Implementation of Life Skills Education in State Board Schools of Madhya Pradesh

12 December 2017

Background: Adolescence is a period of transition marked by physical, physiological and psychological changes. Often, adolescents are not informed and/or prepared for the rapid pace of physical, emotional and psychological changes that they undergo during adolescence. Misconceptions about issues related to growing up, make them anxious. Adolescence is thus a turning point in one’s life, a period of increased potential but also one of vulnerability if they are not supported and guided to access accurate information and develop skills to take informed and responsible decisions.

Studies have shown that equipping adolescents with life skills help them to make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner. In India, adolescent girls account for nearly 11% of the population but remain an invisible group (UNFPA 2003- Adolescents in India: A Profile). Society usually fails to respect their human rights, leaving them powerless to act in a way that improves their lives at home, school or work.

Based on positive results from the previous project implemented by UNFPA and its IP in collaboration with RMSA on LSE in girls hostel from Indore division, state has initiated introduction of LSE in school setting in phased manner. During first phase UNFPA supported module development and training of master trainers for the basic module which will be used for 9th class in future and LSE is introduced in all schools from district headquarter block of each of the 51 districts. UNFPA plans to continue its support in institutionalizing the LSE in all government secondary schools in the state and use standard specific modules for class 9th till class 12th in order to ensure behaviour change among the adolescents.

Objectives of the program: The program will be implemented with following objectives

1.      To enhance skills of adolescent students enrolled in government secondary schools to achieve their goals and to make informed decision for better health and wellbeing.

2.      To address harmful social practices like child marriage, Gender inequality, dowry through well informed and skilled adolescents.

3.      To build capacity and skills of teachers to provide LSE to adolescents enrolled in the schools to address adolescent needs.

4.      To strengthen existing systems with RMSA and Dept. of Education to institutionalize LSE in government secondary schools across the states.

Implementation Strategies: Following activities and strategies will be used under the project for institutionalizing LSE across all 8548 government secondary schools in the state

1.      Development of class specific modules for Life Skills Education Program:  The agency will have to develop standard specific module for class 10th ,11th and 12th building on the basic module already developed and in use for class 9th. The agency will use following steps in  module development

a.      Formation of small technical group for drafting of module: Agency with support from UNFPA will identify technical experts working on Life Skills Education in the state and form a small group of 5 -7 experts for drafting of standard specific module.

b.      Module development Workshop: The agency will organize workshop with the technical group for drafting the module. The groups will review the basic module and develop subsequent modules. The group during the workshop will formulate draft sessions on the identified topics and will finalise the session within 15 days of the workshop.

c.       Workshop with teachers and principals for review of draft modules: The agency in collaboration with RMSA will organise workshop with teachers and Principals to review the draft modules for its content, language and activities suggested under each session. The workshop will be organised with a group 15 -20 teachers and Principals are trained as district trainers for first module. The draft will be revised based on the inputs from the teachers and principals.

d.      Pilot testing of the draft modules with group of students: The agency will conduct pilot testing of the draft module with the group of adolescent boys and girls. The pilot testing will be done in 3-5 schools and preferably; one boys and one girl’s school. Pilot testing will be of 5 days duration in each of the school and will conduct all the sessions in each school to get feedback on the sessions, its contents, activity from the students.

e.      Revision of draft modules based on the pilot testing: The agency will revise the module based on the feedback from the students in 8 -15 days from the pilot testing. Teachers involved in the pilot testing of the module will also be involved in revision of the module.

f.        Module review and approval committee at state level: The agency will submit the revised final draft modules to RMSA. RMSA and Dept. of Education will constitute a technical committee having officials from the department and also representatives from other organizations for review and approval of the LSE modules for the state. The agency will modify the module based on the comments and suggestions from state level technical committee.

2.      Training of District level master trainers: After the finalization of the LSE module, the agency in collaboration with RMSA will train district trainers which were trained on the basic module on modules for class10th, 11th and 12th as district level master trainers. The identified district level trainers ( DIET and BRC) will be trained at government training institution in a 5 days training. The ToT will not only introduce the trainers to the module but also methodology to train nodal teachers and ensure practice sessions during the training. 4-6 district level trainers will be trained for each of the district.

3.      Training of block level trainers cum mentors: As the program will be introduced in the all the secondary school covering 8548 secondary and will need to train more than 17000 teachers to initiate LSE sessions hence only district trainers will not be able to conduct the trainings of nodal teachers. The district trainers will organise five day district level training for at least 4 block trainers from each block and every district will organise one batch of such training. The staff from the agency will be involved in monitoring the quality of the training organised by district trainers for training of block trainers. The agency will have to provide details of how many trainings will be monitored, days required for monitoring and number of part time staff involved in monitoring the quality of the training.

4.      Identification and capacity building of 3 -5 block level mentors for handholding and monitoring of the LSE roll out in secondary schools:  Dept. of Education and RMSA will identify at least 3 -5 teachers from every  block who are trained as nodal teachers to work as mentors for remaining teachers in the block. The project will provide support to RMSA and Dept. of education in conducting one day orientation of the identified block level mentors at district level. The agency staff provide support in organising one batch of block mentor orientation in each district.

5.      Training of school teachers on Life Skills Program: As per the proposed program for LSE, two teachers from each school will be trained at the block level by block Level trainers. Each district will have to conduct 8-10 batches for the training for teachers of 5 days duration. The agency staff will monitor the quality of the training organised by district trainers for nodal teachers on sample basis. RMSA and Dept. of Education will train 17000 teachers across the state in 425 batches. The agency is expected to provide details related to number of batches to be monitored by the staff, number of field visits and days.

