Shikshak Parv: Adoption and Execution in Bihar
Promoting Engaging and Enjoyable Learning
NEP 2020 mandates that learning should be holistic, integrated, inclusive, enjoyable, and engaging. To minimize rote learning and to encourage holistic development and 21st-century skills (such as critical thinking, creativity, scientific temper, multilingualism, problem-solving, ethics, social responsibility, and digital literacy), curriculum, textbooks, pedagogy, and assessment at all stages of school education shall be transformed. It stresses that experiential learning will be adopted in all stages, including hands-on learning, arts-integrated and sports-integrated education, and story-telling-based pedagogy, among others, as standard pedagogy within each subject and with the exploration of relations among different subjects. To close the gap in learning outcomes, classroom transactions will shift towards competency-based learning and education (Para 4, NEP-2020). In this process, it is essential to understand the innovative ways of teaching and showcase, disseminate and replicate the innovative strategies of successful teachers.
Shikshak Parv: Encouraging Innovation in Classroom
As the NEP recognizes, teachers' central role is driving fundamental reforms in the education system. Collaborating with these frontline stakeholders in implementing NEP has become more critical than ever. Therefore, to expand the resources which support the shift from rote learning methods to more skill and competency-based learning, the Ministry of Education invites all teachers across India to participate in a challenge.
Despite this crucial contribution, there is still a need to identify and map innovative practices to generalize and scale up to diverse contexts and populations of India. It is also essential to develop the ability to select good innovative practices that meet various contexts and all student’s needs. Consistent and reliable measurement of innovation allows a more robust international education base. It will enable policymakers to mobilize resources based on their impact on students’ learning and school improvement (Vincent-Lancrin et al., 2019).
Shikshak Parv: Adoption in Bihar
One-day co-creation workshop was conducted at the Resource Center of SCERT, Bihar, for developing activities and resources in Micro Improvement Project on Innovative Pedagogy (Activity Based Learning) under Vidya Amrit Mahotsav - Micro Improvement Based Innovative Pedagogy. The Workshop was conducted by the State Council of Education Research and Training in association with Bihar Education Project Council and Mantra4Change. The workshop was conducted under the chairmanship of Dr. Rashmi Prabha, Joint Director SCERT, and the convenorship of Dr. Snehasis Das, Head of Department - Pedagogy, SCERT. The 25-member panel included DIET Lecturers, Principals, and School teachers.
Dr. Rashmi Prabha, Joint Director-SCERT, shared her views and inputs on the suggestive content shared by Mantra. She emphasized the importance of Innovative Pedagogy as a tool to reduce the gap between understanding and doing. She said that we need to develop the resources which could enable practical-oriented techniques in classroom transactions to achieve learning outcomes. Also, the school teachers should clearly understand their subject's grade-wise learning outcomes to design items based on those learning outcomes.
The co-creation workshop involved designing and developing the Micro Improvement project, Content of Learning resources, and contextualizing support documents and formats. The workshop ended with the finalization of all resources and processes for MIP.
From 29th September 2022 to 15th November 2022, Shikshak Parv was carried out in Bihar. The flagbearers of the event were SCERT Bihar, Bihar Education Project Council, Mantra4Change, and some other civil society organizations. The objective of the Shikshak Parv was to develop a sense of belongingness to the school in children and create an understanding of innovative pedagogy in all teachers and head teachers. To achieve these objectives, discussions were organized to demonstrate activity-based learning in all resourceful schools. Through various capacity-building sessions, online and offline, teachers were aware of the learning outcomes and how to design assessments based on the learning outcome. Teachers were also asked to upload a video of their innovative pedagogy on the DIKSHA portal, along with a 500-word written note.
The following tasks were to be performed by the teachers during Shikshak Parv:
To conduct the classroom through the students on Teacher’s day.
Creating an understanding of innovative pedagogy among teachers, preparing a 500-word write-up on this subject, and uploading them on the Diksha app.
To encourage innovative pedagogy, making and uploading videos from all teachers.
Formulating questions to test them while making sense of the learning outcomes.
Major Buckets of Execution
Pre Launch - Different program support structures, such as district and block-level technical teams, were made to smoothen teacher participation and the submission processes. WhatsApp groups were also formed where teachers can share technical issues, and technicians will resolve them immediately. Before the launch, an orientation program was also held to raise awareness about Shikshak Parv among the technicians.
