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Cluster Resource Centers-A Walkthrough

Providing quality education is crucial for the overall development of students, and nothing can go wrong with this process. If educational institutions fail to set the proper standards, it may affect the growth opportunities for students. Therefore, having strong educational frameworks is crucial. To improve the quality of education, Cluster Resource Center (CRC) was established in each block of every district under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

When focusing on providing the best learning environment to students, teachers must be aware of the changes in teaching methodologies. However, it was found they lacked knowledge of the changes in curriculum and did not know about modern teaching techniques. This incompetence affected the language and reading skills of students. Therefore, CRCs were established in each block to build teacher capabilities and create teacher support structures at the school level. These resource centers are established to provide academic support to teachers and schools, help in community mobilization, and provide in-service teacher training.

Let us understand the working mechanism of the Cluster Resource Center (CRC) in detail.

What is the Role of CRC in Education?

CRC is critical for academic processes. The main role of this center is captured in the points mentioned below.

  • Developing the CRC as an academic resource with ample availability of resources for teachers.
  • Creating a strong human resource pool by collaborating with experts and NGOs. The aim is to form different resource groups in multiple subject areas that address the problems at primary and upper primary levels.
  • Organizing school visits to address various pedagogical issues and find the right solutions for them.
  • Organizing a teacher training program to make them aware of the changes in the curriculum and teaching methodologies. Moreover, CRCs also design a framework to enhance school performance. The resource centers also focus on arranging monthly meetings for teachers and experts.
  • Raising the standards of school performance by setting up performance indicators for different activities.
  • Consultation with local government bodies to help in school improvement.
  • Setting time-bound goals to improve school performances and designing a quality improvement plan for schools at primary and upper primary levels.
  • Monitoring quality using quality monitoring tools in collaboration with DEOs.

Several CRCs work together to improve education quality across different blocks. These centers cover a small number of schools that can be reached easily. A Cluster Resource Center Coordinator handles the responsibilities of CRCs.

Functions of CRCs

The role of CRC supervisors consists of different activities but is not limited to managerial functions. In addition, they also perform academic, supervisory, creative, and networking activities. Moreover, these centers are responsible for conducting teacher training and mentoring programs. Other functions include:

  • Monitoring teachers’ performance
  • Extending constant support to teachers
  • Identifying the needs of teachers
  • Liaising with NGOs and other institutions working in the field of education
  • Providing on-site support to teachers
  • Organizing monthly meetings for teachers and professionals working in the education industry

These functions can strengthen the link between schools and communities. Moreover, teachers also get the opportunity to develop themselves professionally.

What is Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan?

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a time-bound flagship program of the Government of India. This program is aimed to achieve the Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) through community ownership of the school system. The program also aims to promote social justice through basic education.

The major objectives of this program are:

  • To provide elementary education in the age group of 6 to 14 years. Moreover, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan works to bridge social, regional, and gender gaps.
  • Help children understand their natural environment and use their knowledge to their full potential. It will help them harness their human potential to the maximum, both spiritually and materially.
  • To empower children and make them the torchbearers of a better tomorrow. This program aims to make children advocates for sustainable development.

Also Read: NEP 2020 - A Comprehensive Guide

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is about promoting educational rights and making children equipped with the benefits of formal education. Some of the strategies that amplify the objectives of this government program are:

Institutional Reforms

This strategy aims to remove flaws in the elementary education system. The aim is to improve the efficiency of the delivery system. While undergoing institutional reforms, educational institutions need to make an objective assessment of their prevalent education system, including educational administration, achievement levels in schools, financial issues, and decentralization and community ownership.

Sustainable Financing

It aims to improve the financial partnership between state and central government. The program strongly believes in the premise that financing elementary education interventions has to be sustainable.

Community Ownership

This strategy focuses on decentralization and gives a shout-out to community ownership of school-based interventions. To make the process of decentralization effective, assistance is taken from members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and VEC members.

Institutional Capacity Building

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan works to improve the quality of different national, state, and district-level institutions like NCERT, NCTE, SCERT, and DIET. With the help of resource persons and institutions, this program can improve the institutional capacity building.

Improving Mainstream Educational Administration

The adoption of cost-effective methods, the use of new approaches, and institutional development can work to improve mainstream educational administration in India.

Community-Based Monitoring with Full Transparency

Having a community-based monitoring system brings more efficiency to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The Educational Management Information System correlates school-level data with information shared by the community. This data helps in micro-planning and surveys. Moreover, schools are encouraged to share all data and other crucial information with community members.

Habitation as a Unit of Planning

Habitation plans serve as the foundation of district plans. It is one of the major pillars of planning when it comes to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Accountability to Community

The program follows a community-based approach and the stakeholders are closely knit. It works on the equal effort put in by different stakeholders like parents, teachers, and admins. Moreover, it offers accountability and transparency to the community.

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan gives significant importance to girls' education. Moreover, they also pay equal attention to the needs of special groups. Cluster Resource Centers are crucial to run the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan efficiently. With the help of CRCs, central and state governments can implement this program in various blocks and districts without much hassle.

Suggested Read: Continuous Professional Development for Teachers - A Guide

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