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The relative importance of social and cultural capital for educational performance: Eastern versus Western Europe

Research

Author: Prokic-Breuer, Tijana
Abstract: The sociology of education has a long-standing tradition of researching the causes of educational inequality. As the massive body of literature suggests, it is above all ability – the differences in intelligence and personality – that explains variations in performance (Dronkers, 2010). Family background comes in second when examining factors that influence educational performance. A child’s family background consists of a variety of aspects, including parents’ educational level and the family’s cultural endowments (Dronkers, 2010). All of the aspects portray the total environment that the child comes from, which includes financial, occupational,
social and cultural endowments. Click here to read more.

Discussion Paper, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), Research Professorship Demographic Development, Social Change, and Social Capital, No. SP I 2011-403, 2011

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Lok Capital, Acumen to fund social education venture

Curriculum Development, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)

New Delhi: Venture capital (VC) firms Lok Capital and Acumen Fund have invested about Rs. 8 crore in a Karnataka-based social education venture, Hippocampus Learning Centres, that takes kindergarten concepts to villages.

In two years, Lok Capital, which has mainly invested in microfinance firms, aims to add up to five education ventures to its investment portfolio. It will invest in for-profit education ventures with scalable business models, but which are also affordable and capable of bringing grassroots change, said Ganesh Rengaswamy, partner, Lok Capital.
“The investment in Hippocampus is small-ticket but it’s important as it is our first in the sector,” he said. “We are evaluating other ventures like in education, skill and employment…. In next two-three years, we look at investing in three-five ventures.”

Lok Fund-II has a corpus of around Rs. 450 crore with a focus on financial inclusion, education and allied fields, and healthcare.

Livemint, 14 May 2012

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E-education sector to cross $45 bn mark by 2015

ICT

Mumbai: At USD 600 billion, the education spending in India has surpassed that of the US and is growing by leaps and bounds, a research report said.

The education spend in India is at USD 600 billion and the private education segment alone is expected to cross USD 45 billion mark by 2015 from the present USD 35 billion, according to a research report prepared by Investor Relation Society, affiliated to US based Global Investor Relations Network.

The report said that skill and vocational training are fast throwing good amount of opportunities.

With an education network of more than one million schools and 20,000 higher-education institutes, the market size of the Indian education system is estimated at USD 45 billion, Investor Relation Society president M S Anand said.

A little over two lakh Indian students migrate overseas every year for higher studies. These students alone contribute to foreign universities as much as USD 5 bn every year.

Based on this observation, several foreign institutions are foraying into India. This is expected to boost the quality of education in the country, the report said.

The higher education in India shall soon witness a sea change, leading to a surge in the growth of education sector. The sector may not only witness emergence of growth of small companies into gigantic organisations, but also lead to entry of new players.

These new players could be either technocrats as in the case of First Object Technologies Ltd or companies promoted by conglomerates like Zee.

In India, there are too many regulations, as unfortunately, education is in “concurrent list”, hence governed by both central and state governments. It’s the Government which decides what can be taught, what should be the fee and what’s the eligibility criterion, said M S Anand.

The education segment in India can be broadly divided into formal and informal. While formal education constitutes schools, higher education, and professional programs, the informal education includes pre-schools, multimedia, vocational training and virtual classroom training. Informal education is completely free from regulation at present.

Naturally, the requirement of funds has also gone up and both PE as well as IPO played a key role. The listed companies are going to be major player in future, Anand said.

Though there are several Companies in “me-too” kind-of-race, First Object Technology and Educomp have created their own USPs in the industry that has names like: Career Point; Core Education; Tree House Education & Accessories to reckon with.

Educomp (EDSL) is the only player in India offering end-to-end services in the education sector. The rising share of its subsidiaries in revenue, chiefly due to the strong growth in K-12, is likely to reduce dependence on the smart-class segment of School Learning Solutions.

Zee News, 13 May 2012

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The story of Shiksha Kendra: RTE shutters schools for poor

Access to education, Budget Private Schools, Private schools, Reservation of seats, Right to Education

With less than a year to go before the deadline for the implementation of the Right to Education Act expires, the practice of running unrecognised schools or running exclusive shifts for children from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) by private schools is about to end.

A case in point: The Delhi Public School’s Ibtida Shiksha Kendra, an unrecognised school run by DPS Mathura Road exclusively for children from EWS, most of them first-generation learners and children of daily wage labourers.

