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Election the Best Time to Ask for More Money in Education

Access to education, Primary Education, Secondary Education

16-03-2014

The New Indian Express

In one of my articles during 2013, I had qualified myself as a selfish academic and requested the finance minister for more budgetary allocations for education. I now rebrand myself as an academic activist. It needs reasonable activism than prolonged patience for education to get its due. The Annual School Education Reports (ASER), the gross neglect of higher education reflected in the battle for power between UGC and AICTE, curtailed research grants in the name of fiscal discipline, etc. are pointers calling for a tectonic shift in the thought process of policymakers. The fundamental unit in the education value chain is school education. Let us begin there first.

The ASER and PISA reports on the status of Indian school education are reduced to innocuous annual rituals—the media reports, policymakers react, readers read and the nation forgets in the noise generated by the high-decibel chest-thumpers who at the drop of the hat claim that Right to Education (RTE) as the sarva roga nivarana (cure for all diseases) for school education. RTE has definitely increased enrolment and UNESCO compliments India for that. But has it increased enlightenment? Indian school education system needs, in Clay Christensen’s words, “disruptive action”. Here are some disruptive ideas that need sustained and genuine activism from concerned stakeholders.

Government schools despite receiving the largest proportion from budget allocations are still struggling. Why should students attending government schools be victims of systemic inefficiency? They certainly deserve good education considering the salaries teachers get or they be provided with alternate pathways for private school education. The ongoing teacher recruitment and disproportionately huge salaries or the RTE rhetoric is certainly not the right solution. There are two quick solutions.

Using my good friend Prof. R Vaidyanathan’s analogy, educational loans in India must follow the housing loan policy—not in the interest rates or repayment terms, but in the extent of coverage. A housing loan covers the entire house, beginning from foundation to terrace. There is no housing loan for a new house meant only for the first or second floor. Unfortunately, educational loans in India are only for the first and second floors. Not for the foundation. The gap between the costs of government and private school education is definitely huge. While higher education is important for a country’s economic progress, isn’t school education also equally, if not more, important? The Government of India is careful in ensuring that no student is deprived of higher education (public or private) for want of finances. In similar measure, no student must be deprived of private school education for want of finance and hence must have access to interest-free bank loans for school education. Such interest-waiver is definitely not a burden to the government but an investment for India’ future.

ASER reports are time and again critical of the poor teacher attendance and the resultant student output in government schools. The Government of India must announce a zero income tax for all school teachers (public and private) and such income tax waivers must be linked with teacher performance. Teacher performance shall be measured by a fool-proof mechanism that tests four critical parameters—student output, self-development, contribution to school and contribution to community. A teacher who satisfies all the four dimensions shall be eligible for full income tax waiver and this system needs to be administered diligently.

When corporate India asked for more, UPA (I & II) gave them a waiver of over Rs 35,00,000 crore (Government of India’s foregone revenue). It’s asking time now. I have asked. Will other academic activists join me?

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Education in Vietnam Very good on paper

Higher Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education

The Economist

12-12-2013

ON SATURDAY morning, December 14th, America’s secretary of state, John Kerry, will travel to Vietnam. One of his talking points, according to the State Department, will be the “empowering role of education”. But it seems like Vietnam has already taken the message.

On December 3rd, the OECD released the results from its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an exam administered every three years to 15- and 16-year-olds in dozens of countries. Vietnam recently joined the test for the first time, and it scored remarkably well—higher in maths than America and Britain, though not as high as Shanghai or Singapore. Nguyen Vinh Hien, a deputy minister for education, characterised Vietnam’s overall 17th-place ranking out of 65 countries and economies as a pleasant “surprise.”

 

The PISA scores, as they are known, measured how a half-million students from randomly selected schools answered written and multiple-choice questions in a two-hour test. Mathematics was the primary focus, but students were also evaluated on reading, science and problem-solving. Coverage of the scores by the Western news media suggested that the impressive maths performance by Vietnam, where per-capita GDP is only about $1,600, was perhaps a bit humbling for education officials in Washington, London and other self-regarding world capitals.

