Himachal Pradesh is a high performer in education. Some districts can have a literacy rate as high as 89%. The enrolment ratios at school and college levels are also significantly higher than the rest of the country. However, this has not translated into an improvement inskill levels of the workforce. The attendance levels in schools and colleges were found to be extremely low, while according to most stakeholders, learning levels among students were unsatisfactory. As a result, despite high investment in educational infrastructure, there is a mismatch between demand and supply of skilled labour. Due to lack of employability in the private sector, most graduates covet government jobs. Since the public sector is incapable of employing so many graduates, unemployment levels are high. This is highly undesirable, as large-scale unemployment breeds social tensions, and negatively impacts the economy of the district. Our client, the MP, requested the Swaniti team to examine ways to improve the skill level of his constituents.
The Swaniti team, through its interactions with a broad set of stakeholders including local schools, private firms and the government, realized the urgent need to improve the quality of education. The Team found that poorly designed curricula and lack of innovative teaching tools were an important factor behind poor learning outcomes at the school level. In the course of its interactions with teachers, the Team also found that in many schools, curricula are designed in Hindi till Std X, after which there was an abrupt switch to English. The curriculum wasfound to be outdated in many cases with no focus on life skills.
To address some of these problems, Swaniti initiated a newprogramme in some schools. The programintroduced two major interventions in collaboration with the private / voluntary sector:
- Innovative teaching for primary school: Swaniti collaborated with NGOs to develop an after-school programme to improve learning levels. The Team created interesting pedagogic tools. The aim was to make learning more interesting and effective for students.
- After-school visits for better exposure in secondary schools: Swaniti also helped schools to organize visits to local factories to provide them an exposure to shop floor work.
In addition to the above, Swaniti also proposed aprogramme to evolve an assessment system to gauge learning outcomes among primary school students, and develop a tutoring/mentoring programme for students as a supplement to regular school which could have a positive impact on their future job prospects.
Swaniti helped to start after-school programmes in 3 schools, while the assessment programme was initiated in 4 schools. We also initiated dialogue with several vocational training institutions to improve their curriculum and training methodologies.
- Swaniti’s after-school and assessment programmes impacted around 500 students across 4 schools