Started in 2001, 300-odd students attend the school between 12 noon and 5 pm at the junior school premises. The school even has a separate staff comprising 22 teachers. It doesn’t teach the CBSE syllabus, but uses textbooks prescribed by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
So what happens to the 300 students and staff now that the school is faced with imminent closure? Teaching staff, some of whom have been working in the school since 2001, have been terminated overnight.

Says Rakhi Yadav, a teacher employed by the school since 2001, “Even now, we don’t know when the school will be shut down. On 30 April, three teachers were handed termination letters saying that our services would no longer be required. We have not been given any notice.”

Is it fair that students and the staff find themselves out of school and out of a job for no fault of theirs?

Ashok Aggarwal, lawyer and child rights activist who has been at the forefront of the Right to Education campaign especially in the interest of children from EWS, makes the point that education in unrecognised schools has no validity in the first place.

Speaking in the context of the DPS Shiksha Kendra, he said, “It is an illegal school that they were running in the hope that the government would one day recognise them. Already, government policy is that there will be no double shifts. What DPS Mathura is running is not even a double shift, it is not a regular school. It is akin to an NGO running a school in a basti, there is certification. It has no validity. The basic principle is to mainstream. It is not desirable to run exclusive classes for children from EWS.”

He adds, “But if a poor person is given an opportunity to have his children study inside a school building, it appears to him to be a great thing. That is a fact. But it is important to ensure that children are going to the right school, one that is certified.”

Parents, insists Aggarwal, need not panic. Under the RTE Act, the government has an obligation to absorb the students into education system.

“A school that is not unrecognised has no right to run. And when it is closed, the government is under obligation to admit them in nearby government schools.”

The formalities to facilitate the admission of students in government schools has been completed, says MI Hussain, the principal of DPS Mathura Road.

“It is a known fact that we are not recognised by the government, despite our best efforts. We have approached the Delhi government to make seats available for our students in the nearby government schools. They have asked for formalities to be completed, which we have done. We are not keen that our centre be closed down, but as per RTE Act, all evening schools and other centres of education that are not recognised will be closed down within three years of the Act coming into force.”

While students have been assured of admission in government schools, the hopes of teachers of being regularised have been dashed. “First of all, it was not a school. It was a centre, a kendra. It was supported by voluntary, people who were ready to come forward and work as volunteers. Nothing was hidden from them. When number of students reduce, teachers will be reduced,” says Hussain.

But why did the government refuse to recognise the school? According to Hussain, “The land was not allotted for other schools or kendras, it is only for DPS Mathura Road school for which the lease deed is there.”

The sudden announcement of the school’s closure has caused a lot of apprehension and uncertainty among students, parents and teachers. Seventeen-year-old Imran, who has been a student at the school since he was six years old, says: “If I knew this would be my plight, I would have joined a government school instead. I am not sure if my certificate will have any value. When we told our teachers that we want to appear for the CBSE board exam, they told us we won’t be able to cope with it. How are they so sure?” Imran appeared for the Open school exam this year.

So will DPS Mathura be willing to absorb students from the shiksha kendra? Hussain points out, as per RTE provisions, “Students from the EWS will be admitted at the entry level, which is nursery. So how can these people be accommodated? At the entry level, however, children are coming from neighbourhood. In the NCR, our school has the largest number of children from EWS.”

First Post India, 14 May 2012

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1,800 schools under KUSMA to defy RTE

Budget Private Schools, Private schools, Right to Education

The Karnataka Unaided Schools’ Management Association (KUSMA) has said that all the 1,800 schools coming under it will defy the Right To Education (RTE) Act.

Noting that the State government had failed to define a ‘minority institution,’ the KUSMA office-bearers and their legal advisor on Monday said that the Association had decided to ‘face the consequences’ and not implement the RTE this academic year.

“With the State government not providing any clarity on the definition of a minority institution, we will be unable to implement the RTE this year,” said G S Sharma, KUSMA president .

Citing a letter dated April 30, 18 days after the Supreme Court verdict on enforcing RTE in private unaided institutions, dispatched to the State government, KUSMA said there was no concrete response to the Association’s plea for clarity on the ‘minority’ status.

Most institutions under KUSMA may use this as an excuse to avoid the implementation of the 25 per cent quota for children from underprivileged families under RTE.