What explains Vietnam’s good score? Christian Bodewig of the World Bank says it reflects, among other positive things, years of investment in education by the government and a “high degree of professionalism and discipline in classrooms across the country”. But Mr Bodewig adds that the score may be impressive in part because so many poor and disadvantaged Vietnamese students drop out of school. The World Bank reports that in 2010 the gross enrolment rate at upper-secondary schools in Vietnam was just 65%, compared with 89% and 98% in America and Britain, respectively. South Korea’s rate was 95%.

A chorus of Vietnamese education specialists say that Vietnam’s PISA score does not fully reflect the reality of its education system, which is hamstrung by a national curriculum that encourages rote memorisation over critical thinking and creative problem-solving. “Every child in this country learns the same thing,” and nationwide tests merely reinforce the intellectual homogeneity that results, in the lament of To Kim Lien, the director of the Centre for Education and Development, a Vietnamese non-profit in Hanoi. Ms Lien reckons that instead of catalysing educational reform, the score might provide a convenient excuse for complacency in matters of policy. And the old-fashioned, inward-looking Ministry of Education and Training, she adds, is a past master at complacency.

Another systemic problem is a general lack of “integrity” in Vietnam’s education sector, in the words of Nguyen Thi Kieu Vien of the Global Transparency Education Network, a new initiative of Transparency International, a watchdog based in Berlin. In a recent survey the organisation found that 49% of Vietnamese respondents perceived their education sector to be “corrupt” or “highly corrupt”. The percentage was higher than that found in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. Corruption is plainly evident at elite Vietnamese schools, where slots for pupils are routinely sold for $3,000 each. Yet it also exists on a smaller scale, in subtler forms. Many Vietnamese teachers hold extra tuitions, outside of regular school hours, for a small fee of between $2.50 and $5 per lesson. Not all parents can afford to pay these fees, and so the practice tends to exacerbate inequality.

In November some top-ranking national officials passed a resolution calling for reform in the education sector. Kim Ngoc Minh, an education researcher in Hanoi, says the resolution is the most comprehensive and ambitious in a generation. Other education specialists however wonder whether the resolution, which calls for reform in broad stokes, will translate into actual policy changes.

Actual changes are badly needed. In 2008, researchers from Harvard reported that Vietnam’s higher-education system was in “crisis“, and that it lagged far behind the systems of Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, to say nothing of those in China, Taiwan and South Korea. As a warning, they pointed to the comparative lack of articles published by Vietnamese researchers in peer-reviewed international journals. The Harvard memo also said the government was awarding research funding “uncompetitively”, and that there was a vast difference between what graduates had learned and what prospective employers wanted them to know.

These shortcomings can be linked to others in primary and secondary schools. Ms Lien of the Centre for Education and Development says that a basic reform package might begin with the younger age group, by including parents in a decision-making process that has long been dominated by the education ministry. Nearly two years ago, she was among a dozen senior educators who submitted paperwork to the ministry requesting permission to establish a national parent-teacher association. Their group still has not received an official response. Perhaps the ministry is afraid of what Vietnamese parents might say, if they had a platform.

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Education Development Index (EDI) 2012-2013 released by NEUPA

