Weekly Update on Education

15 September 2009

A Virtual Revolution Is Brewing for Colleges
Washington Post, 13 Sep 2009

Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which "going to college" means packing up, getting a dorm room and listening to tenured professors. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet. The business model that sustained private U.S. colleges cannot survive. The real force for change is the market: Online classes are just cheaper to produce. Community colleges and for-profit education entrepreneurs are already experimenting with dorm-free, commute-free options. More [+]

Mobile Camps in Africa - Redefining Education, 11 Sep 2009

In a classroom in Thies in Senegal, two teachers master an educational game on their mobile phones. Ten minutes later, their pre-school group is using the game to recognize number and count to 10. Noumounthi, Tamsir, Khady Coly and Mamadou, computer science students at the University of Thies, designed and developed the game following a recent Mobile Camp in Senegal. The excitement in the classroom helps the team of students understand the power of their new skills in mobile application programming, and what it means to be a mobile entrepreneur in Africa. More [+]

China’s compulsory education policy covers 160 million students
Xinhua News Agency, 14 Sep 2009

Last year, the enrolment percentage in about 300,900 primary schools and 57,900 middle schools across the country both reached 98 percent, Zhou said. In past several years, the government also spent tens of billions of Yuan to establish more than 8,000 boarding schools nationwide, rebuild dangerous buildings and improve living conditions in schools, he said.China’s nine-year compulsory education policy, which was launched in 1986, enables students over six years old nationwide to have free education at both primary and secondary schools. More [+]

China Cheap with Public Education
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), 13 Sep 2009

China only spends 2.4 percent of its GDP on public education, according to the main think tank of the Chinese Communist Party's State Council. Cai Fang, head of the Research Institute of Population and Labour Economics (IPLE) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), noted that China’s annual education expenditure is lower than several developing nations and is only half that of the U.S. when presenting his “Chinese Green Book of Population and Labor 2009” at a Sept. 8 conference in Beijing. It’s a number that Cai calls “severely insufficient.” More [+]

High cost leads to low demand
The Times of India, 13 Sep 2009

Ludhiana: The high charges that Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan authorities have fixed for Edusat equipment and certain other conditions set for the programme are affecting their drive to install the system in private schools. Two months after the scheme was launched for private educational institutions, only one school has come forward for registration in Ludhiana district, say sources. Edusat programme’s district technology coordinator, Narinder Saggar, said, “The reason for the poor response can be that schools also need to pay royalty apart from charges for the equipment. The department is not earning any profit for the scheme. This money supports the project as we need to arrange teachers, lecturers and experts of different subjects to impart instruction and also for producing programming.” More [+]

Sharp decline in out-of-school children
The Times of India, 13 Sep 2009

New Delhi: In another feather to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan's cap, the number of out-of-school (OOS) children in the 6-14 age group has come down dramatically from 1.34 crore in 2005 to 80.4 lakh in 2009. In percentage terms, 4.22% of the total children in this age agroup are not going to school as per the latest figures. The first survey of 2005 had showed that 6.94% children in this age group were OOS. This has been revealed in the comprehensive survey by Social Research Institute of Indian Market Research Bureau of OOS children in the country. The survey, done for HRD ministry, corroborates the prestigious private survey by Pratham. In early 2009, Pratham had put OOS children at 4.3%. More [+]

Fierce competition for top spots in India’s peewee Ivy League
The Globe and Mail, 14 Sep 2009

For a year, Sumit Vohra largely abandoned all other pursuits and applied himself with single-minded determination to one sole goal: getting his daughter into nursery school. He learned the reputed favourite colour of a school principal, then bought outfits in that colour to wear when he and his wife, Sudha, went for their parental interview. He did thousands of practice questions, and grilled Sudha on them, too. He amassed piles of documents to attest to the family's educational and professional achievements. He roped in the support of anyone of any political or social influence he could find. And for good measure, he prayed. More [+]

Learning difficulties
Hindustan Times, 8 Sep 2009

Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal’s education reforms, particularly for schools, have electrified students, teachers and parents. The Class X board exam will now be optional for Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools, grades will be introduced instead of marks, and there will be continuous evaluation in schools. These reforms were urgently necessary and Sibal is certainly one of the UPA’s best-performing ministers. Yet reactions have been mixed. A group of parents told me recently that Sibal’s advisers on school reforms are ‘idealistic jholawallahs’, far removed from Indian realities. Is the emphasis on ‘de-stressing’ the Indian student, ‘de-traumatising’ the education system, making a child free from the ‘pressures of competition’, an overly romantic and idealistic vision? More [+]

President Obama and education
Las Vegas Review Journal, 13 Sep 2009

The furore over President Obama choosing to give a televised speech to America's children on their first day of school appears to have faded. The president's "work hard and stay in school" bromides were not unexceptional, nor was there ever much reason to expect otherwise. There was that slight cognitive dissonance between Mr. Obama's autobiographical account of his own struggles and his insistence that America still needs to be "more fair." More [+]

Number of teaching hours in public primary schools in OECD and partner countries

CountryHours per year

Source: Education at a Glance 2009, OECD Indicators

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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


School Choice Campaign launches

400 girl children from poor families of North East Delhi will receive school vouchers for a period of 4 years.
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Dialogue Series on Quality Education for All

School Admission Reforms: Why, What, How?

Date: 14 October 2009 (6:30-8:00pm)
Venue: Casuarina Hall, India Habitat Centre

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