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Committee to determine fee as per info given on school websites

Fees, Private schools

03-03-2014

The Times of India

JAIPUR: The fee committee constituted by theSupreme Court will determine the fees of private schools on the basis of what they had mentioned on their websites. The move came after the committee’s repeated reminders to schools seeking information failed to evoke any response.

“The errant schools have left us with no choice but to collect information from their websites and propose fees to them after a one-month notice seeking objections,” said Justice Shiv Kumar Sharma, heading the fee committee. The committee said that they will take only tuition fees into account while charges under other categories will be ignored for determining the fees.

The fee committee constituted under the Rajasthan Fee Act was assigned the task of determining fees of private schools on the basis of expenses they are incurring on education. The state has over 37,000 private schools and almost 2/3 of them are yet to send the required information to the committee. Almost all schools have posted fee structure on their websites.

The fee committee has determined the fees of 400 schools so far and served notices to all of them in this regard. Sharma also cautioned private schools against hiking the fees other than what is prescribed.

The committee found most of the schools making profits more what was permitted. It is the sole reason why majority of them are hesitant to send information. Without disclosing the name, sources said that some schools in the city are making profits to the tune of five crores per year.

The committee has said that fees should not be charged under different categories like development, capitation, sports, ECE etc. It should only be tuition fee. The committee said that errant schools have to return fees charged other than tuition fees.

He said that schools which were served notices for hiking fees will face punitive action as per Rajasthan Schools Fee Act.

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Classroom Divisions

Private schools, Public Schools

22-Feb-2014

The Economist

THERE can scarcely be two words in Kenya that cause more resentment than “school fees”. It is now more than ten years since charges for state primary schools in east Africa’s biggest economy were abolished by law. Yet it is an open secret that education is not truly free. In fact, fees are rising. Dorcas Mutoku, a policeman’s wife whose two sons attend a public primary school in the capital, Nairobi, has found that levies have simply been renamed. She has to find the equivalent of $35 for a one-off “signing-on” fee, and pay almost as much again for admission fees. End-of-term exams, uniforms and books cost at least another $10 per child.

Kenya’s parents will get their day in court on February 21st, when a lawsuit will be heard that accuses Jacob Kaimenyi, the education minister, and Belio Kipsang, his top civil servant, of failing to implement the law. Musau Ndunda, head of the national parents’ association, which is bringing the suit, says the government is guilty of “extraordinary doublespeak” when its officials ask why anyone would pay to send their child to school. Adding to Mr Ndunda’s frustration is his awareness, shared by many thousands of Kenyan parents, that the illicit fees are not being spent on better books and facilities but are merely padding the incomes of school administrators, none of whom—as far as he can tell—has been prosecuted.

Kenya has made steady progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals to lessen poverty that were set by the UN in 2000. Foreign aid has poured into Kenya’s state education system, bringing the country as close as any in sub-Saharan Africa to achieving universal primary schooling. In the past decade about 4m new pupils entered the classroom; nearly nine out of ten school-age Kenyans under 11 are now in education.

But the row over the continued imposition of fees, and concerns over plummeting standards, make many observers wonder if the money has been wisely spent. Mwangi Kimenyi, a Kenyan economist at the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington, DC, says that donors and governments have broadened access to school at the cost of creating a “dysfunctional public-education system where millions of children are attending school but are not learning”.

The goal of wider enrolment, he argues, was “poorly conceived”, as it has failed to keep up standards. A World Bank report in 2013 found that Kenyan teachers were absent almost half the time. And pupils in Kenya’s state schools received on average little more than two hours of instruction a day. Another study found that only one-third of public-sector teachers scored at least 80% when tested on the curriculum they are meant to teach.

The big beneficiaries are Kenya’s private schools, where enrolment has tripled from 4% of pupils in 2005 to 12% at the latest count. They have to compete for pupils, can sack bad teachers, and offer tuition at relatively modest rates. Research by Brookings under its “Africa Growth Initiative” found that the fees for two-thirds of children in Kenyan private schools are lower than in the supposedly free state system.

Bridge International, a chain of local low-cost private schools, puts its cost per child in primary school at one-fifth of the $350 it estimates as the total real combined cost for parents and the state in the public system. “We’ve shown you can do a lot more with a lot less in the private sector,” says Shannon May, a co-founder. It is time, she adds, for big foreign donors to consider helping the private-education sector and for African governments to acknowledge and welcome its role in taking some of the strain off the state.