Primary Education, Secondary Education

09-12-2013

Jagran Josh

The annual Education Development Index (EDI) 2012-13 was released on 6 December 2013 by the National University of Education Planning and Administration (NEUPA). The EDI comprises of four parameters: access, infrastructure, teachers and outcomes.
According to the EDI rankings prepared by NEUPA on the basis of statistics collected by the District Information System for Education (DISE), Lakshadweep has retained its top position with a composite EDI score of 0.712.
Composite EDI score is prepared by the NEUPA taking into account both the performances in primary and upper primary levels.
Lakshadweep is followed by Puducherry (0.696), Tamil Nadu (0.683), Sikkim (0.672) and Karnataka (0.661).
Among the BIMARU States, the downward slide continues for Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan except Bihar which has recovered a bit.
Uttar Pradesh has slipped from 32nd in 2011-12 to 34th in 2012-13 with an EDI score of 0.508. Madhya Pradesh slipped from 26th to 28th slot with an EDI score of 0.552. Rajasthan slipped from 23rd position to 25th with an EDI score of 0.572.
Other Notable highlights of the EDI Report • The most remarkable recovery among the northern states is made by Punjab. It has recovered from 13th position to 6th in 2012-13 with an EDI score of 0.647. • Gujarat has slipped from 9th in 201-12 to 18th in 2012-13 with an EDI score of 0.591. • Among the southern states the biggest decline has been of Kerala. It has slipped from 7th in 2011-12 to 14th in 2012-13 with an EDI score of 0.603. • The reason for overall poor ranking of Kerala has been on account of reverses in primary education. In primary education, the state’s rank went down to 20th from sixth in 2011-12. • Delhi slipped from 6th in 2011-12 to 11th in 2012-13 in overall ranking with an EDI score of 0.627. • Maharashtra has shown consistency retaining its 8th with an EDI score of 0.635.

TOP FIVE STATES LOWER FIVE STATES
STATES EDI SCORE STATES EDI SCORE
1. Lakshadweep 0.712 31. West Bengal 0.527
2. Puducherry 0.696 32. Assam 0.527
3. Tamil Nadu 0.683 33. Goa 0.520
4. Sikkim 0.672 34. Uttar Pradesh 0.508
5. Karnataka 0.661 35. Jharkhand 0.452

A Brief Analysis The rankings reflect the achievements of the states in the education sector. Variety of indicators presented in the flash statistics revealed improvement in all the components of universal elementary education including average annual drop-out rate and retention at primary level of education. Moreover, more schools now have drinking water and toilet facility and other necessary infrastructure in school than in the previous year. The EDI rankings reflect that there remains huge gap between the southern and the northern region. When the EDI of southern and northern States is compared, it indicates that the southern states have improved leaps and bound after the enactment of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. However, the northern States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and others despite their best efforts have proved to be no match.
Background Education Development Index (EDI) is a joint effort of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India and the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA).

Ranking of States on the basis of EDI started in 2005-06.

The purpose of EDI is to summarize various aspects related to input, process and outcome indicators and to identify geographical areas that lag behind in the educational development. Initially 24 indicators were indentified for computing EDI. These indicators were based on the data collected by the District Information System for Education (DISE). In 2009, the indicators for computing EDI were revised from 24 to 29. These indicators have been grouped under four areas namely Access, Infrastructure, Teacher and Outcome.

Methodology

After data provided by DISE is collected and cleaned, each indicator is normalised by using the following formula:

Upon receiving normalised values, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is applied to decide the factor loading and weights. In case of a few variables, policy options were explored to identify the best values instead of based on the observed values. Some of these variables are: percentage of schools with pupil-teacher and students-classroom ratio above 30 and 35 (best value, zero), percentage of teachers without professional qualification (best value, zero) etc.
List of Indicators in EDI

COMPONENT INDICATOR
ACCESS Density   of Schools per 10 Sq. Km
Availability   of schools per 1000 child population
Ratio of   primary to Upper Primary Schools/Sections
INFRASTRUCTURE Percentage   of Schools with Student-Classroom Ratio: Primary >30 and Upper-Primary   > 35
Percentage   of Schools with 1:1 Classroom-Teacher Ratio
Percentage   of Schools with Drinking Water facility
Percentage   of Schools with Boys Toilet
Percentage   of Schools without Girls Toilets
Percentage   of Schools Required and have Ramp
Percentage   of Schools with Kitchen-Shed ( Government & Aided Schools)
TEACHER Percentage   of schools with female teachers ( in schools with 2 and more teachers)
Percentage   of Schools with Pupil-Teacher Ratio: Primary >30 & Upper Primary >   35
Percentage   of Single-Teacher Schools
Teachers   without Professional Qualification
OUTCOME Average   number of instructional days -Upper Primary
Average   number of Instructional days
Average   working hours for teachers
Percentage   of change in enrollment in Gov schools over the previous year
Gross   Enrollment Ratio
Participation   of SC children: Percentage of SC Population (2001 census): Percentage of SC   Enrollment
Participation   of ST children: Percentage of ST Population (2001 census): Percentage of  ST Enrollment
Participation   of Muslim children: Percentage of Muslim Population (2001 census : Percentage   of Muslim Enrollment
Ratio of   Girls Enrollment to Boys Enrollment
Drop-out   rate
Transition   Rate for primary to upper primary level

