Weekly Update on Education

14 January 2009

Enrolment isn't education
Business Standard, 14 January 2009

“Pratham, the non-governmental organisation engaged in education, has come out with its fourth Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) for rural India. The results are as interesting as in previous years: there is a steady increase in school enrolment and attendance, but not much (if any) improvement in the level of education attained. Drop-out levels remain high, and the majority of students in Class V are unable to do the work that they should have mastered three classes earlier.” More [+]

State of the blackboard
Express India, 13 January 2009

“The draft Right to Education Bill 2008 has a little understood provision: it proposes to effectively impose a 33 per cent tax on the children going to private schools. This bill would force all private schools to take in a quarter of their students at the instruction of government - but without reimbursing their full costs. Fee paying students who constitute 75 per cent of the children in the school in private schools would be required to pay for these non-paying 25 per cent. This is a dubious idea. The government should reimburse full costs of these students through vouchers and scholarships, or else it will be a blow to the only avenue for so many children to get a decent education and escape the trap of illiteracy and poverty.” More [+]

Private Schools: Do they provide higher quality education?
Dr. Wilima Wadhwa, ASER Report 2008 p. 21-23

“Private school enrolment has been increasing steadily in rural India in the last 4 years. So the obvious question is: Why? The most logical answer maybe because they provide better education. Indeed that is the story one hears from many parents. They would rather send their children to private schools because the inputs (teachers, facilities, etc.) are better there - the link between inputs and learning is assumed to exist. This hypothesis seems to be borne out by the data as well. In class 5, the proportion of fluent readers in private schools was 68% as compared to 53% in government schools. The question then is that can one safely say that this large learning differential is entirely attributable to the better quality of education being provided in private schools? Is it not possible that a particular type of child goes to private schools and this kind of child finds it easier to learn?” More [+]

The 'poor' condition of government schools
Livemint, 12 January 2009

“A proactive district education officer in Dehradun recently paid a few surprise visits to local government schools. What he discovered was perhaps nothing new to those whose children study there but would horrify those who have only interacted with well-run private (ironically termed "public") schools.” More [+]

Upgrading Delhi's government schools

The Times of India, 5 January 2009

“In his second stint as the education minister of Delhi, Arvinder Singh Lovely hopes to make all existing government schools in the city better, in terms of their facilities. Upgrading the school infrastructure and providing formal education to the large number of out-of-school children of migrant labourers working in the Capital are the areas he will now be focussing on.” More [+]

Madrasah Education
Harvard International Review, Fall 2008 Issue

“Education is all about opportunity, the opportunity to make something of your life, and in many cases to have choices that preceding generations did not have. Nowhere is this more true than in South Asia, where a large population, significant levels of poverty, and a variable government track record in delivering services make education all the more important. So why is it that, given these conditions, many parents choose to send their children to madrasahs, Islamic schools, where some suggest the quality of education is narrower, employability weaker, and later opportunities in life more restricted? In what ways can the choice to send one's children to a madrasah be a rational one?” More [+]

Learning skills, not degrees, will do
Anil Jaggi, The Tribune, Dehradun Plus Online Edition, 8 December 2008

“Many schools in Dehradun have introduced Class IX syllabus in Class VIII for better results in the Class X board exams. Education is no longer learning-centric but result-oriented. Why are we speechless? Why don't we question these schools on their decision to impose unwanted burden on young shoulders without considering the consequences on child's mental, emotional and physical well-being?” More [+]

Parental Valuation of Charter Schools and Student Performance
James VanderHoff, The CATO JOURNAL, Vol. 28, No. 3, Fall 2008

“This article finds that parents choose charter schools based on academic effectiveness and endorsement of academic goals. It thus supports a basic tenet for the belief that school choice will improve public school academic effectiveness.” More [+]


Enrollment in private schools is increasing

Among all 6-14 year olds, the proportion of children attending private schools has increased from 16.4% in 2005 to 22.5% in 2008. This increase in private school enrollment represents a 37.2 percent increase over the baseline of 2005. This increase is particularly striking in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Reading levels

Class-wise % of children who can read a Standard 2 text:

Std. I: 2.7
Std. II: 8.8
Std. III: 22.2
Std. IV: 40.9
Std. V: 56.2
Std. VI: 69.6
Std. VII: 78.0
Std. VIII: 84.8

ASER Report 2008



























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