K V Dhananjay, the legal advisor to the Association, said there were many instances of member schools being denied the ‘minority’ status arbitrarily by the government.

“A particular school which had converted Christians on the board of directors was denied minority status, because the Education Department said there is no recognition to converted Christians,” he said. However, the legal advisor said the Association had no figures as to how many schools under KUSMA could get the ‘minority’ tag.

Implementation

Reacting to KUSMA’s decision, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education,
Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri, said: “We will proceed with the implementation of RTE by taking into consideration KUSMA’s concerns. We will definitely implement it this year in all schools.”

Meanwhile, Secretary to the Department, Kumar Naik, said lack of clarity on the definition of ‘minority institution’ was not a valid excuse for not implementing RTE.

“If the Association has concerns over the definition of minority status, they are free to approach the court. It is not a valid reason for not implementing RTE,” he said.

Deccan Herald, 14 May 2012

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Schools must give 25% seats to poor from this year

Access to education, Licenses and Regulations, Reservation of seats, Right to Education

MUMBAI : The state government , in a bid to ensure implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act, has made it mandatory for schoolsto admit 25% students from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups from neighbouring areas at the entry level from this year . A decision to this effect was taken during a meeting presided over by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Monday. The government will initiate action against schools that do not adhere to the norm .

While a few private schools have set aside seats for these categories , a senior education department official said many others claim to have nearly completed the admission process for this year . Managements of such schools will have to prove that they had enrolled the students before the apex court’s order on April 12. “If the school management fails to prove this, it would amount to contempt of court ,” the official said . “Action will be initiated against such schools.”

The SC had ruled that all schools, with the exception of unaided minority institutions , willhavetoset aside 25%of the seats for students from “weaker sections” and “disadvantaged groups” at the entry level . The norm is applicable to IB schools and those affiliated to ICSE and CBSE boards .

Schools will have to enroll such students either at the preprimary level or Class I.The state cabinet will meet soon to define “weaker section” and “disadvantaged group”. It will also fix the individual share of each category. Debate is on on whether to include families residing below the poverty line or set another income ceiling (between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1 lakh ) in the “weaker sections” category . In case of “disadvantaged group” , the bone of contention is whether to include the creamy layer in the Scheduled Caste /Scheduled Tribe and other castes . Orphans and children of commercial sex workers are likely to be included in the “disadvantaged category”.

“There is a projection that students from some government and civic schools will switch over to private schools on implementation of the norm ,” said the CM. The state plans to use a lottery system for the admissions .

The Times of India, 15 May 2012

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Admissions done, no seats left for more students this year: schools

Access to education, Reservation of seats, Right to Education

Principals from schools in the city on Monday said it would not be possible to ensure that 25% of the seats are reserved for economically weaker students from Class 1 or entry level, a provision under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, from this June.

Schools said they have already

completed the admission process for the 2012-13 academic year and have no vacant seats for the reserved category students.
“We have not even got a circular from the education department on the implementation of the 25% clause under the act. The government has also not issued guidelines to define which students will fall under this category,” said Najma Kazi, principal, Anjuman-I-Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ High School in Byculla.

Schools are also upset about the financial burden that they will have to bear, as the government will reimburse only Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000 per student per year.

“On the one hand, they want us to accommodate students from the weaker sections, and on the other hand, we cannot even hike our school fees. The minimum fees for an international school is Rs. 1 lakh,” said Kavita Aggrawal, principal, DG Khetan International School, Malad.

According to rules, schools cannot hike their fees to accommodate the economically weaker students.

The Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fees) Act, 2011, states that schools can hike the fees once every two years only with the approval of the Parent Teacher Association.

Educationists said there’s no awareness of the act for people to use it to their advantage.

“Parents from economically weaker sections are not even aware that they can enroll their children into private schools,” said Jayant Jain, president, Forum for Fairness in Education.

Hindustan Times, 15 May 2012

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Define minority for Right to Education: Schools

Minority Education, Right to Education

BANGALORE: Who belongs to a minority? What does the law say about it as far as schools are concerned? When does the government plan to decode this term? These were some questions the Karnataka (recognized) Unaided Schools Management’s Association (KUSMA) asked the government on Monday.

The association demanded a deferral of the implementation of the Right to Education Act to the next academic year because the government hasn’t defined the term ‘minority’ yet.

