NITI Aayog conducts workshop with States

NITI Aayog organized the first regional workshop on the School Education Quality Index (SEQI) in collaboration with the Ministry of HRD to improve the learning outcomes among school children in the national capital on Thursday. The workshops on SEQI saw striking evidence on factors that determine the quality of school education being presented by the participants from the northern region. The objective was to sensitize and support States/ UTs in improving learning outcomes among school children across India.

The SEQI is a composite index that will report annual improvements of States on key domains of education quality, conceptualized and designed by NITI Aayog and the MHRD. The larger vision of the index is to shift the focus of States from inputs towards outcomes, provide objective benchmarks for continuous annual improvements, encourage state-led innovations to improve quality and facilitate sharing of best practices.

In order to precisely report the quality of education imparted across India, the SEQI is divided into two categories: Outcomes and Governance & Management. These are further divided into three domains of Outcomes (Learning, Access and Equity) and two domains of Governance & Management (Governance Processes and Structural Reforms). Currently the index has 34 indicators and 1000 points, with the highest weightage given to learning outcomes (600 out of 1000 points).

In his address, Prof. Kartik Muralidharan, Associate Professor in the Economics Department at University of California and Honorary Adviser, NITI Aayog said, “Highest quality evidence available suggests that across the board increase in education spending in India has not led to an improvement in learning outcomes. Inputs such as infrastructure, teacher training, student-teacher ratio etc. alone have had negligible impact on student learning,” Calling for a greater focus on governance and teaching at the child’s level, he added that integrating inputs with accountability and early childhood literacy/numeracy will radically transform the quality of education imparted in schools.

Additional Secretary, NITI Aayog Shri Alok Kumar highlighted NITI Aayog’s role and its vision for improving social sector outcomes. Additional Secretary,School Education and Literacy, MHRD, Smt. Rina Ray shared key reform initiatives of MHRD and the complementary nature of SEQI with these initiatives. Adviser, Education, NITI Aayog Smt. Alka Tiwari underlined the the importance of State-led efforts in measuring and improving education outcomes. She emphasized that the goal of the index is not so much to compare the levels of States but to compare the improvements that States make on the index.

Honorary Adviser, NITI Aayog Professor Karthik Muralidharan also shared evidence-based research underpinning the development of the index. The team from Central Square Foundation discussed the components and data requirements for the index. The SEQI will also feature innovative practices of States to improve education quality. The final report will be generated in June, 2017.

Senior education functionaries from Delhi, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh took part in the deliberations and shared their feedback on the index. The event was also attended by representatives from NUEPA, NCERT, NCTE and other autonomous institutions. Over the coming weeks, NITI Aayog will hold these workshops for all States in different centers across India.

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