The latest edition of the Performance Grading Index (PGI) was released by the Education Ministry.
The Indian Education System is one of the largest in the world with more than 1.5 million schools, 8.5 million teachers and 250 million children from varied socio-economic backgrounds. The system strives to maintain standards and uniformity across the country while giving ample scope for the country’s diverse culture and heritage to grow and flourish.
The Performance Grading Index (PGI) is a tool to provide insights on the status of school education in States and UTs including key levers that drive their performance and critical areas for improvement. Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL) has designed the PGI to catalyse transformational change in the field of school education.
The architecture of the PGI emanates from the rationale that ensuring an efficient, inclusive and equitable school education system is contingent upon the constant monitoring of an interconnected matrix of inputs, outputs and outcomes, and the development of a quick response system for course correction.
The PGI is structured in two categories, namely, Outcomes, and Governance & Management and comprises 70 indicators in aggregate with a total weightage of 1000.
The information on the indicators are drawn from data available with the DoSEL from the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE), National Achievement Survey (NAS) of NCERT, Mid Day Meal website, Public Financial Management System (PFMS) and the information uploaded by the States and UTs on the Shagun portal of DoSEL.
The total weightage under the PGI is 100 points with each of the 70 indicators assigned a weightage of either 10 or 20 points. The States and UTs have been assessed on the basis of their performance against the benchmark for each indicator.
Weightages against each indicator have been divided into 10 groups- 0,1-10,11-20 and so on upto 91-100, Thus, a State which has achieved 91% of the benchmark of an Indicator, will get maximum points (10 or 20 whichever is applicable for the particular indicator), However, in case of a few Indicators, a lower value would score a higher weightage e.g. equity indicators, time taken for release of funds and single teacher schools.
The grades are based on the scores obtained by the States and UTs on the performance on all the 70 indicators during 2017-2018 (Except the data sourced from UDISE which is for the year 2016-17).
Thus, the grading categories are relative and can change depending upon the best performers in a given year. At the same time, all 36 States and UTs can occupy the highest grade simultaneously.
Performance of states and UTs
The grades of the States and UTs, based on PGI are as below. .
1. Inter State Differential: On a maximum possible of 1000 points, the range between the States and UTs with the highest and the lowest score is almost 300 which is 30% of the maximum points. Thus there exists a considerable difference within the States and UTs as far as their performance in the arena of School Education is concerned as assessed by the PGI.
2. Best Achievers vis-a-vis the Ultimate Goal: As can be observed from the table below, the States and UTs which are in Grade 1 as per the evaluation this year, still have considerable ground to cover to reach the maximum aggregate of 1000 points.
Thus, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, which are in the top level (Grade I++), are ranked 29th, 35th, 23rd, 20th and 10th respectively in terms of their size. Similarly, the States which are in Grades IV, V and VII, are ranked 17th (Ladakh), 24th (Meghalaya), 26th (Nagaland), 14th (Arunachal Pradesh) and 9th (Chhattisgarh)respectively.
3. Size vis-a-vis Performance: The Performance of a State/UT is often perceived to be linked to the size (geographical area) of the State/UT as it has a bearing on several logistic, administrative and other issues. However, size does not appear to be a determining factor in the performance of States and UTs in the field of School education as assessed by the PGI.
4. Population vis-a-vis Performance: Population may be construed to be a hindrance to development as it tends to increase the financial burden of interventions by the Government. In terms of population size, In terms of population size, the Level 2/Grade I++ States and UTs are 33rd (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), 31st (Chandigarh), 13th (Kerala), 16th (Punjab), and 6th (Tamil Nadu). The population ranking of five States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Meghalaya and Nagaland, which are in Grades 4 or below, are 28th, 35th, 24th and 26th respectively. Hence, the effect of population on the performance of States and UTs is inconclusive.
5. The Weakest Links: While it is common knowledge that shortage of teachers and principals and administrative staff, lack of regular supervision and inspection, inadequate training of the teachers, timely availability of finances (all of which are captured in the Governance and Management Domain) are some of the factors plaguing the education system in the country, it is for the first time that there is a reliable tool which corroborates this. Through the PGI, the shortfalls can be measured objectively and regularly. This is crucial for taking necessary steps to eliminate the gaps.
The second areas that requires attention is the Domain for Infrastructure and facilities where the lowest score obtained was only 38% of the Maximum points. This is a cause for concern as a proper school building with adequate facilities is a must to improve the overall quality of school education. Indicators like availability of ICT facilities, timely availability of textbooks and uniforms, which are critical inputs for better performance of students (and mentioned in the RTE Act), are measured in the Infrastructure & Facilities Domain. Significant shortfalls in these areas have also been captured by the Index.
6. Learning Outcomes: This is perhaps the most important Domain and is the ultimate goal of the Index. However, unlike other Domains which are relatively easier to comply with e.g. providing infrastructure facilities or setting up mechanisms to check attendance, improving learning outcomes takes time and patience. All the other Domains support Learning Outcomes and converge towards it. It has been observed that, in general, the scores of learning outcomes obtained in the higher standards are less than those in the lower standards. It is therefore, imperative to ensure better interventions at the lower standards as it will have a positive cascading effect at the higher levels.
- A reliable, timely and participative information system coupled with a robust and efficient data analytics framework is the key to successful implementation of any Government programme.
- In the arena of School Education & Literacy, guided by the enabling legislative framework of the Right to Education, the National Education Policy 2020 and visionary Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Government Schemes like Samagra Shiksha (SS), Mid-Day Meal (MDM) and similar such schemes by the States would deliver the desired result if they are monitored effectively.
- The framework of a real time data availability system (namely, UDISE+, Shagun, etc.) and an objective and holistic performance evaluation framework provided through the PGI would provide the right combination for effective implementation of policy in the School Education sector.
- A performance-based grant would provide the required incentive to the States and UTs to ensure their continuous and focused attention to this sector, which is crucial for overall growth and development of the country.