Fact Checking Government claims on School Education

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The government made certain claims related to learning outcomes, tinkering labs and special toilets for Divyang children. This article is a fact check of these claims.

The government published an infographic on the 48-months portal as a part of the larger section on harnessing yuva shakti, that makes claims related to learning outcomes, tinkering labs and special toilets for Divyang children. This article is a fact check of these claims.

Government claims on School Education_infographic

Is there a distinct focus on learning outcomes for the first time?
The first claim is that for the first time, there is a distinct focus on learning outcomes among students and accountability among various stakeholders.

Learning outcomes are assessment standards indicating the expected levels of learning that children should achieve for the class they are studying in. These outcomes can be used as check points to assess learning levels at different points of time. The learning outcomes would help teachers to understand the learning levels of children in their respective classes individually as well as collectively. Learning outcomes should be the point of reference for conducting achievement surveys.’ This is the definition of learning outcomes according to the ‘Learning Outcomes at Elementary Stage’ document that is available on the MHRD website.

According to this response of the government in the Lok Sabha in March 2017, ‘the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) in its meeting held in October 2016 has agreed that Learning Outcomes be codified and made a part of Central Rules of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. Accordingly, the Department of School Education & Literacy has amended Rule 23(2)(c) of Central RTE Rules, 2010, vide notification dated 20th February, 2017 to include class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes for all Elementary Classes and link achieving the defined Learning Outcomes with Continuous & Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE).’

The ‘Learning Outcomes at Elementary Stages’ document points out that, ‘the National Policy on Education (NPE) 1986, revised in 1992 and the Programme of Action(PoA) 1992 emphasised that the Minimum Levels of Learning (MLLs) should be laid down and children’s learning should periodically be assessed to keep a track of their progress towards ensuring the achievement of NPE goal that ‘all children should acquire at least minimum levels of learning’. The MLLs developed class-wise and subject-wise for primary stage in 1992 in the form of competencies were highly product-oriented and had a limited scope for assessment of the overall development of children.’  This implies that the idea of incorporating learning outcomes is not new but the adaptation of it is. The same document also states that the learning outcomes defined explicitly can guide and ensure the responsibility and accountability of different stakeholders for its accomplishment by expectations in different curricular areas.

Claim: For the first time, a distinct focus on learning outcomes among students and accountability among various stakeholders.

Fact: On 20th February 2017, the RTE rules were amended to include learning outcomes for all elementary classes. This does not provide for any enforceable accountability among stakeholders.  It should also be noted that the idea of including learning outcomes is not new. Hence, the claim is only PARTLY TRUE.

How many Atal tinkering labs have been sanctioned?
The second claim is that for building innovative skills, 2400 Atal tinkering labs were sanctioned in schools at 20 lakh rupees each.

According to the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) website,  ‘Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated work spaces where students (Class 6th to Class 12th) learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, IoT & sensors etc.’

The AIM website also shows that, across the country, as of November 2018, there are 2441 schools where Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) has been set up. In response to a question in the Lok Sabha in March 2017, the government stated that each school selected for setting of an ATL shall receive an amount of  20 lakh rupees over four years.  In another response to a question in the Lok Sabha in August 2018, the government stated that 3000 more schools were selected for setting up of ATL in June 2018 and that they are yet to complete their compliance stage. As per government data, an amount of Rs. 225.24 crore rupees has been released to 1877 schools as of August 2018.

Claim: For building innovative skills 2,400 Atal tinkering labs sanctioned in schools at 20 lakh rupees each.

Fact: 2441 Atal Tinkering Labs have been sanctioned and they shall receive rupees 20 lakhs over four years. Hence, the claim is TRUE.

How many ramps, railings and special toilets have been built for Divyang children?
The third claim is that 54,000 ramps and railings were built and 50,000 special toilets were built for Divyang children.

Under the Scheme for Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA), financial assistance is provided for a number of activities including creating a barrier free environment for persons with disabilities in schools, colleges and other academic institutions.  The 2017-18 annual report of the Department of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities gives further details. The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan also calls for a barrier free environment for all children.

The centrally sponsored scheme of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) provides for barrier free access in the elementary schools for the benefit of Divyang children. As per an answer provided by the government in the Lok Sabha in March 2018, more than 7.66 lakh government schools have ramps and more than 2.18 lakh government schools have CWSN (Children with Special Needs) toilets. But it is not known as to how many of these are built by the current government. Hence this claim cannot be verified.

Claim: 54,000 ramps and railings built and 50,000 special toilets for Divyang children.

Fact: As per an answer provided by the government in the Lok Sabha in March 2018, more than 7.66 lakh government schools have ramps and more than 2.18 lakh government schools have CWSN (Children with Special Needs) toilets. But it is not known as to how many of these are built by the current government. Hence this claim remains UNVERIFIED.

This story is part of a larger series on the 4-years of the Modi government. This series has been made possible with the flash grant of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN). Read the rest of the stories in this series here.

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