Weekly Update on Education

18 August 2009

India’s Future in the Balance
The Heritage Foundation, 13 Aug 2009

A possibly critical event within India has gone largely unnoticed elsewhere: The Indian federal legislature has approved a bill mandating free public education for all citizens. Whether the bill is properly or improperly implemented could play a notable role in determining whether India becomes a global economic leader, and a global economic partner for the U.S. The education bill is an attempt to reconcile two fundamental forces: (1) India's painfully low literacy rate and shortage of skilled labor, and 2) a pronounced demographic shift toward a larger, younger population. More [+]

Revamping education must be Government’s priority - Kiran Karnik
The Times of India, 15 Aug 2009

The education sector in India is in ferment, hit by a storm long waiting to happen. The butterfly that flapped its wings and triggered a cyclone, to borrow a metaphor from chaos theory, was Nasscom’s much-reiterated statement that hardly a fourth of graduating engineers, and an even smaller percentage of other graduates, was of employable quality for IT-BPO jobs. Similar views echoed by other sectors have led to widespread debate. Increased industry-academia interaction, ‘‘finishing schools’’, and other efforts were initiated as immediate measures to bridge skill deficits. Some, however, felt that these are but band-aid solutions; instead, radical systemic reform is necessary. More [+]

VidyaGyan gives rural students a leg up
UTVi News, 11 Aug 2009

VidyaGyan is the latest initiative of Shiv Nadar Foundation, which aims to provide an opportunity to meritorious students of the rural areas – who could not continue their studies due to poverty – to study further. Talking to UTVi's Executive Editor Pranjal Sharma, Nadar said VidyaGyan aims to induct and transform meritorious rural children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, providing them free, world class education - allowing them to transcend the disadvantages they face. In partnership with the government of Uttar Pradesh, VidyaGyan will select rural toppers who are economically disadvantaged and provide them with world class education. More [+]

MCD school does a U-turn, NGO helps
The Times of India, 17 Aug 2009

NEW DELHI: Shahdaan loves going to school these days. His classroom has recently been jazzed up with multi-coloured chairs and tables, besides a new blackboard. He joined the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) School for girls and boys in Nizamuddin basti (slum) in July. The work to revive the school has been undertaken by Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Aga Khan Foundation in partnership with MCD as part of the Humayun's Tomb-Sunder Nursery conservation project. The education initiatives in the basti are co-funded by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust. More [+]

Bihar Shows Progress in Closing Gender Gap
The Bihar Times, 15 Aug 2009

In the last three years, Bihar has made the most progress of any state in India in closing its gender gap in primary and elementary school enrolment, according to data collected for the Annual Status of Education Report. ASER data shows that Bihar has considerably reduced the gender gap in each age group assessed (7 to 10, 11 to 14, and 15 to 16) and that overall enrolment has increased substantially as well, says an ASER Centre Research Associate More [+]

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan report card
UTVi News, 14 Aug 2009

For millions of students who depend on government run schools for their education - a scheme like the Sarva Shiksha Abhyaan - meaning education for all can lay the foundation to a better life. With education in focus, there has been a 3 fold increase in allocations for the sector in the last 7 years from around Rs 10000 cr in 2002 to close to close to 40,000 cr in 2008-2009. And with an increase in public private partnerships, where the HRD ministry has expressed an intent to formulate a policy frame work-there has been change on the ground. But the change has been slow and not as radical as envisaged experts say that though funds are coming in. More [+]

Roadmap for Education
The Times of India, 18 Aug 2009

Times recently organised a seminar, ‘Road to Reforms: Rethinking the Curriculum,’ providing a platform for educationists, policy-makers and industry leaders to share their views and chalk out the roadmap for education. With India poised to become a knowledge economy, the focus is on building a strong educational system that helps the country win a global edge. As part of the continuing efforts to highlight the road ahead, Education Times recently organised a seminar, Road to Reforms: Rethinking the Curriculum, providing a platform for educationists, policy-makers and industry leaders to share their views and chalk out the roadmap for education. More [+]

The Right to Education and school vouchers
The Wall Street Journal,13 Aug 2009

The Right to Education Act that passed parliament this month is the most significant piece of legislation to come up since the election, and touches on an issue that will be key to India's economic success. The state-run school system, notorious for its absentee teachers and poor results, is badly in need of reform. But Mr. Manmohan Singh abandoned bold thinking in favour of a return to New Delhi's statist traditions.Optimists are calling the law a backdoor voucher program. But it's a poor substitute for real school choice. More money will flow to state-funded schools no matter what, removing the incentive for improvement that an exodus of voucher students would create. Because the government will cap its per-student payment while still requiring schools to fill 25% of their spaces via this reservation, it will squeeze some school budgets. A voucher that followed a student to any school, without setting quotas on the schools themselves, would have been simpler and more efficient. More [+]

'Create flexibility to accommodate fast learners'
Business Standard, 17 Aug 2009

The Ministry of Human Resource Development’s plans of allowing foreign education providers to enter India have found support from the Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) who says if foreign universities offer the same facilities and atmosphere to students here, the brain drain will be curbed. In a chat with Kritika Suneja, Professor V N Rajasekharan Pillai spoke about the challenges in higher education especially distance learning. More [+]

Facts on Private and Public Schools in Rural India

Average age of teachers40.2829.61
Mean Number of Teachers3.605.20
Fraction of teachers from same village0.230.46
Average Student Attendance0.640.76
Pupil Teacher Ratio43.4319.16
Mean Total Enrollment141.9098.30
Source – ‘Public-Private Partnerships for Quality Education in India’ by Karthik Muralidharan, 2005..

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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

400 girl children from poor families of North East Delhi will receive school vouchers for a period of 4 years.
For details visit  website


Dialogue Series on Quality Education for All

Date: 9 September 2009 (6:30-8:00pm)
Venue: Casuarina Hall, India Habitat Centre

For details visit website


Support Children's Right to Education of Choice!

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