 

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PISA: China tops. India has fled the race

Global news, Primary Education, Secondary Education

The Economics Times

04-12-2013

PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) scores are just in. China is on top. Asian countries dominate from China to South Korea, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Macau. The US lags. The UK does slightly better. Scandinavian countries, on top for a long time, have been slipping.

So where is India? No where. In 2009 study, India ranked 73 out of 74 nations. So to avoid embarrassment, the Indian government decided that it will not participate in the latest study. Weirdly, the Indian government has cited the disconnect between the testing parameters and what our children are taught in school as the reason not to participate.

PISA is a global study conducted by OECD every three years to assess 15-year olds on their performance in maths, science and reading. The data hs increasingly been used to assess the quality of education and its impact on incomes across nations.

Assessing the results, four important things emerge. One, some of the great powers of the 20th century – US, UK, France, Russia – do not get top rankings. Two, Asia by and large is doing well – but don’t talk of India. Three, new emerging countries in South America like Brazil, East European countries like Estonia, Poland, Vietnam are improving their scores. Four, Scandinavian countries like Finland, once known for their education system, have been slipping.

PISA scores will push governments in different countries to introspect where they have gone wrong with their education system and how they can get better.

But in India – a nation with one of the youngest population in the world – the government must first learn to acknowledge that we have a problem. Fleeing the study serves no purpose.

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Education index shows growing north-south chasm

Primary Education, Secondary Education

Times of India

05-12-213

NEW DELHI: The annual Education Development Index (EDI) for 2012-13 is out and like previous years the narrative has not changed. There is a civilizational difference between the south and the north as the Hindi heartland states continue to languish at the bottom of the heap.

The EDI is also an indicator that while the southern states are improving in leaps and bounds after the enactment of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and others despite their best efforts are proving to be no match. States were judged on four parameters: access, infrastructure, teachers and outcomes.

EDI, done by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration on the basis of mammoth District Information of School Education (DISE) data, has ranked Lakshadweep on top after evaluating its primary and upper primary education performance. Punucherry is ranked second, followed by Tamil Nadu, Sikkim and Karnataka.

Tamil Nadu’s high ranking also exposes the flawed ranking system that the HRD ministry had adopted in ranking states on the basis of their performance in the midday meal scheme. The southern state was poorly ranked above 20 and touted as a laggard. The state government had protested. One of the parameter used in DISE ranking takes into account infrastructure as an important component like the availability of kitchen sheds.

Among the northern states, Punjab has recovered a lot of ground occupying the sixth position, a remarkable recovery from its 13th rank in 2011-12.

Among the southern states the biggest decline has been of Kerala, once among the best performers. It is now languishing at 14th position. In 2011-12 it was ranked seventh. What led to Kerala’s overall poor ranking is the loss in primary education. In primary education, the state’s rank went down to 20th from sixth in 2011-12.

While Delhi has also slipped from sixth to 11th in overall ranking, Maharashtra has shown consistency retaining its eighth position.

As for the perpetual laggards, Bihar has recovered a bit. It is now ranked 30th from 33rd in 2011-12. UP’s downward slide continues, from 32nd to 34th. Rajasthan is in the same league: 25th from 23rd position. West Bengal is yet to witness CM Mamata Banerjee’s much promised winds of change in school education. The state has slipped to 31st rank from 29th in the previous EDI ranking. Madhya Pradesh, likely to give another term to Shivraj Singh Chauhan, is also among the worst performers, occupying 28th slot.

