You are currently viewing Enabling Teachers and Headmasters to Improve Learning Outcomes in Odisha – In Conversation with Shri. Manoj Kumar Padhy (Director, Teacher Education and SCERT)

Enabling Teachers and Headmasters to Improve Learning Outcomes in Odisha – In Conversation with Shri. Manoj Kumar Padhy (Director, Teacher Education and SCERT)

In the academic year 2023-24, the Department of School and Mass Education in Odisha launched a flagship teacher training programme for teachers in Foundational Learning and Numeracy grades in the form of a monthly capsule, focussed on strengthening classroom processes at the school level to drive FLN implementation in the state. This monthly format has been in line with the comprehensive strategy of the School and Mass Education Department of convergence of schemes for ensuring effective FLN implementation at the school level to reach the last mile. 

In this piece, Shri Manoj Kumar Padhy (Director Teacher Education [TE] & SCERT), in conversation with CSF, reflects on the process, achievements and the way forward for cluster-level meetings to strengthen FLN adoption in Odisha.

Shri. Manoj Kumar Padhy
Director, Teacher Education [TE] and SCERT

What are some of the measures adopted by the Department of Mass Education in Odisha  to strengthen FLN  at the school level? What role do monthly cluster-level meetings play in this? 

Ensuring quality education at the elementary level has been central to the School and Mass Education  Department’s strategy over the years. In 2018, the focus on foundational learning was outlined through the Learning Enhancement Programme (LEP) and was further streamlined with a concerted stage-based focus in 2019.  

Some of the key work undertaken to strengthen the FLN programme in the state includes the development of grade-specific Teaching Learning Materials (TLM), the timely distribution of which has also aided in planning training around classroom processes using them.  

Model schools have been set up across the state in different blocks to demonstrate standard, best practices on FLN to inspire other schools in the region. 

Other initiatives include the development of a tool for mentoring (on-site support) undertaken by Cluster Resource Centre Coordinators (CRCCs) and District Institute of Education and Trainings in sample schools across the state and leading online courses on FLN for DIETs and CRCCs.  

Capacity building of teachers and headmasters (HMs) has been one of the critical responsibilities of the Directorate. Training module development and training of the master trainers is undertaken annually to develop a conceptual understanding of the academic aspects of teachers and headmasters.

Monthly cluster-level meetings, a flagship initiative of the School and Mass Education  Department, were introduced to support classroom practices and school processes to drive FLN implementation in the state. The focus of the meeting is elicited by its core components that include inputs on FLN classroom practices and facilitating the implementation of schemes through cohesive inputs and interventions as per the priorities of the month.  

With the FLN programme strategy and necessary classroom resources in place, the focus has been to drive FLN programme implementation in the classrooms, making the monthly cluster-level meeting an essential capacity-building lever in the coming months.

The various capacity-building initiatives for teachers and headmasters adopted by Teacher Education (TE) and State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Odisha have been a game changer in the State. Can you reflect on some of the approaches followed?

Monthly cluster meetings were launched under the guidance of Ms Aswathy S. (IAS) Commissioner-cum-Secretary, School and Mass Education Department in July 2023. Across all eight monthly meetings in the annual cycle, TE & SCERT followed the institutionalised framework for capacity building, which included the development of monthly agenda and content of the cluster-level meeting. 

The monthly DIET Principals’ meeting held at the SCERT level was activated to include orientation and discussion on the monthly cluster-level meetings in the state. Subsequently, DIET-led meetings were held to orient the DIET faculty, followed by orientation of CRCCs, to prepare them for leading cluster-level meetings. 

Inter-directorate collaboration is essential for the successful institutionalisation and execution of the monthly cluster meetings. Integrating the needs of the ground was facilitated by a monitoring process that was designed and rolled out by OSEPA (Odisha School Education Programmer Authority -Samagra Shiksha ). A clearly outlined monitoring process, led by OSEPA and follow-up on implementation gaps, led by DEE (Directorate of Elementary Education), after each meeting, have been crucial aspects of conducting monthly cluster-level meetings.  

The key shift in strategy was using data to inform the design and execution of meetings through monitoring evidence and setting up follow-up processes. None of these would have been possible without inter-directorate collaboration. 

How has the strategy for monthly cluster-level meetings evolved over the past year? What were some of the early gains? 

The capsule-based format of the Monthly Cluster Meeting focused on strengthening FLN implementation at the school level has effectively adapted to the needs of the HM and teachers as well as the priorities of the School and Mass Education Department. 

Being the first cycle of the initiative, adaptation and evolution were key for setting up a quality process. The agenda, content design (session plan) and approach of delivery that was earlier demonstration-based in the 1st Monthly Cluster meeting changed to hands-on Practice-based, which saw a change in approach towards the evolution of the process. Additional supplementary materials on FLN classroom practice were curated and shared in later meetings.  

Apart from institutionalising the process, evidence collected by monitoring officials over the months has elicited that the meeting has been well accepted by the teachers and headmasters. Additionally, it has brought about evidence-based decision-making and collaboration across the Directorates. 

What do you see as the next phase of the monthly meeting platform?

The work on planning for the next cycle of meetings will soon be initiated. In the upcoming academic year, the focus will be to engage stakeholders at different levels to inform the content development process to make the meeting further relevant and aligned to its goal.

Work on stabilising processes and tools will be undertaken, followed by the orientation of respective officials, to ensure robust implementation of the process at each level, which will also be an essential part of the process. 

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