By Nagati Narayana and V Anthaiah
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) recently announced plans to introduce a ranking system for Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) from next June. While the ranking would be an annual event, inspections would be held twice in an academic year.
According to sources, KVs will be assessed for 1000 points under seven different heads and will be graded under four categories. Category A: scoring 80 per cent and above (Excellent), Category B: scoring between 60 and 79.9 per cent (Very good), Category C: scoring between 40 and 59.9 per cent (Good), and Category D: scoring below 40 per cent (Average).
On each of the seven criteria formulated for ranking KVs across the country, there are important questions to be considered.
1. Academic Performance (500 Points): The guidelines for this assessment are yet to be issued. But it is well-known that Kendriya Vidyalayas are recognised for their excellent academic performance. They always stand first and second in the CBSE results, both in Class 10 and Class 12, every year. They are known for their supervisory methods and inspection mechanisms. Over the years they have evolved successful methods to raise their academic standards.
Most KVs produce 100% results in every academic year and are assessed on the basis of a Performance Index. If any KV performs badly in exams, the principal and concerned subject teachers are either warned orally or in a written communication. Sometimes punishments are also awarded.
Kendriya Vidyalayas are inspected by an academic panel under the leadership of the concerned Assistant Commissioner of the Vidyalaya, assessed under different heads and allotted points. Then the Vidyalayas are informed about the points awarded to them after the inspection.
So, what is the necessity of introducing this new system of rankings?
Moreover, there are many other factors which influence the academic performance of a KV, such as the socio-economic status of the students, the rural or urban location, categories of parents, educational background of parents, literacy rate in the state, and so on.
Not taking these factors into account and applying the same yardstick to all Kendriya Vidyalayas for rankings is most unscientific.
2. Infrastructure (150 points): Facilities remain more or less the same in most Kendriya Vidyalayas, because they are provided as per the directions from the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), an administrative body that runs these schools. Those KVs that have permanent staff usually have sufficient funds in their Vidyalaya Vikas Nidhi (VVN).
KVs located on the outskirts of cities, or in districts and smaller towns suffer due to a lack of funds in their VVN, as these Vidyalayas also pay the salaries of ad hoc teachers. KVS does not provide funds for infrastructure development. So, these KVs may not be able to compete at the time of ranking and may get lower grades.
3. School Administration (120 Points): Administration at the Vidyalaya level, that is at principal level, exists to ensure that instructions issued by the KVS headquarters and KVS regional offices are being implemented. The concerned regional office gets regular feedback and gives suggestions for improvement.
Any difference in administration is only due to the factors mentioned earlier. Moreover, school administration in KVs is centralized, so it is doubtful how this will help in ranking KVs.
4. Finance (70 Points): Till a few years ago, KVS used to receive all of its finances from the MHRD. After the fee hike in KVs, funds from KVS headquarters are not released in certain areas. Recruitment of Group-D staff has been stopped and KVs are going in for private conservancy, security, sanitation, and so on. So, a good amount of the VVN is spent under these heads.
From where will the KVs get funds? Is the MHRD trying to tell the Vidyalayas to start mobilising finance from corporates and other sources for their rankings?
5. Community participation (60 Points): Community participation in KVs is maximum only in Kerala where, given its political history, the people form a community and help each other. This extends to KVs too. In many other states, the parent-teacher association (PTA) is non-functional and parent-teacher meetings are conducted only to discuss the performance of their wards in the school exams.
Hence, assessment under this head may not yield expected results in most states and schools from these locations may lose ranks.
6. Grace points (90 Points): The modalities of this type of assessment have to be studied.
7. Observation by Inspectors (10 Points): This will, of course, vary from inspector to inspector, in his or her perception of things. Who are the inspectors? Are they officers from KVS, or from CBSE, or from any private agency?
Educationists warn that the MHRD will introduce the ranking system first in KVs and then extend it to state schools also. If it is applied to private schools, government schools may lose their prestige and ultimately encourage people to admit their children only in private schools.
It is a ploy by the MHRD to privatise school education in India and an attempt to withdraw from investing in school education. Similar attempts were made by the MHRD in the past too. It is the duty of citizens to oppose the policy in order to safeguard government schools. Otherwise the poor will be distanced from their right to get an education.
The views expressed are the authors’ own.