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Scheme for Augmenting School Education through Public Private Partnership Report

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), Research

PPP in school education is essentially an arrangement where the private sector partner participates in the provision of services traditionally provided by the government. It is usually characterized by an agreement between the government and the private sector, with the latter undertaking to deliver an agreed service on the payment of a unitary charge by the government. The need for PPP in school education primarily arises out of the government‟s commitment to provide world-class education to under-privileged children who cannot afford the tuition fee that a private school would normally charge. While access to quality education for the underprivileged is traditionally expected from government schools, they alone may not be able to fulfil this enormous task. The justification for PPP schools arises primarily from the need to accelerate the expansion of education, supplement investment and enable different models for improving the quality of education. Click here to read more.

The Report of the Sub-group is submitted for consideration of the Ministry of HRD, 25 May 2010

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Last hope for general category students

Reservation of seats

CHANDIGARH: Vacancy of 427 seats under RTE in some of the top city private schools has raised hope among parents of general category students. Chances are these seats will be converted into general category in next three to four days.

UT education department had reinvited interested parents, eligible under RTE to apply in the nearest out of 38 private schools with vacant seats. Tuesday was the last day to apply. Now the education department is yet to take the data from the schools based on which they will decide further. UT district education officer Ram Kumar Sharma said, ”We had re-invited applications for the RTE seats as 427 seats in 38 schools were left vacant. We will get the data from the schools and see the response.”
Shobha Rai, mother of a kindergarten applicant said, ”I have admitted my son in some other school as he couldna??t make it in two schools that we had prioritized. But since there are many seats still vacant in top schools, I see a ray of hope.”

Gurdev Singh, father of another nursery applicant said, ”My daughter is in a play school but since there are seats vacant, I think there are still chances.”

The Times of India, 28 March 2012

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RTE in place, but no water or toilets

Government run schools, Right to Education

NEW DELHI: Little seems to have changed in the city since the Right to Education was implemented exactly two years ago. A large number of schools still lack basic facilities promised under the new constitutional right. A study by Delhi RTE Forum-an umbrella body of 20 non-profit organizations-says denial of admission and absence of basic facilities in schools pose a hurdle in proper implementation of the RTE. The forum had surveyed 207 schools in south Delhi’s Madanpur Khadar and different areas of east Delhi, including Trilokpuri and Kalyanpuri, in November last year. It found that only 5% of the schools had provision for clean drinking water and as many as 30% of the schools did not have proper toilets and playgrounds.

“Most of those schools lacked basic facilities promised under RTE. We spoke to nearly 1,200 students from 32 schools as part of a focused group discussion. Many of them said they did not go to school as it didn’t help them in any way,” said Saurabh Sharma, a member of the forum. The survey also found that 22% of the schools did not have proper fencing or boundary walls, and 30% of them did not have separate toilets for boys and girls. Sharma said most schools did not have a School Management Committee (SMC) as the government notified the rules only in November 2011.

All of the schools surveyed are run either by MCD or Delhi government. The forum also surveyed 5,006 households selected randomly in various parts of east Delhi in June last year while the admissions for 2011-12 session in the Delhi government schools were still on. The forum found that 3.3% of the children surveyed did not go to school. Nearly 7% of the children out of school had special needs. “Though RTE ensures equal opportunities for children with special needs, the school authorities are completely unaware of their needs. As a result, many drop out or not get enrolled at all,” the survey report says.

The Times of India, 02 April 2012

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Education events to look decade ahead

Curriculum Development, Global news, Vocational Training

You’re going to be tempted to say, “Back in my day …” but you must resist.

If you attend one of the three Education Summits hosted in the next eight days by the Wichita Falls Independent School District, you will come face to face with a paradigm shift in education that is so vast, it’s affecting not only classrooms but also the buildings that house them.

It’s also creating an educational environment completely different from the one you remember.

The summits — the first begins today at 6 p.m. at Scotland Park Elementary School — will be the school district’s opportunity to introduce you to the challenges facing them and then ask you to join them in a brainstorming session.

