Weekly Update on Education

28 September 2010


Should we do away with formal schooling?
Abha Adams, Business Standard, September 25, 2010

Is school dumbing your child down? Do you worry that your children are wasting their time in pointless and meaningless exercises that stifle their creativity and restrict their mental capacities? Are you worried that your children are being spoon-fed someone’s ideas instead of developing their own? If so, you are not alone. Recently there has been much concern about the ‘dumbing down’ of society in general. Much of the criticism is aimed at the print and visual media, but increasingly voices are being raised about schools and their role in the dumbing down of children. What’s alarming to the lay person and to parents of school-going children in particular, is that this concern is being expressed by some among the educators themselves.

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How AIIMS, JNU keep out deserving OBC students
Vikas Pathak and Charu Sudan Kasturi, The Hindustan Times, September 27, 2010

Two premier higher education institutes, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), have been accused of discriminating against students from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category during admissions. Kailash Mundhe, an OBC candidate, scored higher in this year’s entrance test, than the lowest scoring candidate in the general category admitted to AIIMS’s postgraduate course in dental surgery.He got 91.48 per cent, while the lowest scorer had 91.1 per cent. Yet Mundhe was denied admission. How was this possible? It was because the AIIMS authorities have interpreted the government’s reservation policy to mean OBC students can be allotted only those seats reserved for them..

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Setback for Sibal reform agenda
The Times of India, September 25, 2010

The clear decision by Parliament’s standing committee that it will not deal with Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill till the HRD ministry takes a decision on the Educational Tribunal Bill could well be the beginning of end of Kapil Sibal’s reform agenda. Educational Tribunal Bill, which hit the roadblock in the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon session of Parliament due to opposition from within the Congress, has become a prestige issue for both Sibal and the standing committee. One of the major criticism of Sibal in the Rajya Sabha has been that he did not accept a single recommendation of the parliamentary panel on tribunals.

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Private schools ‘overwhelmed by red tape’
Graeme Paton, The Telegraph, September 27, 2010

Andy Falconer, chairman of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, says heads have been made to feel “less like leaders of our schools and more like administrators” in the last two years. In a speech today, he will call on the Government to scrap a compulsory curriculum for all children aged under five in private and state nursery schools.He says the Early Years Foundation Stage – which sets out 69 targets for children covering literacy, numeracy and social skills – should not be mandatory for schools that do not accept state funding.Speaking at the IAPS annual conference in London, Mr Falconer, head of St Olave’s Prep School in York, will also call for a more stripped down system of inspecting independent schools.

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‘1 in 6 Indians not aware of RTE’
Shalini Singh, Hindustan Times, September 24, 2010

Eighty-five-year old Zahur Shah from the 250-year-old Badarpur Khadar village said he was searching for the cancer camp some time back when a passer-by told him he was standing in front of it. “Agar mujhe padna aata toh mere itne ghante usko dhoondne mein nahi lagte. Padai likhai ke bina insaan janwar jaisa hai,” says the father of nine children, and this family of three generations has never been to school. This largely Muslim-dominated hamlet has never had electricity or a school or even a madrassa. The nearest ones are 6 km (in UP) and 8 km (Delhi) away.

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‘Poor’ schools get govt thumbs

Nikhila Henry, The Times of India, September 23, 2010

The state government seems to be acting against the spirit of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. While keeping schools catering to poor students waiting for recognition, the education department is rolling out red carpet to those flush with funds even if they do not meet the requirements of the Act. If ‘poor’ schools are being denied recognition for not having facilities such as a playground, rules are thrown to the winds in case of cash-rich managements.Such bias in granting recognition is galore in the city, said representatives of charitable institutions. According to managements, hundreds of schools are waiting for government recognition even after fulfilling most of the requirements.

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Gove persuades headteachers to back down on boycott of SATs tests
Richard Garner, The Independent, September 27, 2010

Headteachers have called off their boycott of national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds after being promised an independent review by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove. His offer, just before a meeting of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), persuaded its leaders to call off industrial action by 34 votes to two. The decision is a significant coup for Mr Gove and leaves the headteachers’ new general secretary Russell Hobby pinning his hopes on being able to persuade the review group and ministers to drop their insistence that both tests and league tables should remain their present form.

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Facebook Founder to Donate $100 Million to Help Remake Newark’s Schools
The Economic Times, June 25, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive and a founder of Facebook, has agreed to donate $100 million to improve the long-troubled public schools in Newark, and Gov. Chris Christie will cede some control of the state-run system to Mayor Cory A. Booker in conjunction with the huge gift, officials said Wednesday. The changes would not formally relax the legal power the state seized in 1995, when it declared Newark’s schools a failure and took control of the system, replacing the elected school board with a mostly toothless advisory board. Rather, Mr. Christie plans to give the mayor a major role in choosing a new superintendent and redesigning the system, but to retain the right to take control back.

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Research Paper
What Works in Migrant Education? A Review of Evidence and Policy Options
Deborah Nusche


Education plays an essential role in preparing the children of immigrants for participation in the labour market and society. Giving these children opportunities to fully develop their potential is vital for future economic growth and social cohesion in OECD countries. But migrant students in most OECD countries tend to have lower education outcomes than their native peers. Extensive previous research has described the system level, school level and individual level factors that influence the education outcomes of migrant students. Building on such previous research, this paper looks at the ways in which education policies can influence these factors to help provide better educational opportunities for migrant students.

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Statistics on Indian Education
Youth (15–24 years) literacy rate, 2003–2007, female
Primary school enrolment ratio 2003–2008, gross, male
Primary school enrolment ratio 2003–2008, gross, female
Primary school enrolment ratio 2003–2008, net, male
Primary school enrolment ratio 2003–2008, net, female

Source: UNICEF


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.


2010 Fisher International Memorial Award

James Tooley’s “The Beautiful Tree” bags 2010 Fisher International Memorial Award.
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400 girl children from poor families of North East Delhi receive school vouchers for a period of 4 years.
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Student First! Dialogue Series

Social Audit in School Education

4 November, 2010

India Habitat Centre, Delhi

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