Weekly Update on Education

26 January 2010

Right to Education: HRD frames model rules for states
Akshaya Mukul,The Times of India, 21 Jan 2010

In a significant step towards notification of the Right to Education Act, HRD ministry has finalised the model rules for states for implementation of the new law. The model rules finally define the concept of neighbourhood schools and make it clear that there will no discrimination against the 25% children from weaker and disadvantaged groups who will get reservation. It also says that the minimum qualification for teachers can be relaxed only by the Centre and the period should not exceed three years.The model rules further says that each state will have to set up a state commission for the protection of child rights and in the interim period they can have a Right to Education Protection Authority. A State Advisory Council will be the highest body to oversee RTE's implementation.

More [+]

Education’s big face-off
Wilima Wadhwa, The Mint, 18 Jan 2010

The debate over whether private schools provide better quality primary education compared with government schools is heating up in India. The latest ASER (Annual Status of Education Report), an annual survey of learning facilitated by NGO Pratham, indicates that at the all-India level, private school enrolment increased from 16.3% in 2005 to around 22.6% in 2008—a rise of around 40%. In 2009, private school enrolment has marginally dropped to 21.8% in rural India.However, what is clear is that whether enrolment in private schools is high or low, it has been increasing over time. What has led to this shift towards private schools in rural areas? The standard answer and the common perception is that private schools provide better quality education. ASER 2009 data provides the opportunity to analyse if there are significant learning differences between children in private schools compared with government schools. More [+]

Adding Value To Education
James Tooley,The Times of India, 23 Jan 2010

Something extraordinary is happening in education across rural India that's the conclusion that stands out in Pratham's ASER 2009 report launched recently. The extraordinary concerns private education: Pratham devotes two special sections to private schools, which shows it recognises their importance. But it's even more significant than highlighted. It's true too that Pratham agrees children do much better in private than government schools although it doesn't seem particularly excited about it. But Pratham missed out on a trick- value for money. Private schools in general in the villages are not the expensive ones we're used to, but are low-cost, budget schools, affordable to many even on minimum wage incomes.In other words, the revolution revealed by Pratham taking place in rural India today features private schools serving a significant minority of children, outperforming government schools, at a fraction of the cost. Now, surely that's something we should be celebrating? More [+]

Education finance
Yamini Aiyar, The Indian Express, 23 Jan 2010

Elementary education policy in India is, as economist Lant Pritchett characterises it, in a “Big Stuck”. Stuck because despite money being poured into the system — funding for elementary education has increased five-fold since the launch of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2001 — outcomes remain poor. As the Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) reminds us year after year, about half of India’s children in standard five cannot read a standard-two-level text book, and far fewer can do basic mathematics. Getting out of this morass requires a system overhaul that creates a performance-based, accountable delivery system. How can this be achieved? A crucial step is to ensure accountability in financing. With the imminent implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE), which is set to significantly expand education finance — the RTE will cost the exchequer Rs 43,600 crore — ensuring accountability is critical. More [+]

Free education is a kid’s right, but not funds
The Economic Times,23 Jan 2010

Nearly six months after Parliament passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened a meeting to discuss its implementation. The main roadblock in operationalising the Act has been its funds requirement, which is to the tune of Rs 1,71,000 crore.Friday’s meeting was attended by HRD minister Kapil Sibal, senior ministry officials and Planning Commission. The core issue before the prime minister is the states’ ability to allocate funds and set aside that large a sum. For the current fiscal, the state share, on a 60:40 basis, is Rs 8,000 crore. More [+]

Deemed university issue: Ball in SC's court, says Sibal
Business Standard, 19 Jan 2010

Government said it has accepted the recommendations of an expert committee, which has found 44 deemed universities unfit for the status but left it to the Supreme Court for appropriate course of action against them.The committee has found the failed deemed universities were being run as family fiefdoms rather than on academic considerations. More [+]

Obama to seek $1.35 billion for educational reform
The Hindu, 19 Jan 2010

With students from India and China fast catching up in the fields of science and mathematics, president Barack Obama is set to seek from the Congress an extra $1.35 billion to expand his signature $4.35 billion education programme, making it one of the largest investments in school reform in the U.S. history.Designed to incentivise excellence, spur reform and promote adoption and use of effective policies and practices, the ‘Race to the Top’ is a comprehensive vision for school reform backed by a historic $4.35 billion investment More [+]

Indian education: Left wanting for reforms
Joseph Rasquinha and Mohammed Zaheer Hussain, Deccan Herald, 25 Jan 2010

In any nation’s economic progress, particularly developing ones, devaluing its currency is considered an unpopular act. It makes exports more competitive, but adversely affects almost everything else from imports to inflation. So, countries try and avoid devaluing a currency unless they have very little alternatives in place or see tremendous advantages. But the same concepts of devaluation if applied to the education market works in a totally inverse manner. From the 1950’s we have been devaluing Indian education on a continuous basis, and in the 21st century, the quality of our education is going downhill at the speed of light. More [+]

Primary Education in India: Prospects of meeting the Millenium Development Goal(MDG) Target
Sonia Bhalotra and Bernarda Zamora, Centre for Market and Public Organization

ABSTRACT:This paper uses two large repeated cross-sections, one for the early 1990’s, and one for the late 1990’s, to describe growth in school enrolment and completion rates for boys and girls in India, and to explore the extent to which enrolment and completion rates have grown over time. It decomposes this growth into components due to change in the characteristics that determine schooling, and another associated with changes in the responsiveness of schooling to given characteristics. Our results caution against the common practice of using current data to make future projections on the assumption that the model parameters are stable. The analysis nevertheless performs illustrative simulations relevant to the question of whether India will be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of realising universal primary education by the year 2015. The simulations suggest that India will achieve universal attendance, but that primary school completion rates will not exhibit much progress. More [+]

Class-wise % of students who can read English in India

Can read simple words
Can read easy sentences

Source: Annual Status of Education Report 2009

2009 Templeton Freedom Awards

Centre for Civil Society’s “Performing Arts for School Choice” bags 2009 Templeton Freedom Award for Initiative in Public Relations.
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The article 'Reforming Indian Education' published in our 44th edition dated 4 August 2009 is by Professor P. Radhakrishnan, Professor of Sociology, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. The copyright for the same vests with Professor Radhakrishnan only.


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