Schools of Eminence: Launching today, Mann’s first major education project

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab will launch its first major education project – “School of Eminence” on January 21.

In the first phase, 117 existing government schools will be upgraded as schools of excellence – modeled on Delhi’s exclusive schools of excellence – with a special focus on students from classes 9 to 12.

From the 35:1 student teacher ratio (PTR) to English and French proficiency, STEM and robotics labs to swimming pools on campuses – government officials said the new schools would be vastly different from typical government schools.

As per the planning document accessed by The Indian ExpressThe ‘School of Eminence’ aims to re-imagine education in government schools for the holistic development of children and prepare them to become responsible citizens. The schools aim to provide the highest quality education so that it becomes the most attractive option for the parents. The Schools of Eminence will be technology driven educational institutions with state-of-the-art facilities.

The document underlined that these schools would cater to the needs of students from classes 9 to 12 and offer four main streams for classes 11 and 12 – non-medical, medical, commerce and humanities. However, the focus will not be on science alone, but on the students as well. The plan document states that arts, dance, music, theatre, foreign languages, life skills, etc. will be exposed. Professional coaches will be provided for sports training.

The plan says that existing schools, which will be converted into ‘Schools of Eminence’, will be supported through additional resources and a student teacher ratio of 35:1 will be maintained. Students will be given career counseling and free coaching for competitive exams and armed forces entry. Clubs will be formed to showcase their leadership skills and improve life skills like robotics, cooking, driving etc.

There will be special trainers for activities like yoga, fine arts, dance, music, theatre, etc. State-of-the-art sports facilities will be provided for at least three sports (hockey, football, kabaddi, volleyball). Sports courts will be developed in every school.

The plan document further states that the students will be provided advanced learning programs in artificial intelligence, animation, web designing and will be trained in foreign languages ​​including French, Chinese, German, Spanish and Japanese.

Fitness Park, Indoor Gymnasium, Open Air Theater and Swimming Pool will be developed as per the availability of space in the campus and if space is not available then access to the nearest swimming pool will be provided in coordination with the Sports Department.

The campus will have art, craft and music rooms, a school band and high speed internet connection with WiFi.

The scheme also proposes child tracking system with photographs of each student on the e-Punjab portal.

The scheme proposes to include legal studies as a part of the curriculum in these schools. There will be courses for fluency in English to prepare students for international exposure and employment.
The plan proposes ‘well-lit spacious rooms, electrical appliances, adequate furniture, functional toilets, vending machines for sanitary pads and incinerators, swimming pool, Wi-Fi, auditorium’, among other amenities.

All classrooms will be ‘smart’ with blinds for windows, interactive panels with speakers in at least two classrooms, shelves with lockers for students, rechargeable laser pointers, cubicles, etc.

There will be a reception area with digital record of every child, uniform colour-coded classrooms, star student board, bio-metric attendance, public address system across the campus, canteen, tuck shop, among other proposed facilities.

The schools will also have Robotics Lab, Virtual Reality Lab, Language/Listening Lab, Atal Tinkering and STEM Lab.

The scheme gives special attention to children with special needs (CWSN) and proposes a ‘barrier free environment for CWSN’ with adapted toilets and furniture, and signage in Braille for the visually impaired.

The schools will be eco-friendly, complete with solar panels, LEDs, nutrition gardens, waste management, plastic reuse and water conservation systems. For safety, the plan proposes fire extinguishers and alarms, CCTV cameras and display boards with emergency numbers in every school.

Three committees will be constituted at the state, district and school levels to monitor the progress of the project. A state level committee consisting of eleven members including DGSE, Director SCERT, DPI and other senior officers will be constituted under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary.

The plan document states that the district-level committee will be under the district education officers (DEOs) and the school-level committee will be under the headmasters.

The plan states that the entire work of development and maintenance of the ‘School of Eminence’ will be done from state government funds, with a special budget earmarked for the project. Each school will be geo-tagged to closely monitor the implementation.

Tech savvy, focused and future-ready, the Rs 200-crore School of Eminence project is AAP’s first major effort to rejuvenate the state’s education sector and bring it at par with neighboring countries. Delhi