Weekly Update on Education

07 July 2009

Education requires innovation, technology and infrastructure
Mint, 29 June 2009

National Knowledge Commission (NKC) chairman Sam Pitroda shares his views on education, as one of the defining themes of the budget 2009. The commission, an advisory body to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, completes its term in March. More [+]

From the learning curve
The Indian Express, 6 July 2009

In every country in the world there is an “access axis” that dominates education policy. There is a powerful coalition focusing on “business-as-usual” expansion of existing systems. The temptations are near irresistible: politicians get to hire more teachers, contractors get to build more buildings, teachers’ unions get more members, and government officials get more projects to manage. Beautifully, all of this can be wrapped in high-minded rhetoric about human rights for the Left and promoting the economy for the Right. More [+]

Who will teach the teachers?
The Financial Express, June 24 2009

Equity, innovation and public accountability have been affirmed as the core criteria for the new government. Let’s look at basic education through this prism. In the absence of major changes in public accountability, basic education will not deliver on either the skills needed for long-term growth or equity in opportunities. More [+]

. With new man at helm, will govt schools get a fresh lease?
The Times of India, 6 July 2009

NEW DELHI: Intention matters a lot in everything we do. When Arjun Singh was at the helm of affairs in the HRD ministry, he perceived giving 27% reservation to OBCs to be of greater importance than even free and compulsory education for children upto 14 years of age, as guaranteed under Article 21-A of the Constitution. Nothing, not even the abysmal condition of government schools in Delhi, could waver him from his single-minded devotion towards OBC quota. A fresh breeze appears to be sweeping the corridors of HRD ministry. Kapil Sibal, who within a few days of taking charge went after bogus deemed universities in the wake of an expose on capitation fee, now wants implementation of Article 21-A in letter and spirit and has brought in the Right to Education Bill. More [+]

Salman gives up, madarsas stay with HRD ministry
The Economic Times, July 6 2009

NEW DELHI: In the turf war between the ministry for minority affairs ministry and the human resource development ministry over minority education, it is the latter that won the day. Minister for minority affairs Salman Khurshid said that his ministry was of the view that minority education, and more particularly madarsa modernisation, was better served by the ministry of human resource development. More [+]

Who ate his homework?
The Indian Express, 27 June 2009

The HRD ministry’s 100-day plan has provoked the academic community out of its stupor. Many of the proposals — on connectivity, infrastructure, upgrading curriculum, independent regulation, etc — are unexceptionable. But the frenzy of proposals raises questions about the clarity over what is being proposed. The revolutionary fervour on display is indeed admirable. But more needs to be done to assure us that this is a revolution that understands the conditions under which it can be successful. Otherwise the revolution may turn more into a slash and burn exercise. More [+]

Ignou unveils 100 community colleges
The Times of India,6 July 2009

NEW DELHI: Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) on Saturday announced the launch of 100 community colleges across India. The varsity plans to open 600 such community colleges, one in each district, across the country. In the first year, an amount of Rs 1,500 crore would be invested in these colleges. The colleges will offer a two-year associate degree and after completing it the students can also transfer to an undergraduate programme in a regular college. The aim is to empower individuals, who were devoid of the conventional education system, through skill development with the help of local industry and community. These colleges would primarily target the disadvantaged section of the rural and urban population as well as women. More [+]

Charities slam Tory voucher plan for developing countries
The Guardian , 5 July 2009

Aid vouchers will be given to millions of people in the poorest parts of the world so they can shop around for the best schools and services, under Tory plans to inject free-market thinking into development policy.A Conservative government would also spend part of the £9.1bn overseas aid budget on funding for private schools across the developing world, which it believes would achieve better results than state schools and drive up standards overall. The controversial plans are in a draft Tory policy document leaked to the Observer before publication this week of the government's white paper on development. More [+]

The wrongs in the Right to Education Bill
The Times of India, 6 July 2009

WHILE HRD minister Kapil Sibal’s 100-day plan has drawn mixed reactions — we need to congratulate him on taking such bold steps as scrapping of Class X board exams and suggesting the setting-up of an accreditation board to rate schools. The minister’s promise to also enact the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, which seeks to make education a fundamental right of every child in the age group of six to 14 years, however, needs deep consideration. In its present avatar the Bill suffers from major anomalies which must be given due consideration, before its enactment. Some major flaws are: More [+]

SCHOOL CHOICES True and False – By John D. Merrifield

The school choice movement has gained political momentum in recent years, with programs having been established in Milwaukee, Florida, Texas, and elsewhere. But today’s programs are nothing like the “free market in education” proposed four decades ago by the early proponents of school choice. Economist John Merrifield shows that the “school choice” movement has become mired in false alternatives, petty distinctions, and diminished vision. Yet, he argues that programs providing real educational choices must not be allowed to fail like so many government programs—a freely competitive market for education must remain the ultimate goal.

Action for School Admission Reforms (ASAR) More[+]

Action for School Admission Reforms (ASAR) is School Choice Campaign's initiative to usher in fairness and transparency in nursery admissions. If parents in your city too are suffering, please write to us at
[email protected]

School Choice Campaign launches

STUDENT FIRST! Dialogue Series on Quality Education for All 8 July 2009, 6:30-7:30 pm at India Habitat Centre For details on how you can participate contact Baishali at [email protected]


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