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Education is free from class 1 to 10 in all government schools

Finances & Budgets, Primary Education, Secondary Education

The News (International)

26-11-2013

Islamabad

Education is free from class one to 10th in all government schools within the federal territory, said Director General Federal Directorate of Education Islamabad Dr Shahnaz Riaz.

She stated this while addressing the 4th annual convention titled ‘Education-Road to Sustainable Development and Peace’ organised by the Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) here on Monday.

She said, “By implementing the article 25-A of the constitution the ministry of CAD had directed all the public sector schools not to collect the monthly fee from the children from the next month.” While addressing the convention PCE National Coordinator Zehra Arshad demanded of the authorities concerned that they should immediately implement free and compulsory education for all.

She further said, “The PCE is taking important steps for implementation of Article 25-A and have set up a network in more than 65 districts of the country for that purpose.” “Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) introduced in 2012 as Right to Free and Compulsory Education and the Sindh government in February 2013 introduced ‘Sindh Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Bill’ but still rules of business have not been drafted for either,” she added.

“The representatives of the civil society, PCE have filed three Public Interest Litigation suits in the High Courts of Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar to demand the respective provincial governments to provide free and compulsory education to all children as promised in the Constitution — but the courts aren’t giving the cases the attention they deserve,” she resented.

Zehra cited that according to Unesco, the number of children out of school is 12.9 million (the second highest number in the world, after Nigeria) adding that only64% schools have drinking water, three percent of schools have electricity, 61 percent schools have latrines, 13,635 schools in Pakistan (11%) have no building.

According to the Unesco Global Monitoring Report 2012, Pakistani women with a high level of literacy earned 95 per cent more than women with no literacy skills, whereas the differential was only 33 percent among men.

The others speakers said that the survival rate till grade 5th (number of students who complete school till the fifth grade) is 56 (out of a 100). Only 35% of all primary school teachers in rural areas of Pakistan are female, which will continue to limit access to females, as many families don’t feel comfortable sending their daughters to school unless they have female teachers due to cultural norms prevalent in Pakistani society.

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Why Primary Education Matters- Voices from the Field

Learning Achievements, Primary Education

Martine de Luna

Philippines

September 17, 2013

Imagine having to swim through a river each day to get to school? No, not wade; not slosh through with wellingtons and a waterproof jacket: I mean swim doggie-paddle style through a deep, running river.

This is the reality for young students in the small town of Casili, a region north of the capital city of Manila, here, in the Philippines where I live. Here, the children of Casili literally swim towards an education. Due to lack of infrastructure and bureaucracy issues in the local government, the kids arrive at their school house drenched (and likely at-risk for flu, if we are to be honest) every day.

And yet, they do so with smiles. They are among the lucky ones with access to education.

They should — and they do — consider themselves blessed. I, too, consider them privileged, because at least they have access to accredited teachers, government-approved curricula and even a chance at a college scholarship. They are not among the 57 million children globally, who are currently out of school.

As a former member of the education force, this number astounds and appalls me. Approximately half of the out-of-school youth, a majority of whom are girls, are located in sub-Saharan Africa. UNESCO predicts this number will skyrocket by 2015, if no action is taken by local governments and NGOs to provide education access to these children.

 

I used to teach children how to read. These were children from a privileged upbringing, from some of the top schools in our country. And when I think of the 40 some students I used to tutor, I have to reflect: How fortunate is this child to be able to read, write or pick up a book and engage in a conversation! This is because I understand that literacy and basic learning skills (reading, counting, etc.) are foundational to a child’s overall development.

There is a clear correlation between illiteracy and poverty. That is why #2 of the Millennium Development Goals of the UN focuses on the right to primary education for all children. Here are the current targets:

Target 2.A:  Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling

•           Enrolment in primary education in developing regions reached 90 per cent in 2010, up from 82 per cent in 1999, which means more kids than ever are attending primary school.