The association, which has over 1,800 member schools, said if the government forced them to implement the Act, it will not be left with any other option but to shut down schools. KUSMA cited the example of a school having bilingual members on its board. The Constitution declares that a minority could be a religious or a linguistic one. This would lead to confusion whether a school is a minority one or not.

Soumya Ramesh, secretary, Gnanaganga Vidyapeeta , an unaided private school, and KUSMA member , said all they want is a clear demarcation of minority and non-minority institutions to ensure proper admissions.

Sibal against toons

Under attack over the cartoon row, HRD minister Kapil Sibal acknowledged that cartoons on politicians should not find a place in textbooks as they influence the impressionable minds of students.

Minority definition varies

BANGALORE : The 25% quota for the poor under the Right to Education (RTE)Actcould run into a roadblock with the Karnataka (recognized ) Unaided Schools Management’s Association (KUSMA ) demanding a clear definition of the term , minority . KUSMA , with 1,800 schools, says the defintion of the term , minority , is not uniform . Principal education secretary G Kumar Naiksaidthe governmentisworking on the definition of a minority .

A Mariyappa , secretary , KUSMA , said in Tumkur district , one school comprising members of a sub-division of the Veerashaiva sect has been treated as a minority whereas in Gulbarga , the same sect is a non-minority . In Mangalore district , Tulu Governing Council members have been denied minority status because the government says those talking in Tulu are deemed to be Kannada speakers . “This is utter arbitrariness ,” he said .

“In the absenceof a specific rule , some minority institutions could be deprivedof this status andwillbeinevitably exempted . The very purpose of free and compulsory education to every child is lost. RTE can’t be applied tillthe governmentoutlinesthebasic rule ,” he said . KUSMA believes that half of all private unaided schools in Karnataka could gain ‘minority’ status if the term is defined fairly

The Times of India, 15 May 2012

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Private schools shy away from seeking government recognition

Access to education, Autonomy, Right to Education, School Recognition

Chandigarh Thousands of private schools in Punjab have refused to get registered with the education department defying the Right To Education Act.
Out of the total 9,800 private schools functioning in Punjab, only about 3,000 have approached the education department showing their willingness to be registered and recognized under the RTE Act.

Majority of the other schools have written to the government that they do not need to get recognised by the education department as they are already affiliated with the Punjab School Education Board.

“These schools have to understand that affiliation is different from recognition. A school seeks affiliation of a board as the board is primarily an examining body. But the RTE clearly states that every private school, which intends to teach students beginning from class 1 had to be recognized by the state’s education department. Moreover, since RTE states that there will be no examination for students till class VIII, it does not matter if the school is affiliated to a board or not. What is more important is that every school has to be recognized and if the school is teaching classes beyond class VIII, it will also be affiliated,” said Hussan Lal, principal secretary school education.

Sources said that a large section of the schools which are avoiding being recognized by the education department are doing so as in that case they would have to meet the various norms laid down in the RTE Act.

A large number of unrecognized schools are running from shabby make shift complexes, small buildings and single rooms in villages while the RTE makes it compulsory for the private schools to provide the basis minimum infrastructure. This includes all-weather school buildings, one-classroom-one-teacher, a head teacher’s office room, library, toilets, drinking water, kitchen sheds, barrier free access, playground, fencing and boundary walls.

Other than infrastructural requirements, these schools also have to ensure one teacher for every 30 students. With most private schools following the teacher pupil ratio of 1:40 to 1: 60, they will have to employ many more teachers to comply with the provisions of the RTE Act.

In addition teachers to be employed under the RTE Act can be recruited only after they clear the requisite teachers eligibility test conducted by the state government.

Every school, which is registered by the education department will be inspected by a team to access the compliance of these norms. “The inspection process of the 3,000 schools, which have filled and sent the self declaration forms will begin shortly. For the rest of the schools we are yet to take a decision,” added Hussan Lal.

The secretary added that the Act provides for strict punitive action against private schools in case they continue to teach students without seeking recognition. “The Act provides for closure of such schools and an immediate fine if Rs 1 lakh. Such schools would, however, be given some time before they can comply with the Act within a stipulated time failing which they would be fined at the rate of Rs 10,000 a day for each day of non-compliance beyond the stipulated date,” said Hussan Lal.

The Indian Express, 14 May 2012

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