Weekly Update on Education

29 April 2009

UP to invest Rs 300 crore in new ITIs, polytechnics
Business Standard, 28 April 2009

“To strengthen the technical education sector in Uttar Pradesh, the state government is planning to set up 250 industrial training institutes (ITIs) and 50 polytechnics at a total investment of about Rs 300 crore. The new institutions will mostly come up in the hitherto un-served and economically backward areas such as eastern UP and Bundelkhand regions.” More [+]

Do teachers matter? Measuring the variation in teacher effectiveness in England
Helen Slater, Neil Davies and Simon Burgess, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, January 2009

“Using a unique primary dataset for the UK, we estimate the effect of individual teachers on student outcomes, and the variability in teacher quality. This links over 7000 pupils to the individual teachers who taught them, in each of their compulsory subjects in the high-stakes exams at age 16. We use point-in-time fixed effects and prior attainment to control for pupil heterogeneity. We find considerable variability in teacher effectiveness, a little higher than the estimates found in the few US studies. We also corroborate recent findings that observed teachers' characteristics explain very little of the differences in estimated effectiveness.” More [+]

Govt asks two schools to roll back fee hike
Indianexpress, 28 April 2009

“New Delhi: In the midst of protests by parents over the fee hike notification cleared by the Delhi government, the Directorate of Education has issued notices to KR Mangalam World School in Vikaspuri and Doon Public School in Paschim Vihar, directing them to roll back the fee hike implemented by them and not charge parents any arrears meant to be paid to teachers after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission.” More [+]

International Exams Yield Less-Than-Clear Lessons
Education Week, 21 April 2009

“Almost every time the results of an international test of student achievement are released to the world, the reaction among the American public and policymakers is like that of a parent whose child just brought home a disappointing report card. Many observers say that American policymakers need to guard against simplistic interpretations of the results of PISA, TIMSS, or PIRLS, the acronyms for three high-profile tests given periodically to samples of students in dozens of countries. Similarly, researchers and test experts urge U.S. officials to be cautious in the lessons they draw from the impressive scores of high-performing Asian and European nations.” More [+]

Classroom management skills are important for a teacher
Livemint, 26 April 2009

“ A teacher can induce interest for her subject and make students lifelong learners. Or she can make the learning process so boring and painful that the student develops contempt for learning.” More [+]

Spare the rod
The Telegraph, 29 April 2009

“"What is needed is an alternative mechanism that will give teachers the scope to punish a child for bad conduct even while protecting the child from corporal punishment," says Ireland. St James, for example, has now introduced discipline as a part of the curriculum. A child failing to secure pass marks in discipline will not be promoted to the next class. It is time other schools came up with innovative ways to maintain discipline and ensure that a child is treated with the dignity he or she deserves.” More [+]

First aid absent in city schools
The Times of India, 25 April 2009

“Ludhiana: Even basic first aid tends to remain absent from government schools in spite of Central Board of Secondary Education and Punjab School Education Board launching schemes for providing health care. Last year, the two boards had trained teachers for their health club programme, which involved quarterly medical check up of students. However, if a student becomes unwell at school, the teachers have little choice but to send him or her home without any care being provided, as no doctors or nurses are available there." More [+]

Do More Friends Mean Better Grades? Student Popularity and Academic Achievement
Kata Mihaly, RAND Labor and Population working paper series, March 2009

“Peer interactions have been argued to play a major role in student academic achievement. Recent work has focused on measuring the structure of peer interactions with the location of the student in their social network and has found a positive relationship between student popularity and academic achievement. Here we ascertain the robustness of previous findings to controls for endogenous friendship formation. The results indicate that popularity influences academic achievement positively in the baseline model, a finding which is consistent with the literature. However, controlling for endogenous friendship formation results in a large drop in the effect of popularity, with a significantly negative coefficient in all of the specifications. These results point to a negative short term effect of social capital accumulation, lending support to the theory that social interactions crowd out activities that improve academic performance.” More [+]

31 students ill after taking mid-day meal
The Times of India, 22 April 2009

“NEW DELHI: 31 students of a government-aided school in the capital were taken ill after eating a mid-day meal served to them, police said.” More [+]

Utilisation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds in 2006-07

Madhya Pradesh only spent 74% of the available SSA funds, Bihar 79%, Uttarakhand 83%, Gujarat 83% and Orissa 87%.

Statement of Expenditure under SSA for the year 2006-07

The Facts About School Choice

In these 12 brief, easy-to-read and easy-to-print pieces, the Alliance for School Choice lays out information about school choice.

Read them here!

Action for School Admission Reforms (ASAR)

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