“With this assessment, I am born again! When we started seeing the books, we started to see what could change because it connects to the students, teachers and parents.” V M Nazareth School. Connections are integral to transforming learning and lives, and schools in the North East are no different.
Society for the Promotion of Tribal Welfare and Development (SPTWD), since 2004, have been on a peace-building mission. Through events and programmes, they connect communities to engage in dialogue and learn from each other, aligning their perspectives to live in harmony founded on mutual respect. Developing a common language, community leaders have led initiatives in livelihood, health care, socio-economic empowerment and environment sustenance.
Recognising schools as a platform for change, SPTWD initiated the ‘Improving Schools, Empowering Communities’ programme, placing schools at the centre of peacebuilding across the State. Seeking expertise in education, SPTWD collaborated with Adhyayan to transform the vision of education in Manipur from a marks focused requirement, to values-driven learning environments that empower future generations to positively contribute to their societies near and far. Using the Adhyayan Quality Standard benchmark of school quality, they have introduced community leaders, parents, teachers, school owners, principals and students to a vision of education, engaging them in continuous school-review of their strengths and areas of challenge, directing their quality to nurture every child’s development.
SPTWD’s programmes span Delhi, Assam and Manipur. We hear from Tongkhomang Haokip, Director, SPTWD, about the collaboration with Adhyayan and the impact on the schools they work with in Manipur.
In Manipur, generally the schools lack proper management systems such as policies and written operational manual. All schools are yet to have basic and proper infrastructures and amenities such as proper lavatories for girls and boys, library, labs, play ground, AV, school van and rooms. Teachers are also untrained. Moreover, the schools belongs to the Proprietor alone and hence other stakeholders have little say in the running/improvement of the school. Most of the schools are financially struggling to meet their ends meet, therefore they find it challenging to progress systematically as planned. However, our first engagement with Adhyayan helped us to see some light, and an opportunity for change at a low cost.
When the Adhyayan team visited our school in Majuli Island, Assam, they helped the school community review its strengths and identify areas for improvement, creating action plans suitable for a low-resourced school like ours. Having piloted the School Self-Review and Evaluation programme in one of our schools, we were convinced that continuous review will enable the school to check/measure their progress on regular intervals, based on the key performance areas of a good school. This in turn will help them to take more strategic financial decisions in order to achieve their goals.
We realised that in order to help others, we needed to be well-versed with What Good Looks Like and the process of continuous review. We invested time in our own professional development, joining Adhyayan on school reviews across the country, taking online modules and receiving mentoring on how to deliver the programme and contextualise it to meet the needs of the communities we work with. We now know the Key Performance Areas of a good school, and the skills required to guide schools to introspect and look at themselves in a mirror, as well as the purpose of continuous school improvement for long-term success. The 10 schools which have been assessed so far have realised how well they performed as a school and have seen what and how to improve their school further.
Adopting practices such as the Learning Walk and Book Look, schools are embedding evidence collection in to their daily routines. They recognise that school improvement is a longer term process and they celebrate movement from rarely to sometimes, and sometimes to mostly, constantly reflecting on the impact of their processes on student learning. Measuring progress against the same criteria gives an objective review of improvement.
Since the schools are already our partner in the Project, they trust what we view is good for them. Although they were initially hesitant, the strength of our relationships and the trust they have in us, has helped them to prosper by promoting the status of their schools and demonstrating their commitment to quality through this programme.
The greatest benefit of the School Self-Review & Evaluation programme is that school owners have now begun to involve their staff, teachers, students and parents into the school to collectively contribute their time and effort to school development. With a common language being developed across stakeholders, it has been easier for school owners to trust the contributions from their team members, and involve them in school development programmes. This has led to visible improvements to the learning environments that have become more vibrant with student work being displayed regularly. School leadership teams are being formed and responsibilities delegated to ensure that Learning Walks, Classroom Observations and Book Looks are core responsibilities that continuously monitor the impact of initiatives planned to enhance student learning.
SPTWD aims to reach 30 schools across Manipur this year, engaging them in school self-review and evaluation to re-imagine learning and build a common language of quality education across multiple stakeholders.
“Before, we thought that a leader going into the classroom would be a disturbance…we’ve come to realise that it benefits the students as well as the teachers”
School leader Apple Buds Academy
To know more about collaborations with Adhyayan, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If your school is in the North East and you would like to SPTWD’s support for School Self-Review and Evaluation, please contact Tong (email@example.com).