•           In 2011, 57 million children of primary school age were out of school.

•           Even as countries with the toughest challenges have made large strides, progress on primary school enrolment has slowed. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of out-of-school children of primary age fell by only 3 million.

•           Globally, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills. 61 per cent of them are young women.

•           Gender gaps in youth literacy rates are also narrowing. Globally, there were 95 literate young women for every 100 young men in 2010, compared with 90 women in 1990.

Let’s go back to that number again: 57 million children without access to education or hope to one day be able to read or write. Fifty-seven million children with lack of life skills that can equip them against disease, early pregnancy, abuse and exploitation.

We have to step up to meet the Millennium Development Goal for Education because schools give children the building blocks for practical life skills. We have to actively engage in efforts to build sound school structures,  invest in quality books and teachers, and clamor for the strong support of governments, corporations and communities.

We have to teach our own children — those who have the privilege of a quarterly report card and a lunchbox — to care. Unless we teach our own children to be grateful for their schooling, and ultimately fight for children’s right to education the world over… then, as moms, our own children’s good grades will be for naught. In communities such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, a school is more than a place to learn how to read or write: It is safe haven for support and socialization, access to clean water and even vaccines. It is a mecca for young people to start life right.

I’ve seen three children in Casili sharing one tattered textbook, with a more eager longing in their eyes than any students in the top schools in the country. And it makes me think: What if they were my children?

What would I sacrifice so that my child could open up a book and learn the ABCs?

What would I do to give my son the privilege of raising his hand in a classroom filled with other students as hungry for knowledge as he?

What can I do, as a mother to help meet the millennium development goal promoting the right to primary education?

As a former teacher, I will always be a champion for a child’s right to education. Moreover, as a mother, I will not just advocate for each child’s right to learn; I will ultimately fight for each child’s right to a life that will afford him or her with opportunities. The most basic of these opportunities being a quality primary education, teachers who will champion them, and systems that will compel them to succeed–even if poverty dictated otherwise.

How about you? What would you do to champion each child’s right to learn?

Martine de Luna is a writer, a former educator, an attachment parenting advocate and work-at-home mother. She blogs at www.daintymom.com, and is a Managing Editor for the Asian regional writers of the World Moms Blog.

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‘Education is best investment’ – 10th convocation of Sarhad University

Primary Education

The Nation

19-09-2013

PESHAWAR – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Engineer Shaukatullah has stressed the importance of promotion of primary education in the country. Addressing the 10th convocation of Sarhad University of Science and Information Technology on Wednesday, the governor said this is also the best way to make them better citizens and ensure better future for the coming generations.  “There is an urgent need that each and every educated person should spare time and resources and contribute to get each and every child enabled to be blessed with the ornament of education,” the governor added. The ceremony was also addressed by Special Assistance to Chief Minister, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani while the vice chancellor of the institution, Prof Saleemur Rehman presented the annual report and highlighted the performance of the university. Realising the importance of education, the governor said: “The nations, what, we witness making progress in every field of life, have achieved this status and capabilities because of their investments made in the field of education and promotion of science and technology.”  Congratulating the graduates, the governor said that their present accomplishments are indeed a big achievement in their quest for attaining higher education and to make this possible, they indeed have rendered sacrifices in shape of time, resources and energies. “Some of you will be lucky to reap fruits of your efforts in short span of time and others may get their returns after a while. But the reality which stands un-changed is that education is the best investment in one’s life whether in individual as well as collective capacities”, he remarked. The governor observed that new institutions are established both under the aegis of private as well as public sectors and simultaneously new horizons are also emerging in every field of life with great attractions for youngsters. Every year, he added, thousands of youngsters are graduating from educational institutions with the spirit to join hands with their seniors in development of the country and society but at the same time there is also the need to be conscious about the importance of quality. “This indeed is one of the most vital aspects of the educational system for making our youngsters more competitive at all levels”, he said.  He also appreciated the working of the university and pointed out that with all the successes which it bears in its credit in mind, there exists strong hope that it will attain more successes in future too. Earlier, Prof Saleemur Rehman presenting the annual report said that the university is in the process of introducing unified communication and digital teaching system. Half of the total of 250 faculty members, he added, are PhD level scholars.  “University is also in the process to launch its educational programs in Fata for which it has already obtained NOC. The university is also successfully running MS leading to PhD programs,” Prof Saleem added. Earlier, the governor gave away degrees and medals to graduates. Amongst them, Khalid Ahmad, Syed Muhib Ali Shah, Yasir Mahmood, Babar Shahzad, Miss Rabia, Wajeeha Tahir, Anam Faheem, Kinza Hameed, Muqarrab Baseer, Hasnat Ahmad, Aisha Ayub and Muhammad Daud bagged gold medals for achieving distinctive positions in their respective disciplines.

