Weekly Update on Education

24 August 2010

Upper House OKs bill for Nalanda univ
The Times of India, August 22, 2010

After a well-informed debate over three hours, erudite in parts, Rajya Sabha on Saturday passed the Bill to establish the transnational university at Nalanda in Bihar with the hope that it will become “an icon of Asian renaissance”, much like the famous seat of learning in ancient India. Junior external affairs Preneet Kaur, who introduced the Bill in Rajya Sabha, said the Nalanda University would be established as a non-State, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institute with a continental focus. With the support of 16 countries in East Asia, India aims to resurrect the ancient seat of Buddhist learning at its original site in Rajgir to attract students and faculty from across South and South-East Asia.

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In India, it pays — literally — to speak English
Daily News & Analysis, August 21, 2010

Language chauvinism is rampant in Indian political circles — be it Hindi, Marathi or Tamil — and some politicians have even called for a ban on the use of English on the ground that it is “elitist”. However, a path-breaking research study by a team of developmental economists has established that English-language proficiency among Indian workers leads to higher hourly wage earnings. The research conducted by Dr Nishith Prakash, post-doctoral research associate at the Charles H Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University and research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn; Dr Mehtabul Azam at the World Bank; and Dr Aimee Chin at the University of Houston, quantifies for the first time in an Indian context, the returns to English-language skills.

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Kerala, Himachal top fund utilisation for education programme
Hindustan Times, August 23, 2010

Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have been the best performers in utilising funds under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), and West Bengal a poor one, says a study. Of the schools that have received school maintenance or development grants under the SSA (universalisation of education), half of them do not have usable toilets, and one-fifth do without working hand pumps. And 27 per cent schools that received classroom grants had not built a new classroom.

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Now, focus on training teachers for CCE
The Times of India, August 23, 2010

The state government still has some distance to go to ensure that its new policy of continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) for students of Stds I to VIII percolates down to 4.5 lakh teachers, at more than 1.03 lakh primary and secondary schools in Maharashtra. Training these teachers is critical to the success of the CCE as they are the most vital component in the implementation of the new policy, which replaces the so far well-entrenched unit and semester test-based evaluation system. The CCE also brings in the concept of additional supplementary guidance in place of remedial teaching, to help students overcome their difficulties and short-comings at the end of evaluation every year.

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D.C. charter schools face unfunded mandates
Deborah Simmons, The Washington Times, August 22, 2010

D.C. schools open their doors Monday morning for the start of a new year, and charter parents and advocates say a new problem is compounding an old one. This school year, the D.C. Healthy Schools Act mandating new feeding and physical-education policies takes effect. But charter schools are scrambling to meet some requirements of the new law, which says schools must feed students locally produced fruits and vegetables and offer students overall healthier meals. The act also raises the bar on physical fitness.

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Who’s teaching L.A.’s kids?
Jason Felch, Jason Song and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2010

The fifth-graders at Broadous Elementary School come from the same world — the poorest corner of the San Fernando Valley, a Pacoima neighborhood framed by two freeways where some have lost friends to the stray bullets of rival gangs. Many are the sons and daughters of Latino immigrants who never finished high school, hard-working parents who keep a respectful distance and trust educators to do what’s best. The students study the same lessons. They are often on the same chapter of the same book. Yet year after year, one fifth-grade class learns far more than the other down the hall. The difference has almost nothing to do with the size of the class, the students or their parents. It’s their teachers.

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Fund utilisation under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan satisfactory: Sibal
Sify News, August 20, 2010

Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said foreign funds makes up for six per cent of total allocation for the ambitious Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme, adding that fund utilisation under it has been satisfactory. “In 2009-10, Rs 12,781.07 crore were released by the Centre to States, up from Rs 12,604.81 crore in 2008-09 and Rs 11,426.26 crore in 2007-08. The allocation as percentage of GDP, however, declined from 0.25 per cent in 2007-08 to 0.24 per cent in 2008-09 and 0.22 per cent in 2009-10,” said Sibal.

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1000 girls’ schools for backward belts
Basant Kumar Mohanty, The Telegraph, August 23 , 2010

The Centre plans to open over 1,000 residential schools for girls in backward and remote areas as part of its plan to universalise education. The National Sample Survey has found out that over 81 lakh children aged 6 to 13 years remain out of school and that most of them are girls. The human resource development ministry has told the finance ministry it wants to set up 1,073 new Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas. These are residential upper primary schools meant mainly for tribal, Dalit, backward-class and minority girls in blocks where the rural female literacy rate is below the national average and the gender gap in literacy wider than the national average..

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Research Paper
How Effective Are Los Angeles Elementary Teachers and Schools?

ABSTRACT: This study focuses on value-added measures of elementary school student achievement in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). LAUSD is the second largest school district in the United States (behind New York City Public Schools) with about 700,000 students and 35,000 teachers. LAUSD, like many large urban districts, has large shares of low-income and minority students. About 84 percent of students are eligible for free/reduced school lunch, and almost 40 percent come from families where neither parent completed high school. About 76 percent of students are Hispanic and another 9 percent are black. Nearly half of elementary students are English language learners (ELLs) and receive special instruction to improve their English proficiency. Many at-risk students are concentrated in some schools and neighborhoods, so this isolation means these students have little interaction with more affluent peers.

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Education Statistics

Enrolment Rates




RTE Coalition

To initiate and continue the discussion amongst concerned groups and individuals on the issue of right of education and monitor the implementation of the RTE Act, an RTE Coalition has been formed. Join the coalition to make universal elementary education a reality in India. Log on to for more information.



Student First! Dialogue Series

Topic: National Curriculum: Does one size fit all?

8 September 2010

Casuarina Hall, India Habitat Centre,

New Delhi

For more information





2010 Fisher International Memorial Award

James Tooley’s “The Beautiful Tree” bags 2010 Fisher International Memorial Award.
To read more click here






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





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