Instead of looking back, you will be asked to look ahead and help craft an instructional vision for WFISD’s future.

“We need our participants to look 10 years ahead and think about what our learning environment will look like,” said Tim Powers, WFISD assistant superintendent.

On its website, WFISD pictures the classroom you remember, with a June-Cleaver-looking teacher instructing students who sit in rows. That contrasts sharply with the photo of today’s classroom: Students equipped with iPads conferring with one another in small groups.

The website also includes statistics like these: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates today’s learners will work at 10 to 14 jobs by the time they’re 38 years old. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 didn’t even exist in 2004.

Schools must prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet, with technology that hasn’t been invented yet, said WFISD Public Information Officer Renae Murphy.

“We have to make sure our kids are flexible,” Murphy said, “and have skills that can transfer over to different types of professions.”

All are welcome to join the discussion. The city’s leaders — county commissioners, judges, city council members, and chamber leaders — were specifically invited to attend the Tuesday noon brown-bag meeting.

“We’re trying to incorporate other entities in this plan,” Murphy said. “(Superintendent) Dr. (George) Kazanas sees it as an opportunity for Wichita Falls as a whole. There may be partnerships that can be developed. We want to encourage that thinking also.”

Ultimately, discussion about how schools must change to adapt to technology advances will lead to decisions about how classrooms must be equipped to support today’s teacher and students, then what the buildings must be like.

“Eventually, it will become a tangible facility plan,” Murphy said.

The district leaders anticipate revamping the district’s secondary facilities and raising money for the project through a bond issue.

In the not-so-distant past, the district planned new buildings by hiring a facility study and focusing on brick-and-mortar buildings and school locations.

But not this time.

“This is a different approach,” Murphy said. “Dr. Kazanas is wanting the community to think of the end product (the student we want to create) first, then ask how to support the teacher to get the kids to that level. It’s a big paradigm shift to challenge our community to think in those terms first.”

Community members must begin by trying to comprehend the evolution of technology, its influence on education, and the reality that students no longer compete with students in neighboring counties.

They race against students in China, India, and all over the world, Powers said.

“We must wrap our heads around the fact that our students are entering a global economy and will change jobs at a much higher rate than we did. Students graduating will be more fluid, flexible and versatile when they enter the job market. We must be prepared to provide them with the skills and tools they will need to be successful,” Powers said.

The focus now is creating students who will be lifelong learners, who are equipped to find information and use it to problem-solve.

The second summit convenes Tuesday at noon at the Education Center, 1104 Broad Street in Room 302. The third summit meets April 10, at 6 p.m. at Barwise Junior High School.

Prior to attending the summit, participants are urged to preview an introductory video about today’s students that’s posted on the district’s website

Times Record News, 02 April 2012

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Celebrate differences

Special Schooling

On World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, Karen Guldberg, director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research, School of Education, University of Birmingham, UK, tells Tirna Ray why we need to stop seeing autism as a disorder

As far as formal education is concerned, what is the concern vis-a-vis autism in India? There are three key concerns to be addressed in India. These include the need to raise awareness, offer appropriate schooling, curriculum and interventions and offer a range of training courses for professionals and parents. It is important to increase awareness among paediatricians to enable more accurate diagnosis. Without a diagnosis, it is difficult for individuals with autism to get the right support.

What about teacher-training in India?

It is vital that teachers have opportunities to increase their knowledge about autism and about special educational needs in general. This requires short awareness courses as well as more in-depth professional development courses. In England, for example, my team and I at the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) are working with the Autism Education Trust, Oxfordshire County Council and a group of providers and stakeholders across the country to develop three levels of training to be delivered to the education workforce across England. This three-tier training programme includes basic awareness training at the first level so that teachers can develop their knowledge and understanding of autism. At the second level, the training focuses on giving more practical advice and strategies to those who work directly with pupils with autism. At the third level, practitioners are offered more in-depth knowledge and practical strategies. This level is targeted at those staff who may wish to pursue a training role. Similar models to this, with training materials that are adapted to the Indian context could be beneficial. In addition , it is vital to include training on special educational needs as part of the teacher-training curriculum and at Master’s level professional development qualifications.