6.      Monitoring the quality of the nodal teachers training by the agency staff: As the district level training of block trainers will be conducted by the district trainers trained by the selected agency trainers and similarly block level trainers will conduct training of nodal teachers hence it will be critical to monitor the quality of the training at district and block level for training of nodal teachers from the school. The agency will hire short terms trainers team to monitor the quality of the training at district level. The agency is expected to provide details related to number of short term staff engaged in monitoring the quality of training, number of trainings to be monitored at block level, number of days required for monitoring and tools they will use to monitor the quality of training.

7.      Orientation of all teachers by trained teachers at school: As modules will be transacted with  all sections of standard 9th to 12th hence more teachers will be needed to conduct session with each section. The trained teachers will conduct a two day training of all teachers posted at the school and orient them on the Life Skills Module and how each sessions needs to be transacted with the students. Trained teachers will identify 2 -3 additional teachers from the school after the 2 day orientation to take sessions with the students based on their understanding and interest in the subject. The selected agency is expected to provide small orientation manual to the nodal teachers for orientation of the other teachers in the school.

8.      Identification of Peer Educators and orientation of the PEs for LSE Activities: Trained teachers from each of the school will identify 2 students who are popular among the class and who are regular in school to work as Peer Educator for LSE program Trained teachers will conduct one day orientation of the identified PE’s from each class and section to orient them on the program and their role as Peer Educators. The state office will advocate with the department to provide comics to the peer educators in secondary schools. The trainers from the agency staff will train the district trainers and block level mentors in a one or two day training program on how to use comics by peer educators for small group meetings with their classmates. The block mentors will orient the peer educators during their school visit along with the nodal teachers.

9.      Session on LSE for 9th -12th students in government schools by trained teachers: Life Skills Education program sessions will be initiated by the trained teachers with the students. District trainers, state trainers and program management staff from the agency will visit schools periodically to monitor the progress and quality of the sessions.

a.      Total number of sessions for the academic year:  each teacher will have to conduct about 18 -20 sessions with students from class 9th and 10th and 10-12 sessions will be imparted to the  students from class 11th and 12th.

b.      Timeframe for conducting the sessions: Each school will initiate sessions on life skills from August 2017 and will complete all the mandatory sessions by January 2018. Sessions will not be held during exam duration.

The agency is required to provide detail plan for regular monitoring of the school level sessions in terms of number of schools to be monitored every month, number of staff engaged in monitoring of schools level sessions, number of days per month for field level monitoring, approach they will use to analyse the observations from school level monitoring and share with relevant officials for necessary action.

10.  Assessment of students on LSE at the end of academic session: As it was expressed by the teachers and Principals that any course without assessment is not taken seriously by students as well as teachers and transaction become just a formality. The agency will develop the assessment formats and also orient the district trainers on process to use it. The agency will also support in analysing the results from the assessment and will explore possibility of using technology for the same. The agency will have to provide detail approach they will use to provide support in analysis of the result at the end of each academic session.

11.  Monitoring and supervision systems: it will be necessary to establish strong monitoring and supervision mechanism for roll out of LSE program in all the schools. District nodal officers will review the transaction at school level during their visits to schools for other areas using a structured checklist. Selected agency staff will also make monthly visits to different districts on rotation basis and visit at least 5 districts each month and will visit at least 4 schools from 2 districts during the visit. LSE progress will also be reviewed at the district level by district level monthly review meetings. The staff from selected agency will be expected to participate in district level monthly review meetings in few districts every month. The agency is expected to provide details related to number of district to be covered every month for attending monthly review meetings, number of days required for attending monthly review meeting, number of staff involved in monthly review meeting.

12.  Development of offline software for career counselling of secondary students: Dept. of Education and RMSA is keen to provide basic career counselling to the adolescents enrolled in government secondary school and requested UNFPA to provide support in exploring best approach to provide such counselling in secondary schools. UNFPA state office contacted qualified career counsellors and most of them are using paper based career counselling in person setting which is not feasible for government to offer. The state office also explored possibility of offline software for basic career counselling which will be more feasible for government to offer and discussed the same with Indore based agency which was ready to develop offline software which is customised for government. The agency will identify software development agency and a qualified career counsellor to develop the software. The offline software for career counselling will be pilot tested in 7 divisional headquarter district during 2018-19 academic session and will be scaled up in all schools based on the experience and usefulness during 2019 -20 academic session.

12.1    Training of district trainers on offline software by career counsellor and software development agency: The agency will engage career counsellor and software development agency in training of district trainers from 7 districts at state level. The training will be hands on training. The selected agency is expected to organize one batch of the training with 40 participants. The selected agency is expected to provide details on development of training manual and user guide, approach to be used for training and duration of the training.

12.2    District level Training of the block mentors on offline software: The agency will provide support to RMSA and Dept. of Education for conducting district level training of the block mentors on offline software. One batch of district level training will be organised in each of the 7 selected districts. The training will be for 2 days and will be hands on training. It is expected that the agency will provide the detail approach and activities to be taken up for providing support to districts in training of block mentors on offline software.

12.3    Block level training of Nodal Teachers on offline software on career counselling: The block mentors after receiving the training will organise a block level training for the nodal teachers on how to administer the career counselling test using offline software. The block mentors will organise one or two batches of training in each block depending on the number of the school in the block. The staff of the agency is expected to monitor the quality of the trainings at block level on offline software. The agency is expected to provide details plan for monitoring the quality of the trainings in terms of number of block level trainings to be monitored, number of short terms staff engaged for monitoring, number of days required for planned monitoring.