PM SHRI: Here is what the scheme is about and how it will be implemented

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs 27,360 crore budget for the ‘PM Schools for Rising India’ (PM SHRI) scheme, which plans to upgrade nearly 14,500 government schools across the country under the National Education Policy, 2022.

What is PM SHRI, and how will it help the government schools of India?

What is the PM SHRI scheme?

Under the PM SHRI scheme, 14,500 schools across India’s states and Union Territories will be upgraded with modern infrastructure, the latest learning tools and technology, smart classrooms, upgraded sports facilities, etc.

The schools will also be developed into “green schools” with solar panels, smarter waste disposal and management systems, naturally farmed nutrition gardens, water conservation and harvesting system, and more. The curricular and extra-curricular activities will also be redesigned to reflect the key features of the NEP 2020.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the idea was to create a set of schools that will act as “NEP labs.” In terms of the quality of education, there will be special modules on improving foundational literacy and numeracy. Each school will be linked to higher education institutions for mentoring, and there will be provisions for internships with local artisans.

How will the PM SHRI scheme will be implemented?

PM SHRI — a centrally sponsored scheme where the total cost is usually split 60-40 between the Centre and the state/UTs — has a total budget of Rs 27,360 crore, with Rs 18,128 crore as the Centre’s share. Its first leg will be completed over five years, from FY 2022-23 to FY 2026-27. The scheme plans to upgrade any existing government school, whether under the central, state or municipal governments, including Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawahar Navodya Vidyalayas.

Schools are required to apply online on the official portal, which will open once every quarter for the first two years of the scheme. The state governments will identify the schools under the scheme’s criteria. These criteria will include more than 55 parameters, including the school’s consent to implement the NEP and basic facilities like electricity, water, sewage etc.

Teams of government officials will then conduct a physical inspection to verify the school’s claims. “Maximum two schools (one elementary and one secondary or senior secondary) would be selected per block/ ULB…” (urban local body) as per the plan. An expert committee will take the final call. These schools will also “offer mentorship” to other schools in their vicinity.

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