Weekly Update on Education

21 December 2010

Education in a new India: Fewer gurus, more guides
Emily Wax, The Washington Post, December 19, 2010

In Neemrana, India for generations, the professor was the unquestioned god and guru of the Indian classroom, able to hold forth for hours with no one daring to ask a question or confess they hadn’t understood a concept. Students would kneel and touch the teacher’s feet whenever they met as a sign of unfaltering respect. Such a level of hero worship didn’t always create the best atmosphere for learning, and even senior professors admit that students often fell asleep during lectures.When the students went off to work in India’s fast-growing high-tech industry, they were often too intimidated to offer ideas. This was especially true for graduates of thousands of new rural colleges, where memorizing facts was stressed more than developing critical thinking skills.

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Kerala madrasas ahead of north counterparts: Study
Anubhuti Vishnoi, Indian Express, December 20, 2010

An NCERT (National Council for Education Research & Training (NCERT) study terms Kerala madrasas as “reformed” networks that are introducing a variety of modern subjects and pedagogical tools — in contrast to the stereotypical madrasas of north India.The study titled, A Study of Madrasas of Kerala: An Overview, has been conducted by Prof Sushma Jaireth, Reader in the Department of Women’s Studies of NCERT along with junior fellows Shiraz S and Khadija Siddiqui. While there is no madrasa board in Kerala, the madarsas — most are concentrated in Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram districts — by and large boast of a reasonable infrastructure, the study reveals.

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Guidelines violate RTE: Panel asks govt to think again
Indian Express, December 18, 2010

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has sent a notice to Delhi Education officials, directing them to re-examine the guidelines for nursery admissions issued on Wednesday, stating that they violate the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The Commission noted that “instead of reproducing the guidelines issued u/s 35(1) of the RTE Act 2009, under which the Central government is empowered to direct the appropriate government or local authority (the Delhi government or the MCD etc, in this case) for the purposes of the implementation of the Act, the Delhi government has given its own interpretations and made obvious changes that directly contravene the provisions of the Act, which strictly prohibit any screening procedure”.

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School seat hike plan
The Telegraph, December 15, 2010

The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan is mulling capacity expansion in its over 1,000 schools so that general category seats are not affected while implementing a 25 per cent quota for poor students under the Right To Education Act. The policy is similar to that followed by centrally funded institutions that have added seats to accommodate a 27 per cent OBC quota without reducing their intake of general-category students.As of now, nine seats in a class of 40 are kept aside for SC/ST students, which makes 22.5 per cent of the class (15 per cent for SCs and 7.5 per cent for STs). The other 31 are general-category students. In these three categories, too, there is a sub-category of 3 per cent for the physically challenged.

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No more holidays-at-will for govt school principals
Sandeep Dua, The Times of India, December 19, 2010

It’s not just students but their principals also prefer to give school a miss whenever they please. The education department has found that many government school principals enjoy leaves and long holidays without informing the district education officers. The education department has issued a strict notice to the principals and said the department will not tolerate such indiscipline.The report submitted by the monitoring committee to Director General of School Education (DGSE) office stated that principals were not performing their duties seriously and their irresponsible attitude is causing loss to the students’ education.

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Washington’s faulty thinking about education rules
Harris N. Miller, San Fransisco Chronicle, December 19, 2010

America won the moon race. Can it win the higher education race? A smart and innovative strategy will make this goal attainable, but too many in Washington fail to recognize that private-sector colleges and universities – sometimes referred to as career colleges – are an essential part of the answer. Now educating 12 percent of higher education students, these schools are the game-changer when a game-changer is badly needed.In California, private-sector colleges and universities play crucial roles in educating students. More than 340,000 students in the state, 9 percent overall, attend career colleges. Two-thirds of these students are minorities, and almost 80 percent receive financial aid.

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Meeks wants vouchers for 50,000 students
Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Tiimes, December 16, 2010

Arguing that Chicago Public Schools are “broken’’ and that parents deserve a “choice,’’ mayoral challenger James Meeks said Wednesday he would offer $4,500-a-year vouchers to 50,000 low-and-middle-income Chicago families to use toward private school tuition. If he is elected mayor, Meeks said he would also offer full-day kindergarten and character education in all Chicago Public Schools and double the time spent on reading and math in first through third grades. Full-day kindergarten would be financed in part by cutting bonus pay for teachers with master’s degrees.

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Stop pretending
Los Angeles Times, December 20, 2010

Two court cases this month put California’s public schools on notice. In one, the court ruled that schools no longer could ignore the state’s requirements for physical education; a survey had found that fully half the schools in the state were providing fewer hours of gym instruction than the law requires in an effort to save money or to devote more hours in the day to teaching. In the other case, the state reached an out-of-court settlement in which it pledged that its schools would stop charging parents for basic supplies, and would provide parents with a way to challenge what they believe to be illegal fees.These were the right outcomes. Individual schools and school districts can’t unilaterally decide how many hours of gym students will get; physical activity is important to children’s development, just as English and math lessons are.

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Research Paper

The relative effectiveness of private and government schools in Rural India: Evidence from ASER data

Rob French and Geeta Kingdon


One of the many changes in India since economic liberalisation began in 1991 is the increased use of private schooling. There has been a growing body of literature to assess whether this is a positive trend and to evaluate the effects on child achievement levels. The challenge is to identify the true private school effect on achievement, isolating the effect of the schools themselves from other variables that might boost private school outcomes, such as a superior (higher ability) student intake. Using the ASER data for 2005 to 2007 a number of methodologies are used to produce a cumulative evidence base on the effectiveness of private schools relative to their government counterparts. Household fixed effects estimates yield a private school achievement advantage of 0.17 standard deviations and village level 3-year panel data analysis yields a private school learning advantage of 0.114 SD.

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Global Education Statistics

Distribution of aid to basic education by levels



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.



Skill Vouchers - Global Experiences and Lessons for India

Leah Verghese and Parth J Shah

A study of the role that skill vouchers can play in catalysing demand for quality skill development services. This study examines global experiences with skill vouchers and draws lessons for India from these experiences.

For more click here

Reservation in Private Schools under the Right to Education Act: Model for Implementation

Shekhar Mittal and Parth J Shah

Through this document the Centre for Civil Society seeks to highlight the lacunae in the current framework for 25% reservation for weaker and disadvantaged groups in unaided private schools and seeks to provide inputs on effective implementation of the same.

For 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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