It has been six months since Gyan Setu, Jharkhand’s flagship learning enhancement program fully launched across all 24 districts in the state. Gyan Setu was conceptualized because a massive percentage of Jharkhand’s students are significantly behind their grade level and struggle with basic literacy and numeracy skills. This is reinforced by reports such as ASER.
Gyan Setu is based on the premise that teaching should be pitched directly at a child’s learning level, a concept that was pioneered by JPAL and Pratham, later reinforced by the World Bank Development Report, 2018 as one of the most scientific methodologies to improve student learning outcomes.
Every morning for the first 1.5 hours, schools in Jharkhand conduct the Gyan Setu period to overcome this gap. Irrespective of their grades, students sit and work in homogeneous learning groups. These groupings have been thought through with immense attention to detail (see images below), keeping in mind the capabilities and bandwidth of our teachers. Students practice in customized workbooks pitched at their individual learning levels before they move on to engaging with grade level syllabus for the rest if the day. For the first 45 days of the project 5-9 grade classes held the “booster phase” where Gyan Setu was conducted all day instead of the first 1.5 hours.
Gyan Setu has had an extremely promising start in Jharkhand. The maximum learning in a school day now happens in these 1.5 hours. This is because for the first time in many years there is a program in school education that is welcomed with immense enthusiasm unanimously by students and teachers. Students, especially potential dropouts who had lost hope of being able to grasp grade level topics are excited to come to school and are getting a second shot at attaining a proper education. Gyan Setu has also led to a drastic rise in teacher interest and motivation. Teachers have started teaching again because teaching students at their levels makes sense and because it is enjoyable again. Gyan Setu has rekindled the initial spark of motivation that every teacher had at some point in their career of working hard to see real impact among their students.
Over the past 6 months Gyan Setu has led to 12% improvement across most competencies (details on spot testing data have been provided on a separate note). As shown in the figure in the right column, students currently in class 5, for example, have already achieved competencies that students in grade 6 students started with in 2018. This trend is similar for most grades.
Projects like these usually show initial momentum and then fizzle out. But Gyan Setu is on a different trajectory because it has been designed and led differently. One of the reasons Gyan Setu has been successful in Jharkhand is that the state has run it with a single minded focus improvement in learning outcomes. This is a message that the state leadership reiterates constantly. There is a common understanding across stakeholders at all levels - all other initiatives running in the government the MIS, school consolidation, teacher rationalization etc. are all meant to contribute to improvement in learning outcomes eventually.
While learning outcomes is the single minded focus, unlike other academic focused projects across the country, there is a lot more to this project than just developing content, training teachers and then hoping for outcomes to improve. The state leadership believes that improvement in learning outcomes requires a holistic approach. Gyan Setu also involves a strategy for robust program implementation, recognition and incentive structures, real time monitoring and impact evaluation:
3.GS certification is a first of a kind incentive program centered purely around the child In addition to strict accountability mesaures as mentioned above, a recognition and rewards program has been designed to motivate stakeholders and generate intrinsic motivation. For the first time, an incentive program is based on achieving learning outcomes metrics. Details on this have been provided on a separate note.
4.Performance is tracked and action is taken daily through state monitoring and field reviews - Every week, data is collected from eVidyaVahini based on field entries by CRPs / BRPs. Thereafter, the state PMU translates the data into meaningful insights and directly calls on-ground stakeholders to further understand gaps. Based on the final analysis, field visits to schools and block offices are conducted to comprehensively review implementation. Based on the final report, a clear, plan of action is created jointly with key district officials, including the Deputy Commissioner.
Number of schools conducting GS in Palamu for example, improved from 19% to 60% after a two week
Recently, the state has moved from targeting poor performing districts to a greater level of granularity. The table shows a month long action created to transform the bottom 24 blocks in Jharkhand.
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