Weekly Update on Education

16 March 2010

RTE countdown begins, Sibal seeks states' support
Akshaya Mukul , The Times of India, 15 March 2010

The countdown for implementation of the historic Right to Education Act from April 1 has begun. Complete with a new message - `elementary education of equitable quality is now the right of every child' - and a short awareness film, HRD minister Kapil Sibal has asked chief ministers to cooperate in universalising elementary education. He has written to State CM's making six suggestions.

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Beware school nationalisation
Sunil Jain, Business Standard, 15 March 2010

Government policy towards school education is schizophrenic. While on the one hand, it is working on rules to set up, to begin with, 2,500 public private partnership schools as a means to see how it can increase private sector involvement in providing education to the underprivileged (economically or socially) in a bigger way; on the other, it is all set to virtually nationalise elementary education in the country through the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. If that sounds like a huge overreaction, read on. More [+]

Foreign university bill gets Cabinet nod
The Times of India, 15 March 2010

The Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010, was cleared by the Union Cabinet presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. This paves way for its introduction in Parliament. The bill seeks to regulate the entry and operation of foreign institutions, which will set up centre and offer degrees in India. This bill was hanging fire for over last four years owing to opposition from various quarters, including the Left parties, over certain provisions More [+]

Sibal to scrap 'discretionary quota' for KVs
Anubhuti Vishnoi, Indian Express, 15 March 2010

Union Human Resource Development Minister Kabil Sibal is planning to scrap the discretionary quota system that allows his ministry, MPs and other influential quarters to recommend over 1,200 candidates for admissions in Kendriya Vidyalayas. Incidentally, the move comes after he was deluged with requests for admissions soon after taking over as HRD Minister last year, only to realise that his predecessor Arjun Singh had exhausted 1,000 of the 1,200 seats available under the discretionary quota just before demitting office. Ultimately, Sibal’s office had to refuse admission requests coming from even the PMO. More [+]

The four A's of education
Arvind Singhal, Business Standard, 11 March 2010

It is now also important to start giving serious attention — through policy framework — to the 4 A’s: Accessibility, Appropriateness, Affordability and Accountability. Accessibility has to be universal in the context of all socio-economic strata of society and across the entire geographical spread of India. Appropriateness has to meet not only the aspirations of the individual but also India’s needs, and the demands of the Indian society at large. Affordability has to be seen both from the point of view of the individual and also the country (how much it can afford to subsidise since available resources for all infrastructure are severely limited). And finally, accountability has to be seen first from the perspective of the student. More [+]

Forbes India: the education of Minister Kapil Sibal
Neelima Mahajan-Bansal / Forbes India, IBN Live, 11 March 2010

Ever since he took charge of the ministry, Sibal has been trying to engineer radical changes in the sector. “All these years, education was about politics and not reform. I give full credit to Sibal for pushing through reforms and not politicising education,” says Madhav Chavan, founder and CEO of the educational non-profit organisation Pratham. While some are of the opinion that Sibal’s hands are tied because of the old guard in the ministry and various committees that he inherited from his predecessor. Sibal has to contend with various lobbies within his ministry, many of whom strongly oppose private players and public-private partnership. On the other extreme are those who say that government should stay out of schools and should only fund education. More [+]

Erosion of federal space in education
M.A.Baby, The Hindu, 10 March 2010

While there are no two views on the need for changes in the system of education with a view to increasing access, equity and quality, the nation is divided on the direction of the changes and the modalities for their implementation. Education concerns all the people. Different individuals and groups have different concerns in education, which have to be reconciled in policy planning and implementation. It is the primary responsibility of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to provide a common platform to contest ideas and aspirations, on the basis of which a consensual agenda of action could be evolved and implemented. More [+]

The Push-Back on Charter Schools
The New York Times, 14 March 2010

Charter schools — a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s education strategy — are facing resistance across the country, as they become more popular and as traditional public schools compete for money. The education scholar Diane Ravitch, once a booster of the movement, is now an outspoken critic. What is causing the push-back on charter schools, beyond the local issues involved ? Critics say they are skimming off the best students, leaving the regular schools to deal with the rest? Is that a fair point? More [+]

School choice for the poor? The limits of marketisation of primary education in rural India
Joanna Härmä, CREATE

Summary: In recent years India has seen an explosion in low-fee private (LFP) schooling aimed at the poorer strata of society. This marketisation of primary education, around which there is much contentious debate, is a reflexive reaction to the well-documented failings of the government system. Based primarily on a thirteen-village survey of 250 households and visits to 26 private and government schools in one rural district of Uttar Pradesh, India, this paper explores whether LFPs are in fact affordable to the rural poor and marginalised by examining the key factors in parental decision making and ultimately discovering whether equity considerations are served. More [+]

Dropout Rate in Primary Education (%)


Source: EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010, UNESCO Competitions

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