Pragat Shaikshanik Maharashtra (PSM) is an initiative of the Maharashtra State Government towards an educationally progressive Maharashtra. The RTE Act of 2009 came into effect in the nation on April 1, 2010. In Section 2, clause 3 of the Act, it states that all children between the age group 6–14 years are entitled to receive quality education. Annual status of education (ASER) 2014 survey showed that majority of children in Maharashtra cannot read basic sentences. Considering the statistics, only 27% class 8 students could read a basic text and 31% could divide numbers, in the State of Maharashtra. The state level assessment tests by the Maharashtra State Council of Education and Report (MSCERT) by the year 2014 revealed that the average reading skill of class 5 children was 51% and Math skill was 53%. Alarmed by the situation, the Department of School Education and Sports, Maharashtra released a Government Resolution (GR) on 22nd June, 2015 aiming for ‘Educationally Progressive Maharashtra’.
The basic competencies of a child that PSM focuses on are ability to read and write, number knowledge and number sense. The rationale behind this is that it is these competencies that affect all further learning and understanding. Nevertheless, 25 parameters have been laid down to recognize if a given school is educationally progressive or not. The first 20 parameters bear 5 points each and the last 5 parameters bear 5 bonus points each.
1) Correlation between total enrollment and attendance.
2) Number of out of the school children whose name is still there in school register identified.
3) Clean school premises.
4) There are at least 10 activities for every subject that employs Activity Based Learning.
5) Any student of any class is able to identify, read and write at least 5 mathematical numbers.
6) Any student of any class is able to perform addition of numbers with the help of learning aids.
7) Any student of any class is able to perform subtraction of numbers with the help of learning aids.
8) Any student of any class is able to perform multiplication of numbers with the help of learning aids.
9) Any student of any class is able to perform division of numbers with the help of learning aids.
10) Student understands the concept of Weight / Measurement / Shape and Dimension / Length / Time and is able to solve the subjective problems on the same.
11) Student is able to read at least 5 sentences as per the reading level of the class he/she is in.
12) Student is able to write at least 5 dictated sentences (that corresponds to the level of the class he/she is in) without any mistake.
13) Any student from any class is able to answer to five questions from a comprehension passage that is in accordance to his/her reading level.
14) Any student from any class is able to create at least 5 words outside the textbook from the last letter of a given word.
15) Any student from any class is able to present (perform with action) a poem from the textbook.
16) Any student from any class is able to do picture reading.
17) If any student from any of the classes given 3 words, he/she can form at least 5 sentences using them.
18) Confidence resonates in the child’s face in his/her conversations and while answering questions.
19) Any student from any class is able to develop and perform a story from 3 given words.
20) A child individually or a group of children from a particular class is able to perform a drama of 3 to 5 minutes.
21) Each student in the classroom is able to tell the exact time by the clock.
22) Any student from any class is able to develop a four line poem from a given three words.
23) Any student from any class is able to answer 5 General Knowledge questions in English.
24) Any student from any class is able to draw the picture of any object.
25) Any student from any class is able to stand up and express his/her thoughts on a particular topic in 4 to 5 sentences.
The question papers for Baseline and summative tests each year is set such that each question is correlated to each of the parameters laid out. While in the first two years exams were conducted in Language and Math for class 3 to class 8 students, the scenario is changing from 2017. According to the GR released on July 14, 2017, students in classes 6 to 8 will now be taking tests in Science and English as well, apart from the usual First Language and Math. Students will also be going through three levels of exams; one baseline and two summative competency tests. Apart from this there is also supposed to be a third party evaluation on a random sampling basis at the end of first and second terms, under the responsibility of the Maharashtra State Council of Educational Research and Training (MSCERT).
While the baseline test will assess the child’s learning from the previous year, the summative tests will evaluate the child’s understanding of the current term. The resolution also makes it compulsory to upload the results of the tests on the MITRA (Maharashtra In-service Teacher Recourse App) mobile app and design courses to improve students’ performances.
According to the GR, the changes in the evaluation process are based on the findings of three surveys — the National Achievement Survey (NAS), the State Level Assessment Survey (SLAS) and Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). “Under the PSM programme, the state had planned that by April 2017, 100 per cent students would be competent in fundamental knowledge of subjects. However, the results of the surveys prove that the goal is yet to be achieved,” read the resolution.