Launch - Dr. Rashmi Prabha, Joint Director, SCERT Bihar, launched Sikshak Parv via an online event for Head Teachers and Teachers from grade-I to XII. Sixty-two thousand teachers and regional directors, DEO, BEO, and District Program Officers (SSA) joined the online event (https://youtu.be/fF0hb4A9oDg ). All the Block Ed. Officers were asked to conduct block-level physical orientation about the project and give technical support to the Head Teachers and Teachers with the help of the block technical team. All the resources like PPT, Posters, Technical SOPs, and Collaterals were provided.
During Project - Teams regularly nudged through posters and messages on social media and WhatsApp groups formed for teachers. A google-form was also circulated among teachers to collect the technical obstacles from them and give timely resolution. On every alternate day, district and block-wise project status were sent to the concerned department. Weekly review meetings were also held with the district & block-level officials and technicians. For effective implementation and immediate support, state officials and Mantra4Change’s team members also made field visits.
Post the Project - This project aimed to recognize the best pedagogical innovation within the classroom. Hence, all the innovative videos uploaded by the teachers were shared with the committee at the district level for evaluation. The committee, which included DIET Principals, Lecturers, Teacher Education Co-ordinators, Technical Team, and the District Program Officer (SSA) as members, was supposed to select the top-five videos from the district. Further, the committee at the state level selected the top-fifteen videos and uploaded them on DIKSHA. Based on the ratings on the DIKSHA platform, the top-three videos were shared with NCERT. However, any video selected at any level will be recognized by the district or the state.
Role of Stakeholders
Shikshak Parv was a 45 days event in Bihar that involved active engagement from stakeholders from all levels, top to bottom, and the partnering CSOs. School principals were to ensure at the school level that all teachers in their school do the project through the DIKSHA app. The technical support team was on their toes throughout to ensure that solution to any problem related to the initiation of the project was solved at the earliest and teachers submitted their projects timely. The monitoring team held regular meetings with Block Education Officer, Headteachers, and district-level officials. Headteachers and teachers had to download/upgrade the DIKSHA App, choose the project, read the task and associated reading material, complete it and upload the proof of work on the portal.
During Shikshak Parv, the teachers shared posters and WhatsApp messages for enthusiasm and awareness. The status of different districts was shared from time to time through these posters and WhatsApp messages so that competition remains in all the districts and more and more teachers could join this festival. Mantra4Change also organized a quiz to create awareness among teachers. A total of ten multiple-choice questions were asked in the quiz to test the awareness of teachers about Shikshak Parv and innovative pedagogy. In the response, 40162 teachers took part in the quiz. 27,992 teachers scored 80% and above. The top 5 districts out of 38 based on participation in the quiz were 1. ARWAL (43%) 2. JEHANABAD (28%) 3. BHOJPUR (26%) 4. KAIMUR (23%) 5. KATIHAR (22%).
Shikshak Parv saw great participation by a total of 185605 teachers. 82,606 teachers successfully completed the project. Districts like Purbi Champaran, Bhojpur, Madhubani, Samistipur, Begusarai, Katihar, and Gaya saw massive participation. Shikshak Parv in Bihar was not just about numbers and data; it was more about providing an independent platform for teachers to show their classroom innovation. Kundan Kumar Navin, a cluster resource person from Begusarai district, says that - before Sikshak Parv, the only platform available for putting up classroom innovation videos was social media groups created on Facebook. Through those social media groups, the teacher's innovations were propagated. He says that - we can understand that when we had to promote the positive image of Bihar's teachers' classroom, our dependency was on those social media groups. Even the top officials of the education department used to take photos and videos from those groups and share them. When only one person operates any social media group, its objectives become narrow and biased. For the last few months, teachers of Bihar who spend time dedicatedly to their classes have been feeling the need for a neutral and big platform that could give recognition to their innovation. Shikshak Parv was nothing less than a boon for teachers of Bihar.
Sushant Kumar, Program Communications Lead, Mantra4Change
Kumar Amalendu, Program Lead, Bihar, Mantra4Change
Gunjan Chaturvedi, Content Development Lead, Bihar, Mantra4Change
Vishal Pandey, Program Lead, Bihar, Mantra4Change