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Why poor parents increasingly send their children to private schools

Global news, Private schools

The Economist

26-10-2013

AT THE Spark primary school in Ferndale, a suburb of Johannesburg, Lesedi and his classmates work quietly through a computer programme that teaches arithmetic. Lesedi’s screen poses a question: “5+2 =?” When he enters the correct answer, his screen flashes like a slot machine paying the jackpot. In the next room a maths lesson is led by Dee Moodley. The class counts in unison to 200 in intervals of ten. Answers even to maths questions must be given in complete sentences. English is a second language for most pupils, and every chance is taken to brush up their skills.

This model of “blended learning”, in which classes given by teachers are mixed with computer-based lessons, is new to South Africa. Yet the Spark school, which opened in January and charges 13,000 rand ($1,300) a year, already has a waiting list. Spark is to open a second school next year and plans a total of 64 in the next decade. The speed with which such a new chain is attracting customers reflects a growing preference among South African parents for their children to be educated privately.

Just how fast demand is growing is not clear. The education department reckons the numbers enrolled in private schools rose by 76% in the decade to 2010, a time when many state schools closed. It puts the number of such schools in 2012 at 1,571, 6% of the total. The true figure is almost certainly larger, says Ann Bernstein of the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), a think-tank, which has just published a report on low-fee private schools. Umalusi, a regulator, said recently it had 3,500 such schools to watch. Many others do not register to avoid the regulator’s fees.

The reasons why private schools are mushrooming are not in doubt. Although South Africa is a middle-income country, its education system is anything but middling. The Swiss-based World Economic Forum ranks it 146th out of 148 countries—and last in mathematics and science. This is not for want of money. Education chews up a fifth of the state’s budget. Teachers are relatively well paid. But standards are low and results dismal. Only four in ten pupils that start school stick it out to pass the matric, the school-leavers’ exam, though the pass mark is as low as 30%, says the CDE. Just 12% achieve high enough marks to get into university. And only 11% get a mark of 40% or above in maths.

It is hard to call state schools to account for this. Teachers’ unions have blocked the use of school inspectors or performance reviews. So more poor parents are willing to pay to send their children to private schools, the kind that run out of customers and money if they perform badly.

Marrying access for poor pupils and high-quality teaching is hard. Set fees too high, and only the rich can afford them; set them too low, and there is too little money to compete for good teachers. So schools often look to boost their fee income. Vuleka, a chain of seven primary and nursery schools in Johannesburg, charges fees of 14,000 rand a year. Its results in reading and maths are well above average, but it pays its teachers a bit less than the going rate to keep fees down. “Teachers who want to teach know they will be supported here,” says Melanie Sharland, the executive head. Even then Vuleka must raise 2,400 rand per pupil to cover teaching costs. A fifth of pupils get help with fees. Many are orphans. So yet more money from donors is needed.

Vuleka also gets a subsidy of 25% of the 11,000 rand the state says it costs to educate a child. Private schools that set their fees low enough qualify for a subsidy of up to 60% of that figure. Ms Bernstein says the proportion should be at least 90%, as in Pakistan and Chile. Yet many schools are unwilling to rely on payments from the state, which often arrive late or not at all.

Spark eschews them. It runs on a strict for-profit basis because its founders, Stacey Brewer and Ryan Harrison, believe that a model that relies on donations cannot work on a national scale. Instead it looks to blended learning and other innovations to keep its running costs down.

The ruling African National Congress, whose leaders once embraced Marxism, is unlikely to celebrate the rise of private schools for the poor. But nowadays it will be loth to inveigh against them.

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HC stays closure of 1,372 unrecognized private schools in Haryana

Private schools

Times of India

4-10-2013

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday stayed the closure of 1,372 unrecognized private schools in Haryana. These were facing closure as they had failed to comply with certain norms and were being run without recognition from the authorities concerned.

Justice R K Jain of the HC stayed the closure after taking up a petition filed by Jhilmil Phulwari and other private schools. The future of thousands of students would be in jeopardy if their schools were closed in the mid-academic session, the petitioners had pleaded. A state education department survey had identified 1,372 schools, which were being run without recognition from the department. The managements of these schools had not even applied for recognition from the government. The survey was conducted following a PIL in Punjab and Haryana high court. All such schools were issued show-cause notices by the government in July.

Asserting that these schools were located in remote, disadvantageous and geographically tough regions, the petitioners contended that they were into providing elementary education and provide facilities from pre-nursery to eighth standard.

It was also argued that, in April, the Haryana CM had ordered all private unaided schools, to whom recognition was yet to be granted, were to continue provisionally for the 2013-14 session. It was also claimed that all of them had applied online for recognition and their applications were pending consideration.

