Weekly Update on Education

12 January 2010

Passed by House in August, right to education yet to be law
The Times of India, 6 Jan 2010

The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act was billed to be a giant leap towards universalization of education in India. However,it has acquired the dubious distinction of being the only fundamental right that exists just on paper.Without notification -- a mandatory step in that gives the exact date from when the law comes into force -- the right to free and compulsory education remains just a goal.The ostensible reason for the delay in notifying the Act is that its cost is still being worked out. But those associated with its implementation point out that even as the cost is being debated there are other significant things that could have been done by notifying the RTE Act.Another concern is that if that the Act is notified in the end of March to be applicable from April 1, state governments will be caught unawares. They will be unprepared without budget allocations. That could be a setback. Early notification would have helped put a system in place," a source said.

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Centre ends tech education inspector raj
The Telegraph, 8 Jan 2010

India’s technical education regulator will no longer inspect any existing institutions approved by it unless it receives complaints against them, under a policy shift that seeks to abandon decades of a corruption-tainted inspection regime.New technical institutions seeking approval from the All India Council for Technical Education will be inspected just once, at the time they apply for recognition, under reforms announced today by the government.The reforms plan to use technology to substitute for regular inspections to ensure quality — minimising human intervention would reduce chances of corruption, Sibal and the AICTE argued.The reforms also include relaxing land requirements and student strength norms for technical institutions, and making the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) independent of the AICTE. The NBA is the country’s sole technical education rating agency and needs complete autonomy for India to be accepted into an elite club of nations that accept each other’s degrees under a pact called the Washington Accord. More [+]

World shrinks for schools in India
DNA India, 10 Jan 2010

The world will soon become a smaller place for nearly 1.5 crore school going children in India who are going to be linked though broadband internet connections and webcams within the next three years.While many of them may not have seen the world beyond their villages, the ambitious Information Communication and Technology (ICT) programme for schools by the human resource development ministry (MHRD) promises to bring the world just a click away. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has approved a scheme worth Rs 6,929 crores on ICT that aims to incorporate computer-enabled teaching and computer education in 1.8 lakh government and aided secondary and higher secondary schools. More [+]

Road map for PPP in secondary education not yet finalised
The Economic Times, 11 Jan 2010

A road map for public-private partnership in secondary education is yet to be finalised despite the government’s keen interest. Aroundtable on school education constituted by minister for human resource development Kapil Sibal has been considering a proposal for PPP prepared by Planning Commission adviser Gajendra Haldea.The proposal is an expensive proposition and seeks to go beyond the mandate of PPP in secondary education. In several of its suggestions, the proposal is at odds with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, and the National Curriculum Framework. While supported by the private sector, the proposal finds few takers among government and education experts. A second proposal, prepared by the CII, has also been submitted.Both proposals make it clear that private sector participation to set up 2,500 models schools at the secondary level may not be possible without a “reasonable return on investment”. This is likely to raise important questions as successive education policies and Supreme Court judgements stress that education is not a commercial proposition. More [+]

Sibal for more research but invites private sector to do it
The Hindu, 11 Jan 2010

Speaking at a book release function on Monday, Mr. Sibal said universities should be relieved of the affiliated colleges which should operate as separate entities. There is a need for a separate body to conduct examinations of these colleges and institutes so that the autonomous colleges can operate as standalone institutes and run programmes. This will help them concentrate more on research, he said while adding that there was a need to give the institutes the freedom. He also expressed concern over the trend of Indian institutions lagging behind in research output. More [+]

$100 bn investment potential in education sector over 5 yrs: Experts
The Economic Times, 10 Jan 2010

The country's fast-growing education sector holds a potential to attract a whopping $100 billion (about Rs 4.57 lakh crore) investment over the next five years driven by demand for skilled professionals and need for infrastructure development, say experts.The sector offers opportunities to increase capital as education still lacks good-quality infrastructure in the country and investors have the opportunity to build it, experts believe. More [+]

Private tutoring can corrupt public education systems
The Times of India, 11 Jan 2010

As education rapidly expands the world over, so does its shadow, the private tutoring system. In some countries, parents, educators and politicians are highly critical of the way private tutoring has come to dominate the lives of families and pupils. School plus homework plus tutoring does not leave much time for anything else. It can corrupt public education systems, particularly when teachers pay more attention to their private lessons and neglect what they are paid to do.he first thing to do is to recognise its existence - and potential danger. Some regulations can be appropriate, particularly to prohibit teachers from accepting payment for tutoring the pupils for whom those teachers already have responsibility during their normal classes. Tutoring can have a backwash on the school system, leading to inequalities in the classroom and to conflicts in approaches to learning More [+]

California Lawmakers Pass Major School-Reform Package
The New York Times, 06 Jan 2010

The California Legislature on Wednesday sent Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger landmark education reforms designed to overhaul the state's worst schools and let parents send their children elsewhere.Under the legislation, state officials could close failing schools, convert them to charter schools or replace the principal and half the staff. Parents whose children are stuck in the lowest-performing schools would be given greater leeway to send their children elsewhere and could petition to turn around a chronically failing school.The measures also provide a method for linking teacher evaluations to student performance.Schwarzenegger lauded the legislation, saying it contained reform that once seemed impossible. The bills will take effect 90 days after he signs them into law. More [+]

Charter School Performance in New York Schools:Study Report
CREDO National Charter School Study

This document reports on the analysis of 6 years of schooling, beginning with the 2003-2004 school year and concluding with the 2008-2009 data. A total of 20,640 charter school students from 49 charter schools are followed for as many years as data are available. The students are drawn from Grades 3 - 8, since these are the grades that are covered by the state achievement testing program. An identical number of virtual comparison students are included in the analysis. Overall the results found that the typical student in a New York City charter school learns more than their virtual counterparts in their feeder pool in reading and mathematics. The results also show that in New York City Black and Hispanic students enrolled in charter schools do significantly better in reading and math compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools. More [+]

Photo of the Month

School Choice National Conference

The first School Choice National Conference (SCNC) on Quality Education for All: Policy Solutions for Better Schooling was organized by the School Choice Campaign on 16 December 2009 at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The Conference sessions focused on the implementation of the key provisions of the Right to Education and their potential impact on the future of Indian elementary education.
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2009 Templeton Freedom Awards

Centre for Civil Society’s “Performing Arts for School Choice” bags 2009 Templeton Freedom Award for Initiative in Public Relations.
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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]



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