Learning hubs to enhance school quality

Kochi: In a major initiative, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to form hubs of learning among affiliated schools for quality enhancement of poorly-performing schools from coming academic year. These hubs will enable sharing, co-operation and learning among small groups of neighbourhood schools and will also adopt innovative pedagogies including experiential and active learning.

The hubs will also focus on skills, art and sports, capacity building of teachers, and holistic development of the child through life-skills and value-based education.

This is in continuation of initiatives like learning-outcome based teaching; capacity-building of teachers; physical-emotional safety and wellness of students; supportive infrastructure aligned towards inclusion and mainstreaming of sports and co-curricular activities. Moreover, artificial intelligence (AI), early childhood care education and yoga too are being included in the curriculum.

“It is understood that there are several best and innovative practices already existing within the affiliated schools of CBSE. It is therefore important for schools to learn from each other and partner each other to augment their self-improvement,” said Anurag Tripathi, Secretary, CBSE, in a detailed circular outlining the importance of forming Hubs of Learning.

Initially groups of 4 to 6 neighborhood schools will be formed in this hub for collaborative growth. “School leadership would assume greater responsibility towards improving the quality of the school and also extending support to neighbourhood schools. All schools in a given group are expected to be ‘givers’ as well as ‘receivers’ of support, fresh ideas, resources, opportunities for student learning, opportunities for teacher learning and other joint activities. The Board is of the view that there is as much to learn from a small school with less resources as from a large school with several resources,” said Anurag Tripathi.

The hubs will provide a common and shared platform across different areas of teaching-learning viz. curriculum planning, teaching-learning activities and other school practices.

They will provide an opportunity to share a repertoire of ideas, instructional and assessment strategies which would help individual teachers to improve classroom practices and contribute to their continuous professional development. They will enable sharing of resources like manpower, infrastructure and teaching-learning material. The hubs will promote solidarity by facilitating joint conduct of various student/staff activities.

There will be platforms for sharing information and expertise, observations and reflections on areas such as annual pedagogical plans/curriculum plans and transaction strategies, among other things. Co-planning of curriculum transaction and even co-teaching in areas of difficulty are also proposed in the hubs. Organising quizzes, project demonstrations, art exhibitions, and other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and cooperating with each other in the area of educational and school related needs of children with special needs are also planned under the hubs.

In order to augment each member school’s organisational and administrative skills, there will be sharing/exchange of resources including manpower and infrastructure as far as possible. The digital collaboration will include sharing of e-content and other digital resources and learning from each other’s digital tools for better teaching and learning. Tying up jointly with industry for skill courses is also envisaged under the platform.

Supporting each other in professional development by exchanging or participating in each other’s in-service training programs and sharing information related to this, promoting academic enrichment through teacher exchange programmes, common science fairs, joint seminars, workshops, trainings, exchange of ideas, instructional strategies and assessment procedures are also envisaged in the hubs.

Each group would be assigned a unique number which shall be based on state, district and city code. Wherever the schools in an identified hub are not located in the same city, and if frequent real-time meetings are not possible, the schools can do virtual meetings and programmes, with the use of IT tools such as Skype.

The Board has also made it clear that these groups are in no way co-terminus with, or an extension of Sahodaya. Therefore, Sahodaya groups cannot give directions to these hubs or join them. Unlike Sahodaya which is a voluntary effort, the Hubs of Learning are mandated by the Board.

“From among the schools participating in a Hub of Learning, one school shall be nominated as Lead Collaborator School by the Board on the basis of Board results and other criteria such as pupil teacher ratio, innovative practices in the school,” the circular by the Secretary said. The term of the Lead Collaborator School is for two years and would be on rotation basis. If mutually agreeable, they can also nominate the same school as Lead Collaborator School again.

The Lead Collaborator School must also provide handholding support to all other schools to ensure the implementation of safety guidelines as laid down in CBSE Affiliation Byelaws. The Hubs of Learning must meet frequently, at least once a month and keep a record of all activities undertaken jointly.

 At the time of school inspection for extension or upgradation, this record will also be checked to ascertain the genuine efforts made by the schools for self-improvement. The CBSE has also made it clear that it shall not be funding these Hubs of Learning in any form.

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