The petitioners have sought orders from the HC to restrain the state government from closing their institutions.

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CCE is aimed at changing teaching: CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi

Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation, Private schools, Reservation of seats

Times of India

13-june-2013

 

Be it  Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), or the newly introduced Open Text Based Assessment, the Central government’s aim is to improve the education system, says  CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi. During his visit to the city, he spoke with Isha Jain on the reforms taken by CBSE, and the challenges with CCE.

Despite being mandatory, many CBSE schools are not adhering to 25% quota for weaker section?

Yes, many schools, especially the elite ones, are not following this. We are now planning to go for a mechanism to check who is following it and who isn’t. Since authority to take action is out of our control, we will seek the feedback of schools not following it and then encourage them to do that.

It’s said CBSE is experimenting too much with the students. Your take.

It’s a perception. Since we launched CCE in 2009, the basic scheme hasn’t changed much. Only weightage of summative assessments have been changed. Over years, we have clarified a lot on CCE.

Any plans to introduce CCE in class 12?

The scheme is finalized but we first want to consolidate it at class 10 level.

Students with CCE in class 10 say they will feel the pressure when they appear for class 12 board exams. Is it right?

The message of CCE has completely gone wrong with the people. CCE is aimed at changing teaching methodology to match it with the changing times. Till class 10, it is generalised studies, at plus 2 level, it is specialisation. So, slight pressure is there but class 12 students are mature. The problem is with the teachers who are still continuing with the traditional way of teaching. We carried a random survey to assess the impact of CCE on class 11 students. We found them doing exceedingly well. CCE helps in generating self-study habits in students while teachers play the role of facilitators.

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Enrolment in private schools better than govt ones: study

Private schools

While there has been an overall improvement in enrolment at the elementary level in the country during 2010-11, a study has said that enrolment in private schools especially has been better than the government ones.
The National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) prepared report said as far as composite educational development index (EDI) is concerned, Puducherry and Lakshadweep continued to remain among the top three states with Punjab coming at the third place.

Highlighting the increased inclination among parents to enrol in their wards in private schools, the report said that while enrolment in classes I-V in government schools declined in 2010-11 as compared to 2009-10, those in private schools at these level increased.

Enrolment at government schools in 2010-11 between class I and V was 94088108 as compared to 96222886 in 2009-10. On the other hand, enrolment in all private schools between class I and V during 2010-11 was 38235561 as compared to 37099124 registered in 2009-10, the report said.

The overall enrolment in all schools during the period between class I and V stood at 135207057 in 2010-11 as compared to 133405581 in 2009-10.

Similarly, enrolment in classes VI-VIII stood at 57844942 in 2010-11 as against 54467415 in 2009-10, said the report, which tracks the progress of states towards providing universal elementary education.
The report ‘Elementary Education in India: Progress towards UEE’ also showed a marginal improvement in enrolment among girls between class VI and VIII and a slight drop between class I and V.

While the enrolment stood at 48.39 per cent in 2010-11 as against 48.12 per cent in 2009-10, it dropped by 0.05 per cent between class I and V, standing at 48.41 per cent in 2010-11.

Muslim enrolment at the primary level stood at 13.04 per cent, down from 13.48 per cent registered in 2009-10.
Punjab has pipped Kerala to be among the top three states along with Puducherry and Lakshadweep in EDI for 2010-11 which tracks the progress of states towards providing universal elementary education.

The study shows that Punjab gained four places to be among the top three states in EDI, improving from seventh position last time to third position. In the process, it pipped Kerala whose rank stood at the fifth place. Tamil Nadu was placed fourth among the 35 states.

The study was based on the data received from as many as 1.36 million schools spread over 637 districts across 35 states.

The Indian Express, 23 July 2012

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Top Kolkata schools, govt clash over RTE

Implementation, Private schools, Right to Education

KOLKATA: At least 13 top Kolkata schools are on a collision course with the state government over the implementing of the Right to Education Act. All these schools – 10 under the Church of North India (CNI) and three others – are private unaided minority institutions. The principals of these schools pointed out to state education minister Bratya Basu on Friday that while upholding the validity of the RTE Act on April 12 this year, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Act would apply to all categories of public and private schools except unaided minority institutions.

Many of these schools claimed that they have with them copies of the Supreme Court judgment. The state government, however, said that no such apex court order was known to it.

“The Centre has not instructed us to exempt private minority unaided schools from the RTE. We will send a letter to the HRD ministry and seek clarifications. Till then, all these schools will have to follow the RTE Act ,” education minister Bratya Basu said.