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133 primary schools face closure threat in Odisha

Government run schools, Primary Education

The Indian Express

08-07-2013

Plagued by abysmally low student strength and steady rate of dropout, 133 government-run primary schools are facing the threat of closure in Kendrapara district of Odisha. These schools thrive on paper only with exceedingly poor enrollment which has necessitated shutting down these institutions.

The Education department has decied to close down 49 primary schools after the issue of poor enrollment was reviewed at a high level meeting recently. As per the prescribed yardstick, 133 schools were found to have a student strength of less than 25. However, it was decided to run 84 schools as these were disadvantageously located, District Project Coordinator of Sarva Sikhya Abhiyana, Nirmal Kumar Das, said.

Teachers get ‘undeclared’ holiday as students do not turn up. The schools to be closed would be merged with nearby government-run schools in terms of students. The teaching staff would also be accordingly shifted, said an official. Every year there has been consistent decline in roll strength in almost all the schools. As the department claims, 1.62 lakh students are enrolled in 1900 government schools.

The overall enrollment (1.62 lakh) figure is being believed to be on a higher side. Bogus enrollment has become the order of the day. It has double advantage. With increased roll strength, teachers manage to cling on to their choice posting without being disturbed. Besides the MDM quota and other students friendly schemes are a bonus with bogus student’s quota grabbed by concerned teachers.

As children are better taught in nearby schools, parents have stopped sending their wards to these schools, they added. For all practical purpose, the primary education here has lost its sheen. Disillusioned parents repose little faith in the much touted free education, quipped Dr Basudev Das, noted educationist. For obvious reason, the focus is steadily shifting towards private public schools for qualitative education, Das said.

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Goa slides 6 places in education development index

Primary Education

Times of India

June 16,2013

PANAJI: Goa’s education sector put up a poor show in the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry’s education development index (EDI), where the state saw a drastic fall from last year’s 13th position to a heartbreaking 21st spot.

Goa had slid from 9th to 13th position already last year, with the problem areas of access to upper primary education and performance of students remaining the state’s main challenges this year too.

The ranks are drawn by the HRD based on data gathered under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan on parameters of access to education, infrastructure, teachers’ qualification and training available to them and performance of students from Classes I to VIII.

The state was among the worst performers on the access front where sufficient high schools were not available to several habitations. The data indicates that there was only one school available for every 10 kilometres on an average in Goa at the upper primary level, ie Classes VI to VIII.

The performance of students was also one of the least noteworthy in the country. Though Goa’s enrollment ratio has seen improvement, its retention rate at the primary level was meager with only 70% being able to complete elementary education.

While the state performed moderately on the infrastructure parameter, the qualification of teachers and in-service training made available to them was the savior for Goa on the EDI.

The state’s performance in the HRD survey has put it in the company of perceivably development-challenged states like Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Mizoram.

Goa has been able to integrate only a disappointing 0.84% children with special needs in its regular schools.

Only 25% of Goa’s enrollment showed faith in government-owned schools with majority of students opting for privately-managed, government-aided schools. Ten percent chose entirely privately-managed schools.

For up to 19 days during an academic year, Goa used over 21% of its teachers for non-teaching assignments like census and other work.

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