What are the new developments in technological teaching aids?

Most children with autism find computers and technology safe, motivating and engaging . There are an increasing number of state-of-the-art technologies being developed for children with autism all over the world, including in India. These range from software programmes for interactive whiteboards, PCs and laptops to iPads, virtual reality environments and robotics.

What kind of collaboration are you looking for in India?

The charity Hope and Compassion have set up an exchange for six lecturers from Khalsa College of Education, Amritsar. We are also planning to work closely with the college to develop qualifications in special educational needs. In addition, Springdale School in Amritsar will be funding two of their teachers to undertake a Master’s qualification through distance learning at the University of Birmingham.

What is the biggest challenge globally?

One of the important challenges we face globally is that we need to learn to stop seeing autism as a disorder. People with autism have strengths and there is so much positivity to celebrate, even though life can, of course, be difficult, for the person and also for parents and the wider family. That said, it is often prejudices and lack of knowledge that makes life most difficult. The challenge lies in ensuring our societies become better able to celebrate differences.

The Times of India, 02 April 2012

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At home in the world

Private schools, Quality

Jonathan Long, new principal of Woodstock School, Mussoorie, talks to Aaditi Isaac on the emergence of international school education in India

Woodstock School (founded in 1854) is the first international school in India. How receptive has India become to providing international education?

An increasing number of students have joined international schools in India in recent years, as parents see the benefits of an international school education. However, there are many different ‘types’ of international schools. Some international schools serve a largely expatriate community and focus on teaching a set national curriculum that provides access to tertiary education back in a particular home country. Other international schools have far more diverse student populations and offer opportunities for young people to graduate into a worldwide educational environment. The school has responded to the need for an international education that offers far more than a traditional academic curriculum . Our holistic approach to learning is an opportunity to specifically develop cross-cultural understanding , a global outlook, and an ability to build quality relationships with people from different backgrounds and nationalities. Woodstock may have been India’s first international school but its understanding of internationalism has moved beyond the confines of strap-line , curriculum or aspiration.

The model of international schools has become quite common in India. What is your view?

Several international schools have sprung up across India in recent years, but one would question just how genuinely international some of these new schools are in character. By this, I mean do they have an international student and staff body, is their curriculum global and internationallyaccredited , do their students go on to study at international institutions , and is their governance international in its make-up ? Currently about 80% of our students go on to study at international universities, and we make sure we consistently fulfil these criterion to maintain the international character of the school.

At Woodstock, we value the term global over the term international. Our aim is to prepare young people for tomorrow’s world, not yesterday’s .

What is the profile of the school – faculty and students?

Currently, about 40% of our students are Indian nationals, and the other 60% are from other countries around the world ranging from the US to UK, Germany to Japan, and Afghanistan to Australia. Our students represent about 30 different countries across the globe, and staff about 20 different nationalities.

Can you elaborate on the different boards/examination systems followed by the school?

We offer an international curriculum including the Advanced Placement (AP) and IGCSE, as well as the Indian marksheet and the US High School Diploma. This means our students have access to higher educational institutions around the world and in India.

The Times of India, 02 April 2012

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India’s education crisis tied to unaccredited universities

Higher Education, Licenses and Regulations, Quality

ALIGARH, India – After studying for two years to be a teacher, Anam Naqvi found out that the degree her school offers is worthless. Now, instead of attending classes and finishing a mandatory internship, she and her classmates protest daily outside the university gate in the northern city of Aligarh.

It is a story being replayed across Indian cities. Poorly regulated, unaccredited, and often entirely fake colleges have sprung up as demand for higher education accelerates, driven by rising aspirations and a bulging youth population.

