Weekly Update on Education

31 August 2010

Search for a workable solution
Amy Kamzin, Financial Times, August 30, 2010

For rural youth in India’s impoverished Vidharba region, the Saoner Industrial Training Institute is supposed to offer a route from local village life to coveted industrial jobs. But with an outdated curriculum, unmotivated teachers, limited equipment and lack of job placement services, the state-run vocational education centre has long struggled to fulfil that role. Students are not the only losers. Fast-growing industries in the city of Nagpur, 60km away, have struggled to find trained workers to meet the manpower needs of their expanding operations.

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Survey paints shoddy picture of govt’s elementary education initiative
Prashant K. Nanda, Mint, August 30, 2010

More than half the schools that receive funds under the government’s flagship scheme to improve and universalize primary education don’t have toilets, and 27% that received grants to build classrooms haven’t constructed any, says a nationwide survey. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), launched almost a decade ago, is failing due to mismanagement and delays in the flow of money to schools, says the “Do Schools Get Their Money?” survey that covered 14,500 schools.

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Confusion over age limit in nursery admission season
Indian Express, August 29, 2010

While the mad rush for nursery admissions has begun in the national capital region, many parents are in a fix over the minimum age when their tiny tots should start their pre-schooling. Majority of parents who seek their wards' entry in any reputed school are now left with one single question: "What is the age limit, three or four?" The confusion has its origin in Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal's proposal earlier this year that the age limit for nursery admission can be increased from three to four years.

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Lok Sabha passes education tribunal bill
The Times of India, August 27, 2010

Lok Sabha on Friday passed the education tribunal bill after HRD minister Kapil Sibal lobbied his case strenuously with BJP leaders to explain that the bill did not lack legislative competence. The minister told Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj that previous amendments when the NDA launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan enabled the Centre to legislate on tribunals. "In light of Supreme Court rulings, it would seem that the Centre has the right to set up tribunals," said Swaraj.

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Pathshalas seek exemption from education Act
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times, August 30, 2010

Some of Hinduism’s most revered institutions are seeking exemption for traditional Sanskrit schools called ved pathshalas from the Right to Education Act, arguing that the law could kill the ancient practice of orally rendering texts. Citing Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal’s pronouncement declaring exemption for madrassas from the law, the ved pathshalas — supported by major religious Mathas and the Arya Samaj — are arguing that they too be spared from the Act. The Kanchi Matha, the Ahobila Matha, and the Andavan Ashram are among the major south-based institutions that have signed petitions seeking exemption from the Act.

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Govt has not done enough for child rights, says NCPCR
Indian Express, August 31, 2010

According to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the state government has not done enough in the areas of food disbursement and right to education for children. The NCPCR representatives had recently taken a stock of various schemes related to implementation of child rights which involved Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and implementation of Right to Education (RTE).

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Education ties could break Sino-Indian ice
Indian Express, August 30, 2010

At a time when defence ties with China may have hit a rough patch, educational ties with the formidable neighbour could be on the mend. Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal will visit China early next month to explore the potential for increased collaboration. While the agenda of the three-day visit to Beijing starting September 11 is under wraps, there is substantial scope for the two countries to collaborate in the education sector.

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Sibal: We'll consider raising cap on faculty for innovation varsities
P. Sunderarajan, The Hindu, August 29, 2010

Accepting the suggestions of industry and other stakeholders, Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal said on Saturday that his Ministry would consider raising the cap on appointing faculty through invitation for the new breed of universities proposed to be set up exclusively for research and innovation. The Ministry had earlier proposed to set a cap of 20 per cent for such appointments. The suggestion to raise the cap came during a brainstorming session organised by him with representatives of industry and scientific and academic universities. The meet discussed the first draft of the legislation that would be needed for the setting up of the new breed of universities.

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Research Paper
Contract Teachers

Sangeeta Goyal and Priyanka Pandey

World Bank

ABSTRACT: In this paper we use non-experimental data from government schools in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, two of the largest Indian states, to present average school outcomes by contract status of teachers. We find that after controlling for teacher characteristics and school fixed effects, contract teachers are associated with higher effort than civil service teachers with permanent tenures. Higher teacher effort is associated with better student performance after controlling for other school inputs and student characteristics. Given that salaries earned by contract teachers are one fourth or less of civil service teachers, contract teachers may be a more cost-effective resource. However, contracts “as they are” appear weak. Not only do contract teachers have fairly low average effort in absolute terms, but those who have been on the job for at least one full tenure have lower effort than others who are in the first contract period.

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Student First! News Turns 100

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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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