1. School Education
The state has targeted GERs of 105% and 95% for primary and upper primary classes to universalize elementary education. GER for Primary has gone down by 4.7% from 2014-15 to 2015-16 because of integration of Aadhar data resulting in removal of duplicate enrollment . It has shown further decline in 2016-17, although total number of enrollments has gone up. GER for Upper Primary, Secondary and Higher education has shown slight improvement over past two years. Retention rates have gone up to 90.32%, 87.23% and 79.33% for class V, VIII and X respectively . With respect to providing universal access to education (primary school within 1km, elementary school within 3km and secondary school within 5km of all habitations), the state has shown significant achievement (99% at elementary level and 91.5% at secondary level in 2016-17)2.
Badi Pilustondi program has been launched to identify out of school children and enroll them in schools with other support (hostels, special training etc) wherever required1. 65321 out of school children have been identified and being brought back to school2.
Technology interventions are being tried out in several ways to improve governance and learning outcomes. Biometric attendance system is being piloted in Kuppam. Next step should be to check and measure the impact of the initiative so that it can be scaled-up to other areas. Also, a strong push towards digital is evident from digital and virtual classroom initiatives. 580 schools had digital classrooms and 1459 were under different stages of implementation as on September 20161. The target is to have digital classrooms in 5000 schools by 2017-18 and virtual classrooms in 3500 schools2 to improve quality of learning. We should check the status and assess the impact. If there is evidence of improvement, we can scale the program up to include more schools.
Computer based test (CBT) launched for some admissions as well as teachers’ recruitment1. Gradually, infrastructure has to be developed to shift all the examinations from paper based to computer based and subsequently computer adaptive test systems to bring transparency and agility in the evaluation.
J-PAL in association with Pratham launched Teaching at Right Level2, a campaign piloted in 1600 schools to enhance basic reading and numeracy skills. Significant improvement has been observed in learning outcomes. The program is being expanded to 8000 schools.
Several other initiatives to improve learning outcomes came out of the PEMANDU lab initiative.1
- Multi-grade, multi-level classrooms have been proposed to support self-learning of students at their own pace. This can be further augmented with NITI Aayog’s proposed ‘Exam-on-demand’ initiative to facilitate promotion of students to next grade level at their own pace.
- Grading of schools on a pre-communicated list of parameters (primarily access and learning outcomes) has been suggested to foster competition and elevate the quality.
- APEX (AP e-Knowledge Exchange Portal), a digital platform for collaboration among teachers, has been launched in September 2016.
To eliminate the gender gap in enrollment, Bicycles scheme and Martial Arts training for girls is to be implemented1. Also, under digital classrooms initiative, all KGBVs have been digitized on priority2. Impact assessment of these initiatives will help in designing future schemes.
To promote physical education in schools, several initiatives (including MoU with Gopichand Sports and emphasis on Yoga training) have been launched1.
To garner the support of the community to the school where they once studied, a special campaign called Badi Runam Tirchukundam was launched and Rs. 16.42 crores (in cash as well as kind) was collected across the state2.
2. Higher Education
The state is targeting 50% GER in higher education (including skill training and vocational education) by 2029, significantly higher than current level of 31.25% (2014-15). There has been a slight dip in GER (to 30.78%) in 2015-16.
AP has a very healthy student to faculty ratio of 13.5 in colleges. However, the ratio in universities is much higher at 75, adversely affecting the research output. So, the state has envisioned reducing the ratio to 30 by 2029 and phase I of recruitments for the same have already begun . To improve the quality of faculties, two programs – API (Academic Performance Indicator) and AADPI (Academic and Administrative Performance Indicator) have been launched4. A number of training and capacity building programs have been organized and the performance is being monitored.
31 new institutes of higher education have either commenced in last 2 years or are in final phases of establishment. Of these, 11 are private universities who have been given LOIs after enactment of AP Private University Act 2016. Classes have already started in IIT, IIM, NIT, IIIT and IISER4.
Significant focus is also being given to entrepreneurship by establishing AP Entrepreneurship Board, EDC (Entrepreneurship Development Cell) at universities, and Atal Incubation Centers4. A number of innovative products came out of incubation centers, some of which have also been commercialized and patented4.
To boost the quality of institutions to international standard, several international collaborations have been inked and special emphasis is being given to international rankings. Andhra University was in QS world ranking in 601-800 range in 2015-16 and continues to be in QS Asia and QS BRICS top universities .
FICCI Higher Education Summit was held in November 2016 where several MoUs were signed to promote innovation, increase employability and improve international ranking of universities5.
District Resource Centers (DRC) have been established in selected colleges in all districts for pooling of resources2. For real time governance, portals have been created to monitor the attendance of students (Vidyawaan) as well as faculties (Andhra.attendance.gov.in). Geo-tagging of institutes and biometric system for attendance has been implemented4.