Weekly Update on Education

13 October 2009

Secondary education in India neglected: WB report
Indian Express, 7 Oct 2009

Even as the government has been announcing huge investments in the education sector, the latest World Bank report on secondary education in India is hardly flattering. While there has been adequate focus on primary education, the report states, secondary education hardly gets the attention it deserves and remains highly inequitable across states. “Evidence from around the world suggests secondary education is critical to breaking the inter-generational transmission of poverty -— it enables youth to break out of the poverty trap. Fortunately, the government’s new ambitious schemes for secondary education will, over the next ten years, provide young people with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century and help India catch up with other countries,” said Sam Carlson, Lead Education Specialist, World Bank at the release of the report. More [+]

CBSE to also grade values, life skills
The Times of India, 12 Oct 2009

MUMBAI: If you're aiming to make the grade, CBSE that is, it might be a good idea to show respect to your teachers and get along with your classmates. Because soon, your attitude will count as much as your score in the last algebra test. The CBSE board, which is in the process of replacing marks with a grading system, may have stepped on something rather controversial. In addition to grades for academics and extra-curricular activities, students will now be graded on their attitude towards teachers, classmates, school programmes and the environment. They will also be graded on their value system. Many, though, are divided over whether such attributes can be graded. More [+]

DPS students help fight drop-out rate municipal school
The Times of India, 10 Oct 2009

The last student that got into Delhi University’s Shriram College of Commerce (SRCC) this year got 94% in Class 12. So the 81% that got me into this college in 1987 would not be good enough for admission today. What is going on? There are three possible explanations. The first hypothesis is that today’s kids are smarter than my cohort. Based on a recent visit to the SRCC campus and, at the risk of sounding like an old crank confusing nostalgia with amnesia, I can testify that today’s kids are not smarter than us. Better dressed for sure, better looking maybe, thinner possibly, but more intelligent—not really! The second explanation could be that there has been hyperinflation in the way exams are scored and the new 81% is 96%. The third and most logical explanation is that higher education capacity (supply) has just not kept up with the number of students applying (demand) so the cut-off percentages reflect the price of a bag of rice in a famine i.e. it’s not a fair price but reflects an acute shortage. More [+]

Will Indian students continue to be the largest group in global classrooms?
The Economic Times, 11 Oct 2009

Over the last couple of years, Indian students made news on international campuses and emerged as the biggest group the world over, going past even the Chinese. In America, India remained the leading country of origin of foreign students for the seventh consecutive time in financial year 2008, increasing by 13% to 94,563 students, according to the Open Doors report - published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In all, over 2 lakh Indian students studied overseas last year. And the attraction of global campuses is not just because of problems at home - such as not enough seats for professional courses or the reservation system. Overseas education is considered a ticket to global careers - and Indian professionals are among the most sought after in the overseas job market. More [+]

Have you asked a question today?
Deccan Herald, 12 Oct 2009

Consider the questions that most adults ask children: What is your name? Which class are you studying in? What do you want to be when you grow up? The answers are usually not important, because we ask these questions more to build a rapport with the child than to learn about her. What should one do if the answers are important? If our questions are stereotyped, can our answers be interesting? If children do not ask questions, can they find answers to the myriad things that demand answers? As parents and teachers, we expect children to know the answers. Shouldn’t we then help them to ask the right questions? “The skill of being able to ask the ‘right questions’ is far more important than giving the right answers,” says Kamala Mukunda, veteran teacher and author of the recently launched book ‘What Did You Ask at School Today?’ More [+]

Disabled children not to be in 'disadvantaged' class
Economic Times, 5 Oct 2009

NEW DELHI: The Manmohan Singh government plans to amend the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 to broaden the ambit of “disadvantaged” children to include children with disabilities. It would like to introduce the amendments in the winter session of Parliament. The ministry of human resource development (HRD) will be seeking Cabinet approval shortly for the changes. This move would allow differently-abled children from economically weaker and disadvantaged sections to take advantage of the 25% seats set aside in private unaided school under Clause 12 of the Act. This had been a key demand of disability activists when they met HRD minister Kapil Sibal. More [+]

At long last, a class act who might just save our schools... if his party lets him
Daily Mail, 12 Oct 2009

The disaster that is Britain's education system is arguably the single most important problem that faces this country. If people are ignorant of the world around them or unable to think for themselves, they will be incapable of tackling the failing economy, family breakdown or any other issue. Education is fundamental to a society's capacity to prosper. If the education system founders, a society loses the ability to function properly and its future is bleak indeed. This unfortunately is the alarming position in which Britain finds itself. In one of the world's most advanced societies, the level of illiteracy among schoolchildren is astonishing. This year, nearly a quarter of a million children left primary school unable to read, write and add up properly. Two-thirds of working-class boys at the age of 14 have a reading age of seven or below. More than half the children leaving comprehensives failed to get the basic requirement of five decent GCSE passes. Public examinations have themselves dumbed down. More [+]

The 'youngest headmaster in the world'
BBC, 12 Oct 2009

At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village. The story of this young man from Murshidabad in West Bengal is a remarkable tale of the desire to learn amid the direst poverty. Babar Ali's day starts early. He wakes, pitches-in with the household chores, then jumps on an auto-rickshaw which takes him part of the 10km (six mile) ride to the Raj Govinda school. The last couple of kilometres he has to walk. More [+]

The Case for Special Education Vouchers
Education Next, Oct 2009

The big battles over school vouchers in American education have focused on programs serving low-income children who live in urban areas. Milwaukee’s program, begun in 1990, is the biggest and oldest in the country, and the District of Columbia effort, funded by the federal government, has been the most carefully studied. Both have been focal points of intense, partisan disputes, and both have been threatened by legislative actions in the past several months. But, even when they are considered together, those two programs are not as large as a hardly known, originally noncontroversial voucher innovation, the special education voucher. Four states—Florida (1999), Georgia (2007), Ohio (2003), and Utah (2005)—have special education voucher programs that together serve more than 22,000 students. More [+]

At charter schools, a dual identity

Charter schools, which are publicly financed but independently run, were conceived as a way to improve academic performance. But for immigrant families, they have also become havens where their children are shielded from the American youth culture that pervades large district schools.

Source: The New York Times


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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

School Admission Reforms: Why, What, How?

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

Mr Rajan Arora
, founder,
Mr R C Jain, President, Delhi State Public School Management Association
Mr Baladevan R, National Campaign Director, School Choice Campaign

For details visit website


Support Children's Right to Education of Choice!

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