The Performance Grading Index (PGI) offers information on the state of school education in States & UTs, including key levels that influence performance and important performance categories. Data for the years from 2018-19 and 2021-22 indicates that no district in the country attained the top grade in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
The Performance Grading Index (PGI) is a tool to provide insights into the Indian school education system. One of the goals of the PGI is to offer information on the state of school education in States & UTs, including key levels that influence performance and important performance categories. It identifies the gaps and aids States/UTs in prioritising the intervention areas to make sure the school education system is strong at every level.
One notable aspect of the PGI is its comprehensive coverage, both horizontally and vertically, encompassing multiple areas of intervention that directly or indirectly influence the education system. Additionally, it facilitates effective assessments of educational attainment at the district level, which are captured in the PGI-Districts (PGI-D) report. So far, four PGI-D reports have been released, covering the periods from 2018-19 to 2021-22.
In today’s story, we look at the data of PGI-D and the performance of districts in India. Factly’s previous coverage on the methodology behind PGI and review of PGI for states and Union Territories can be read here, here.
No districts in top two grades in last two years
The PGI-D ranks the districts based on the scores achieved into ten different grades, with “Daksh” being the top-most grade, followed by “Utkarsh” while “Akanshi-3” is the lowest grade. The grade-wise distribution of the districts from 2018-19 reveals that no district attained the top two grades, with an exception in 2019-20 where three districts attained second-top grade. The number of districts in the third-top grade ‘Ati-Uttam’ decreased by more than half from 124 in 2020-21 to 51 in 2021-22. Interestingly, none of the districts attained the bottom-most grade, i.e., Akanshi-3 during these four years.
There is a marginal improvement in the performance of districts in these four years. It is evident from the decline in the number of districts in low grades over the years. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020-21 & 2021-22, the performance of a few districts has declined compared to the earlier years.
Only one-fourth of total districts improved their performance in last four years.
The PGI-D for 2021-22 is compiled for 748 districts, up from 727 districts during 2018-19. This is due to the addition of a few new districts, while some additional districts were carved out of the existing districts. The four-year performance of these districts reveals that only 194 districts have improved their grades from 2018-19 to 2021-22. This is only one-fourth of the total districts in 2018-19. Among these 194 improved districts, 7 districts registered a 3-grade jump, 23 districts registered a 2-grade jump and 164 districts registered a single-grade jump.
On the other hand, the performance of 158 districts declined between 2018-19 and 2021-22. And the remaining 375 districts remained in the same grade during the same period. The report also highlights that 79 districts made consistent improvements in PGI scores during each of the last four years, while 25 districts performed poorly during the same corresponding period.
It is important to note that the improvement in grades and improvement in scores are not exactly the same. Improvement in scores does not always result in improvement in grades, while vice versa is true.
Performances of districts in large states drop in 2021-22.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education is clearly evident in the performance of the states in PGI grading. The COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the shutdown of schools and the shift to an online mode of teaching has distorted educational outcomes. For example, Rajasthan had 26 districts in Ati-Uttam grade (3rd best), and 7 districts in Uttam grade (4th best) during 2020-21. The situation in 2021-22 is in complete contrast, with 5 districts in Ati-Uttam grade and 25 districts in Uttam grade. This is also the case with Gujarat, where 22 districts in the Ati-Uttam grade in 2020-21 became 3 in 2021-22, while 11 districts in the Uttam grade in 2020-21 became 27 in 2021-22. Similar is the case for Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala.
However, states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh saw a very marginal difference in the districts in each grade between 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Digital Learning still an underperforming domain for majority of districts
Under the domain of ‘Digital Learning’, the percentage of the number of schools with internet facility/computer usage for pedagogical purposes, and student-to-computer ratio is among the indicators that are gauged. As seen above, pandemics have a greater impact on the performance of districts in the educational sphere. Hence, digital learning becomes an important domain that can be used to see the preparedness of the educational system for future unforeseeable conditions.
It is observed that a majority of districts still rank in the bottom-three grades of the index. In this domain, 10 districts have improved their scores by more than 20%, while 74 districts have improved their scores by more than 10% between 2019-20 and 2021-22. At an overall grade-level improvement, a total of 202 districts improved their grading.
Interestingly, the ‘Digital Learning’ domain and the ‘Outcomes’ domain are the only two among the six domains that do not feature a single district in the top-most grade- ‘Daksh’ in all these years. Additionally, no district features in the second-top grade ‘Utkarsh’ in the ‘Digital Learning’ domain in these four years.