PM-SHRI: Over 14,000 schools to be chosen in a three-step process, will get direct funding 

The Union Cabinet approved a Rs 27,360 crore scheme for the development of more than 14,000 schools across the country as PM-SHRI 
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

The 14,000 schools to be developed as PM Schools for Rising India (PM-SHRI) will be selected through a three-stage process where they will compete for support to become "exemplary" schools, according to Ministry of Education officials.

The schools will be geo-tagged for selection and monitoring, they said, adding the process of selection will be overseen by an expert committee, as per a report by PTI

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, September 7 approved a Rs 27,360 crore scheme for the development of more than 14,000 schools across the country as PM-SHRI, which is expected to benefit 18.7 lakh students, the government said. 

How are these schools unique?
The schools will be "technologically driven" and will be developed into green schools, incorporating environment-friendly tools like solar panels, LED lights, nutrition gardens with natural farming, waste management, plastic-free environs, water conservation, and harvesting.

These schools will also involve students in the study of traditions/practices related to the protection of the environment, climate change-related hackathons, and sustainable lifestyle, as per PTI. 

Vidya Samiksha Kendra, a command and control centre for schools in Gujarat, will be used to track the performance of each PM SHRI school, teacher, and student. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the scheme on September 5 on Teachers' Day which seeks to upgrade and modernise existing schools from among those managed by the central and state governments, as well as local bodies, as per PTI. 

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, at a press conference on Tuesday, September 6 said that learning techniques adopted in these schools will be more “experiential, holistic, integrated, play and toy-based (particularly, in the foundational years) inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and enjoyable”.

Conceptual understanding and application of knowledge in real-life situations will be among the features of the scheme. The government will also explore linking these schools with Sector Skill Councils (SSC) and local industry to increase the likelihood of getting jobs for the students, as per PTI

"A School Quality Assessment Framework (SQAF) is being developed, specifying the key performance indicators to measure outcomes. Quality evaluation of these schools at regular intervals will be undertaken to ensure the desired standards," Pradhan said. 

Selection of schools for the scheme
The funds will be sent through direct benefit transfer to schools. "Selection of PM SHRI schools will be done through challenge mode wherein schools compete for support to become exemplar schools. Schools would be required to self-apply on the online portal. The portal will be opened four times a year, once every quarter, for the first two years of the scheme," a senior MoE official said, as per PTI. 

Elementary, secondary, and senior secondary schools managed by the Centre, State and UT governments, and local bodies having the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) code will be considered for selection under the scheme.

Schools with pucca buildings in good condition, barrier-free access, separate toilets for girls and boys, potable drinking water, electricity, will be eligible to apply under the scheme.

Explaining the three-stage process, the official said states and UTs will have to sign an MoU agreeing to implement the new National Education Policy (NEP) in its entirety while the Centre commits to support these schools in achieving the specified quality norms as PM SHRI schools.

"In this stage, a pool of schools that are eligible to be selected as PM SHRI schools would be identified based on prescribed minimum benchmark through UDISE data. This stage will be based on the challenge method for fulfilling certain criteria. Only the schools from the above eligible pool of schools would compete to fulfil the challenge conditions."

"Fulfilment of conditions would be certified by states, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) through physical inspection. States, UTs, KVS and JNV shall verify the claims reported by schools and recommend the list of schools to the ministry," the official said, as per PTI. 

A maximum of two schools would be selected per block or Urban Local Bodies. “The services of Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG-N) will be taken for geo-tagging and other related tasks," the official added, as per PTI. 

According to the ministry, more than 18 lakh students are expected to be direct beneficiaries of the scheme. The scheme also involves mentoring and handholding of the schools in the vicinity of PM SHRI schools.

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