“New colleges are mushrooming everywhere, but many are flouting norms,’’ said Nilofer Kazmi, director of the government’s regulatory commission for higher education. “Many are conducting courses that have no approval or accreditation from the government regulators.’’

More than 5 million Indians enter the 15-to-24 age group each year, adding a demographic thrust to the demand for more colleges and universities. Properly educated and employed, these young people could bring the country a demographic dividend, the sort of surge in growth that buoyed many of the Asian “tiger’’ economies from the 1960s to the 1990s. But if India does not create high-quality colleges for youths, it risks reaping a demographic disaster.

The higher education commission recently released a list of 21 “fake universities,’’ many of them no more than a mailing address or signboard hanging over a shop, temple, or hole-in-the-wall office space. A government regulator that focuses on technical schools named 340 private institutions across India that run courses without its accreditation. Of more than 31,000 higher education institutions, only 4,532 universities and colleges are accredited.

“India’s university system is in a deep crisis,’’ said Devesh Kapur, director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, who has written extensively on the subject. “There are so many regulatory barriers to setting up a college or university that it deters honest groups but encourages those who are willing to pay bribes. Millions of young Indians will have high expectations, paper credentials, but will be poorly educated. We can be absolutely sure that it is not going to be pretty.’’

India aims to raise its college enrollment rate to 21 percent in five years, up from 13 percent now. In contrast, the enrollment rate is 23 percent in China and 34 percent in Brazil. Kapur said that to reach its target, India would have to open one new college every working day for the next four years.

With much of the government’s money directed toward combating rural illiteracy by boosting primary school education, the private sector has filled the gap for colleges. Even so, many of India’s colleges and universities – both private and public – face acute shortages of faculty, ill-equipped libraries, outdated curricula, and poor infrastructure, according to a report last year by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Ernst & Young.

The government is working on at least nine higher education bills to reform the sector, including one that would enable international universities to set up campuses here.

But two Indian rules – that universities operate as not-for-profit entities and that foreign universities must start with seed money of more than $11 million – might prove prohibitive. So far, only a few universities, including Virginia Tech and the University of California Davis, plan to set up research centers in India.

Meanwhile in Aligarh, Naqvi and other students are consulting a lawyer to take Mangalayatan University, a private school, to court.

“Where do we go now? People laugh at us and say, ‘Oh, you are the ones with the useless degrees?’ ’’ said Naqvi, 22. “The university has played with our dreams. Now we are not even capable of dreaming.’’

The university’s vice chancellor, S.C. Jain, said a delay in getting government approval for the teaching course was causing “anxiety among students.’’ But Vikram Sahay, a senior official in the education department in New Delhi, said that the university should not have begun classes without the approval and that the degrees are not valid.

The Boston Globe, 01 April 2012

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Punjab, Uttarakhand poorest on pupil-teacher norms

Learning Achievements, Management Contracts, Right to Education

None of the states in the region is close to meeting the student-teacher ratio and infrastructure targets set by the Right to Education Act (RTE), which completed two years today.

When the Act was rolled out on April 1, 2010, the deadline for schools to meet pupil-teacher ratio, teacher-classroom ratio and infrastructure goals, was kept at March 31, 2013.

As of 2011, half of all rural government schools in India have no boundary walls. Only 40.7% schools have met the pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) norms of two teachers for every 60 students (class I to V) and one teacher per 35 students (classes VI to VIII). The goal of ensuring that every teacher has a classroom is also unfulfilled. Nationally, 74.3% schools have achieved this target so far.

In the region, Uttarakhand and Punjab are the farthest from meeting the PTR targets with only 16.3% and 30.4% rural government schools complying. This is below the national average of 40.7% schools. J&K is the best with 87.5% schools complying. Himachal is next with 65.3% schools in compliance followed by Haryana with 41.2%.

On teacher-classroom ratio goals, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Himachal have performed better than the national average of 74.3% schools complying. Uttarakhand leads the region here with 84.7% rural government schools meeting the target. The percentages for Punjab and Himachal are 82.2 and 77.4, respectively. J&K is the farthest from meeting this target with only 49.8% schools having met it by 2011; Haryana’s percentage is 70.7, less than the national average.

