School Improvement Programme
This project was triggered by the question: if policies are implemented in letter and spirit, will quality of education change. It began as a small experiment in 1992-93 at our own personal cost. Later, Ministry of HRD, Government of India supported the project from 1994 to 1998. Project then covered 42 primary schools with 6400 students and 152 teachers located in 20 contiguous villages around Udang in Howrah district. Our targets were universal enrolment, reduced dropout and improve performance in tune with the goals of SSA. With a set of carefully crafted innovative interventions, schools became more attractive. As the government funded came to an end, teachers wanted to continue; some of us provided small amount of support to the project. Ministry of HRD commissioned TISS, Mumbai to evaluate the project. Subsequently, Government of India showcased this success story in EFA 2005 document submitted in the High Level Group Meeting in Brazil. In 2002, Barrington Education Initiative came forward to support the project. The project now works with 30 government rural primary schools located in 16 contiguous villages around Udang.
This is the first cluster of villages and first set of government rural primary schools in the country to achieve zero dropout, 100% enrolment, and academic performance higher than the national and state averages. The project is now experimenting with school ecosystem development by creating library, facility for science experiments, Technology (ICT) Enabled learning. Again, this is the first cluster of rural primary schools where teachers have come forward to spend their personal resources to equip the schools with ICT facilities. A detailed case on the project was first published by Stockholm University, Sweden. The case is also available in the book, Total Quality Management in Education by Marmar Mukhopadhyay (2020). Zero Dropout, is available on request. The SIP project is still on making it the longest Action Research Proejct in the world.