How much money is spent? How efficiently is it spent?
- Governance: Aspects related to accountability, performance, and infrastructure.
- Pedagogy: How do you teach a particular concept? What are the problems that students face? How does one assess a child’s learning?
- Sociology: What is the purpose of education? Is it about making better citizens? Is it just about building skills?
- Politics of education: Dealing with teacher unions, and other political challenges associated with reforms.
VII. Don't let the best be the enemy of good, play as per your capacity - It is desirable to aspire and achieve high standards but one should act as per current capacity (state capacity should also be a factor in prioritizing policies). Else, we may end up achieving neither the high goals nor the basic ones. Prioritize as per the situation of state capacity. Some initiatives which are good for contexts of weak state capacity needn't be so for contexts of strong state capacity and vice-versa.
- Appoint Chief Evaluation Officer and Chief Data Scientist - Chief Data Scientist and Chief Evaluation Officer will be together responsible for building data systems, procuring and maintain necessary data, assist districts in evaluating some of their initiatives and share inputs for policy making.
- Guest lectures in schools – Children love new people in school. Renowned personalities or alumnus can be invited to share thoughts with students, give them guidance and advice etc.
- Connecting old students to teachers – Seeing successful students is one of the best forms of satisfaction for a teacher. A simple platform could be built where old students can request details of their teacher and both can be connected.
- Chief Minister or District Collector or public representatives meeting teachers regularly – This can be done once in a month where group of teachers get to meet these people and share their thoughts, concerns etc. This can give sense of empowerment to teachers.
- Influential people teaching part-time in schools – This can increase the societal value associated with the teaching profession.
- Exchange of teachers - Either teachers from other schools for short durations, 1 or 2 days, for a change and also to exchange best practices.
- Tie up with junior colleges (+2) for admitting high performing students from public schools – This is to give launch pad to hard working children to get into good undergraduate colleges.
- Remaking brand image of government schools – Public schools have a bad image associated with them. A small sort of marketing or PR campaign to rebuild the image of public schools.
- Data base of health metrics – Similar to learning outcomes, health metrics of all children can be tracked.
- Dashboard with schools and their facilities – A clear dashboard showing the status of infrastructure and other details of school. Volunteers can update these details based on their visits. The idea is to ensure all facilities in a time bound manner so that the attention can be focused on other areas.
- Involve university students as volunteers to encourage enrolments in secondary school – Information on returns to education and convincing parents to send their students to school, especially in secondary schools and marginalized communities can be valuable. University students in towns and cities can be involved
- Felicitate parents – This is to increase societal value to education and encourage parents.
[38th post in the 'Ensuring a Learning India' series. 42 posts in total. One post per day. 4 more to go]
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