Under the head of infrastructure, the law mandated the provision of specified facilities by March 31, 2013. But an analysis of schools’ RTE achievements on the basis of indicators listed in the 2011 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) reveals that nationally only 54.1% schools have constructed boundary walls; 62.6% have playgrounds; 49.1% have usable toilets; even lesser 43.8% have separate girls’ toilets.

On infrastructure, J&K is the weakest in the region with only 28.7% schools fenced; one third (36.3) have usable toilets; 22% have girls’ toilets; only 52.7% have playgrounds. Half of all J&K schools (50.7%) have libraries but they are being used in just 26.8% cases.

Even in Punjab, which posted the best learning outcomes nationally in 2010, only 58.7% schools have functional toilets for girls. The state was the most lethargic on the target of providing assistive devices to special children and delayed inordinately on placing orders for these devices. Nationally only 6.1% schools have provided disabled friendly toilets as of 2011.

The analysis of ASER data from 14,283 schools of India further shows that though nationally, RTE Act should have led to improved teacher and students’ attendance, this hasn’t happened. In 2009, 89.1% teachers were present in primary schools on the day of the visit. In 2011, only 87% were present.

In 2009, 74.3% of the enrolled primary students were present, whereas in 2011, only 70.9% were present.

At upper primary level, the percentage of enrolled student attending school on a given day was 77 in 2009. It is 71.9 now.

The Tribune, 01 April 2012

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RTE Act: Two years on, there’s still a long way to go

Right to Education

Sunday marked the completion of two years since the landmark Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act came into force. Although Tamil Nadu initially took time to come out with its draft rules before it notified them in November 2011, the School Education Department, over the last couple of months, has taken up a number of initiatives to raise awareness of the RTE Act. One such attempt was setting up a help desk to offer clarifications on the Act.

A month after the Directorate of Teacher Education Research and Training (DTERT) set up the desk, it continues to get a steady number of calls, including complaints. On an average, six calls are received a day with admission-related queries toping the list. Questions such as ‘How is neighbourhood defined?’ and ‘Who belongs to weaker and disadvantaged sections?’ are also raised periodically.

According to officials, the maximum number of calls – over 40 – was received in the first few days after the number was launched. The Department had even designated two District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) lecturers and a principal to man the helpline. Although the number of calls has come down, officials say it would pick up once schools reopen.

The cell is also receiving admission-related complaints from CBSE schools, but officials say they direct them to the Board’s regional office.

Other complaints from schools coming under the purview of the State Government are directed to the Directorate of Elementary Education and Directorate of Matriculation Schools. While queries on RTE are clarified, officials say a mechanism is yet to be worked out to handle complaints as it has to be cross-checked and often, a written complaint is required.

While there is some teething trouble in certain respects, Tamil Nadu is, so far, the only State that has taken some initiative to clarify doubts by starting a RTE cell. Karnataka, for instance, is yet to notify its rules of the RTE Act. At the same time, Tamil Nadu is yet to set up State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), which is essential to give a thrust to implementation of the RTE Act.

Henri Tiphagne, State representative of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for RTE in Tamil Nadu, says that while the school education department has seasonal tasks to be performed, it must follow up on complaints.

“Give an NGO the task in every taluk or block to attend to complaints,” he suggests. The NCPCR, between April 2011 and March 2012, received 780 complaints from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi (517), Maharashtra (132), West Bengal (99), Uttar Pradesh (59), Orissa (35), Manipur (28) and Tamil Nadu (15).

On why there were only 15 complaints from Tamil Nadu, Mr. Tiphagne says it is because civil society is not bringing enough number of complaints to the NCPCR’s notice.

In order to raise awareness, several more programmes should be conducted and importantly, complaints received should be followed up swiftly, he says.

The Hindu, 02 April 2012

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