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SCHOOL VOUCHER FOR GIRLS

400 girls from underprivileged community in North East Delhi were awarded vouchers worth upto Rs. 3700 per year
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Joint Initiative of School Choice Campaign and www.schooladmissions.in
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Home > Campaigns > Policy Campaign > Government School Reforms

 

Government School Reforms

Per child funding and Public Private Partnerships

In the current setup, public education funding is primarily through government schools. It is well documented that the majority of the funding is directed to paying salaries (and associated benefits) to government staff employed in schools. A number of studies have also demonstrated the high levels of teacher absenteeism: on average, 25% of teachers were found to be absent from government schools. An alternative model of funding is proposed here called ‘Per child funding’.

This model argues that educational services may be provided efficiently only when the funding is allocated on a ‘per child’ basis. Such allocation would ensure an equitable distribution of resources and, invariably, result in better outcomes. With around 20% of primary schools run by a single teacher, the most financially prudent funding should not follow the teacher, but the students.

Schemes along these lines have been announced by the Rajasthan Government under the ‘Shikshak Ka Apna Vidhalay’ and ‘Gyanodaya’ projects. Through the Gyanodya scheme, charitable and private institutions will be allowed to establish senior secondary and secondary schools at panchayat headquarters with help from the government. The Panchayat headquarters for the pilot phase will be selected based on immediate need and where children have no access currently.

The Shikshak Ka Apna Vidyalay scheme will allow trained unemployed teachers to adopt government schools with very less enrolment or to build new ones for which the government would extend help. Both the schemes will be launched in a phased manner and use education vouchers, coupons with which parents will be able to choose their wards’ school and play active role in their children’s education.

More information on School Choice Campaign’s work on the setting up of Gyanodaya and Shikshak Ka Apna Vidhyalaya can be seen here.

Management Autonomy and Performance Pay Incentives

Other government school reform ideas include devolution of greater autonomy in management to the school authorities. The Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Constitutional Amendments require Panchayati Raj and Local Administrative Bodies, the third-tier of administration in villages and urban areas, to manage local schools. However, much of the administrative controls over schools still rest with state and central governments.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2009 mandates the setting up of School Management Committees – which constitute a large proportion of parental and community representation. This is a welcome move but the School Management Committee will be toothless and cosmetic unless they are provided with necessary control over management. It is suggested that they should be empowered to recruit good teachers and fire irresponsible staff, thereby increasing accountability and community involvement.

Performance Pay incentives would be another reform measure that will encourage better teaching and learning outcomes. Providing incentives to teachers who improve learning achievements of the students would be one way of ensuring quality in education. Two types of Performance Pay incentives suggested here are: Individual Teacher Performance Pay and Group Teachers Performance Pay. As the names suggest, the first incentive is provided to teachers whose class-group have shown improvements in learning outcomes and the latter incentive is provided to the entire group of teachers in return for students showing overall improvement across the board.

Learning Achievement Contracts

In India, the majority of elementary school students (numbering in excess of 100 million) go to a government-run (state or local government body) school. It is imperative that government schools are improved through reform measures such as Public Private Partnerships through contracting government schools out and by providing Performance Pay incentives for teachers/ schools.

Contracting out refers to outsourcing the entire provision of schooling activity to a private player in return for an agreed upon sum of money. The management contract conceived here is best described as a ‘Learning Achievement Contract’ model. Under this model, the local/ state government sets a fixed per-child funding price and invites bids from potential education providers to offer the most desirable services. Such a Learning Achievement Contract would be an ideal means to reform poorly functioning government schools by using the services and expertise of private players.

More on the Learning Achievement Contract model can be read here.


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