According to one of the principals who attended the meeting, Basu told them that he had spoken to Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal, who had clarified that the Act covers all schools. The principal said they might move court for clarification if the government insisted on bringing them under the RTE Act.

Basu told the principals at the meeting that as per the RTE Act, all schools will have to keep aside 25% of seats for poor children. “As specified in the Act, the state government will bear the cost of buying their uniforms, providing school books and all other expenses that will be incurred by the school,” he said.

He also asked the schools to impose a complete ban on corporal punishments.

The Times of India, 07 July 2012

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Private school managements seek clarity on minority institutions

Minority Education, Private schools, Right to Education

BANGALORE: Even as the implementation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE) may be under way, some associations representing private schools are still unclear about certain aspects as far as implementation of the Act is concerned. A confusion is the definition of minority institutions.

“We wrote to the State government on April 30, asking that the word ‘minority’ should be defined when they exempted minority institutions from the purview of the Act. We got a reply on May 7 saying that it will be discussed; but we have received no information since then,” said K.V. Dhananjay, advocate for the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA).

Explaining that the association had both minority as well as majority institutions, Mr. Dhananjay said that this would help them know which schools fall under the minority category.

‘PRESSURE’

Sudi Suresh, Secretary, Karnataka State Private School Management Federation, said that various member-school managements were constantly being pressured to accept applications coming in after May 25, despite it being the last day to accept applications. “Member-schools have accepted applications till the last date of May 25 and students have availed themselves of seats as well,” he said.

However, Block Education Officer (BEO), North Range 1, Gopalakrishna, maintained that no management had complained about receiving late applications.

“If we receive complaints, it shall be discussed with the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI).
“Action will be taken against managements who refuse to accept children who applied before the last date,” he pointed out.

KUSMA has called a meeting of its members on Sunday. “The 1,800 members of the association have unanimously decided that they will do as suggested by KUSMA but the final decision will be taken by the managements,” said Mr. Dhananjay.
Mr. Suresh also said that members of the Karnataka State Private School Management Federation will meet Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri next week to discuss the issues that need to be resolved.

The Hindu, 24 June 2012

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RTE: 32,000 schools to be put on notice

Private schools, Reservation of seats

MUMBAI: Around 32,000 schools in the state will be slapped with notices for not following the rule of giving 25% of their seats to students from weaker socioeconomic sections under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education 2009 (RTE) Act this academic year.

Another notice will also be issued to schools that haven’t started the process for obtaining a certificate of registration which has become mandatory for all schools under the new Act. Schools that are unable to show cause stand to lose their recognition.

As per preliminary data, not more than 20 students have been admitted into the schools under the 25% quota. The education department will now seek an explanation from every school, including 20,460 government-aided schools and 12,144 private unaided schools on why they did not admit at least 25% of poor students. Sanjay Deshmukh, nodal officer for RTE and special project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) said, “It appears that the schools have not received many applications for these seats. But many school authorities did not even display the total number of seats and dates for application on their notice boards. Big schools in Nagpur have implemented the 25% reservation, then why haven’t city schools done the same?”

Also, none of the schools in the city have applied for registration under the new rule that stipulates that no school can be established without obtaining a certificate of registration from the state government. This certificate will be given only to schools that meet RTE norms of infrastructure and teacher qualifications. The schools have to acquire this certificate within three years from the commencement of the Act i.e. before March 31, 2013. But since the certificate can only be issued after an inspection of the school premises, the education authorities had asked schools to submit information two years ago.
“So far, not a single school has applied. We had asked for early applications because these provisions are time-consuming. For primary school teachers who do not have graduate degrees, we give a five-year period for teachers to pursue higher qualifications. But if schools do not apply sooner, they will miss the March 31 deadline,” said Deshmukh.
However, schools say that they did not receive the notifications till last year. Najma Kazi, principal of Anjuman Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ High School, Byculla, says that they received the notification for the self-application in October 2011. “The government was late in sending out the notifications. We are compiling the data and all the schools under our management will submit the data by June 30,” she added.

Daily News and Analysis, 13 June 2012

Comment

Private schools to be penalised for not implementing RTE: Govt

Private schools, Right to Education

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Government has decided to initiate punitive measures against private schools which had not filled 25 per cent seats with the poor students under Right to Education Act.
Affiliation of all these private schools would be cancelled and a fine of Rs one lakh would be imposed on them, Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka said here today.
Records of all private schools, specifically mentioning the seats filled with poor students under RTE, have been sought from District Education Officers, he said.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has personally instructed all departments of Punjab Government to ensure implementation of policies structured for uplift of the downtrodden and poor families, Maluka said.

Business Standard, 24 May 2012

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