Gujarat Budget: Schools of Excellence with state, Centre, foreign funding

Ritu Sharma
gujarat education budget, gujarat education fund, Gujarat schools excellence project, nabard, adb, asian infrastructure investment bank, indian express

An allocation of Rs 1,213 crore has been announced in the state government budget on Wednesday for the ‘Mission Schools of Excellence’ project. (File Photo)

The Gujarat education department has announced the Mission Schools of Excellence project for government schools, with a multi-level funding of state government, Central government as well as national and foreign funding agencies.

While a total allocation of Rs 1,213 crore has been announced in the state government budget on Wednesday for the ‘Mission Schools of Excellence’ project, a separate sub-head is also provided in the budget for ‘External Assistance Funding’ in order to converge funds from central government and external funding agencies.

Sources revealed that the proposal for the same has been approved by foreign financial institutions, including the World Bank, while discussions are on with Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as well as national financial institution — National Bank for Agriculture and Rural development (NABARD).

Though a project with a similar name is already running in Delhi schools, secretary education Vinod Rao declined any similarity between the two projects and told The Indian Express, “This is a 360-degree intervention with a larger vision on a holistic education system in the state while the Delhi government’s project is only infrastructure intensive intervention.”

The funding of Rs 250 crore announced on Wednesday in the state budget for the year 2020-’21 is aimed at scaling up the project in next five years. Another Rs 650 crore is allocated for school infrastructure, Rs 125 crore for smart classrooms and Rs 188 crore to Gujarat Institute of Educational Technology (GIET) for setting up command and control centre, computer labs and multiple interventions across these schools.

The state government aims to provide world class infrastructure, smart classes, computer labs, science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) labs and higher quality of teaching and learning to students, 500 ‘Schools of Excellence’ would be developed in the pilot phase during 2020-21.

The aim of increasing the declining enrollment in state government schools is not ruled out and the state government also aims at reverse migration from private to government schools.

Rao said, “The mission will also focus on intensive training and capacity building of teachers by strengthening of Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) and District Institute of Educational and Training (DIETs), Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB) as well as Indian Institute of Teacher Education (IITE).”

The larger vision is to convert about 15,000 government primary schools (with more than 150 students) and about 5,000 secondary and higher secondary schools into ‘Schools of Excellence’ in the next five years.

The Gujarat education department is aiming to participate in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the international assessment to evaluate education systems worldwide by measuring 15-year old school students performance on maths, science and reading, in 2024.

Thus, improvement in “grade appropriate learning outcomes” and “higher order thinking skills” across all schools is being worked upon.