Weekly Update on Education

07 June 2011

Where are the principals?
The Hindu, June 7, 2011

CHENNAI: Government Arts and Science colleges are struggling to compete with private colleges run professionally across Tamil Nadu. To add to the woes of the government institutions, there are no officially-designated principals in 61 out of the 62 arts and science colleges run by the government.

As the senior most professor has been thrust upon the duty of ‘principal in-charge’, the colleges have not been able to function to their potential. In many cases, the principals in-charge, without cooperation, struggle to take important decisions, resolve student issues and carry out administrative work efficiently. Out of fear, the principals in-charge most often refuse to take any decision.

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Student numbers could be cut to cover spiralling cost of loans
The Guardian, June 7, 2011

UK: Tough quotas on student numbers may have to be introduced to avoid the creation of a spending black hole under plans to raise tuition fees at English universities to a maximum of £9,000, a powerful committee of MPs has warned.

Ministers underestimated how many universities would charge the maximum fee and now face an annual bill to fund the interest-free student loans that is “several hundred million pounds” higher than anticipated, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports.

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Class Struggle: India’s Experiment in Schooling Tests Rich and Poor
The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2011

NEW DELHI—Instead of playing cricket with the kids in the alleyway outside, 4-year-old Sumit Jha sweats in his family’s one-room apartment. A power cut has stilled the overhead fan. In the stifling heat, he traces and retraces the image of a goat.

In April, he enrolled in the nursery class of Shri Ram School, the most coveted private educational institution in India’s capital. Its students include the grandchildren of India’s most powerful figures—Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party President Sonia Gandhi.

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The Government’s Rationale for Right to Education
The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2011

In the process of reporting today’s story on the implementation of the Right to Education Act on Shri Ram School in New Delhi, we posed a series of questions to Anshu Vaish, secretary for school education and literacy at the Department of Human Resource Development.

Ms. Vaish’s comments were insightful and articulate in laying out the government’s vision for what it is seeking to achieve through its focus on education — something much broader than simply educating kids. Here are her responses in full:

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Finding solutions in education
Mint, June 3, 2011

Shantanu Prakash is familiar with the small-town claustrophobia that is common to “steel kids” from central and eastern India. Growing up in Rourkela, where his father worked at the steel plant, Prakash had the typically idyllic lifestyle around family and friends with the constant gnawing feeling that there’s got to be more to life.

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Teachers’ recruitment to be streamlined: Mamata
Business Standard, June 04, 2011

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government has decided to streamline recruitment of teachers and PTTI students by bringing them all under the school education department.

Selection of students for Primary Teachers Training Institutes, para-teachers, teachers working under the Madhyamik Siksha Kendra and Sarba Siksha Kendra will all be brought under the ambit of the school education department, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters here today.

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Are we creating dual school systems with charters, vouchers?
The Washington Post, June 3, 2011

Recently I participated in a panel discussion following a showing of the film “Waiting for Superman .” The film is deeply moving. Only a heart of granite would remain unmoved by the plight of the children and caretakers as they learn they would not get into their schools of choice.

In the discussion, Jim Johnson, a UNC-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and founder of the Union Independent School in Durham, made a crucial observation. He noted that the debate around public charter schools versus traditional public schools, or private versus public schools, deflected us from the underlying issue: the plight of children who have no adult advocates.

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Sibal pitches for skill development in education system
India Education Review, June 8, 2011

The Union Minister of Human Resource and Development Kapil Sibal has pitched for developing skills in the youth of the country. The minister has pointed out that vocational education and skill development should be integrated in the educational system.

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Report: Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia

Authors: Joshua Angrist, Eric Bettinger, Erik Bloom, Elizabeth King, Michael Kremer, Juan Saavedra

Policy Issue:

In many countries, per capita income can be an important determinant of the quality of public education a child receives. This can have significant consequences in developing countries, where income levels tend to be low and as a result, educational resources, scarce. The view that private schools function better than public schools in low income countries has prompted calls for governments to experiment with programs to give the poor access to private schooling, often through vouchers. Little is known about the effects of providing private school opportunities for poor families in developing

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ENABLE – ARK & CCS’s School Access and Voucher Programme

ARK’s work in Delhi has identified many communities where children are facing multiple social and economic challenges which put them at great risk of being excluded, dropping out or never attending school. To address this need ARK has partnered with Centre for Civil Society (CCS)
to implement ENABLE (Ensure Access to Better Learning Experiences), a school access and
voucher programme for underprivileged children in Shahdara.Read more


RTE BLOG: Did someone ask the parents?

Chapter III, Section 10 of the Right to Education Act states that ‘It shall be the duty of every parent or guardian to admit or cause to be admitted his or her child or ward, as the case may be, to an elementary education in the neighbourhood school.’

In the lengthy document that espouses the duties of the government, local authority, schools and teachers to ensure that all children are sent to school, the RTE Act has very little to do with the key decision maker in a child’s education—the parent.

Click here to read more.


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.



Should Madrassas be covered under the Right to Education Act?

To vote click here


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


School Vouchers for Girls

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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