In a first, Centre to conduct nationwide school census

'Shagunotsav' is intended at verifying the authenticity of the data provided by states to the HRD Ministry.

Thousands of surveyors will soon fan out to various corners of the country for a mammoth school census programme, which will assess and grade nearly 12 lakh government and government-aided schools on various key indicators, including infrastructure and other facilities.

Being undertaken by the Centre, the first-of-its-kind exercise—titled  'Shagunotsav'— is also intended to verify the authenticity of the data provided by the states to the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry. 

The one-month long survey is likely to be conducted in September and cover a total of 11,85,227 government and government-aided schools in 36 States and Union Territories (UTs). Of them, 10,74,911 schools are located in rural areas.

“Data on various school parameters are collected through various means to assess their quality and infrastructure. However, they are not corroborated through field visits. Therefore, a need was felt to take up the exercise,” a HRD ministry official said.

Over 73,000 surveyors will be engaged to conduct the physical inspection of the schools and collect data. Every State and the UT will appoint a nodal officer and coordinators at the district level to oversee the conduct of the mega exercise.

A monitoring cell will be set up, both at the central level and the level of States, for monitoring the exercise.

For the survey, the HRD ministry has already mapped the available human resources in consultation with the States and UTs.

The surveyors will include trainees and faculty members from the District Institutes of Educational Training (DIET) and faculty members from the State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs).

Block and cluster level resource persons of the state governments will also be engaged to conduct school to school survey, but those from the DIET and the SCERT will be given preference.

“Teachers, principals, and other staff of the schools will not be involved in this survey,” a ministry official said.

A mobile application is also in the works. Ahead of the census, training programmes will be organised for surveyors and other staff.

"The surveyors will be provided with one-month cost of subscribing data package for unlimited internet at the rate of Rs 300 per surveyor as an incentive besides the payment of honorarium and other expenses to them," the official said.

The outcome of the census will help government initiate "appropriate policy intervention", he added.

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