Weekly Update on Education (Issue No 205)

18 Sep 2012

School Choice Would Limit CTU Power and Free Children to Learn
The Huffington Post, 14 September 2012

Some 350,000 Chicago schoolchildren have spent the past few days either on the streets, sitting around empty school buildings, or at home. Their teachers, on strike at the behest of the Chicago Teachers Union, have been absent from classrooms that should have been filled with the noises of a bustling back-to-school season. Notably, tens of thousands of their public charter school peers were in class this week, spared being in the crossfire of an education fight that has to do with everything but education. Their non-unionized teachers have been on the job, hard at work. Yet self-interested union bosses have demanded an accountability-free pay raise over the next two years, further increasing their already inflated salaries. Meanwhile, children enrolled in the public schools have had to put their studies on hold. Once again, government collective bargaining has put the interest of adults before the needs of children.

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As RTE deadline looms, State steps up efforts
The Hindu, 18 September 2012

With March 2013 being the deadline for states to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the school education department is taking various measures to monitor the implementation of the act in the State. According to a senior official, state-board schools across Tamil Nadu have been asked to send a list of students admitted under the 25 per cent quota prescribed by the act, along with other details about students of the school in the first phase of the exercise. “It will cover all state-board schools in Tamil Nadu. We will notify schools from other boards to conduct the exercise in the next phase,” said the official. Another official said that the process of collecting and consolidating the break-up in roughly 3,700 matriculation schools across the State is underway, and is likely to be completed within a week. “We have asked schools to provide the details in the required format and the exercise started three weeks ago,” said the official.

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Where is RTE poor in Ahmedabad schools?
Daily News & Analysis, 17 September 2012

The ambitious initiative of the Union government to revolutionise the education system through the Right to Education (RTE) Act seems to be a pipe dream as schools in city have found loopholes in the act to avoid inductingchildren from economically weaker section (EWS). While many schools claim that there is lack of awareness about RTE among the EWS, others blame it on the government for not providing information to the deserving people. “There is no awareness among people about the act (RTE). The government should make even the act of providing information about the act official,” said Manan Choksi, managing director, Udgam School.

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Education: India, China ‘closing in’ on US
The Indian Express, 18 September 2012

Even as international rankings continue to project the Indian education system in poor light, a US think tank has noted that India and China are fast catching up with the US on education parameters, notching up higher enrolment year after year and focusing with such energy and ambition on education that America could soon lose its global competitive edge. The American Centre for Progress has in a study titled, ‘The Competition that really matters — Comparing US, Chinese and Indian investments in the Next Generation workforce’ warned that “both China and India are closing the gap with the US on the proportion of the world’s college graduates”. It urges the next US President to look at ways to ensure “that all American children have the opportunity to become high-skilled workers prepared to compete in a global economy”.

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Outlay for education sector hiked by 155 per cent for 12th Plan Period
The Economic Times, 15 September 2012

The outlay for the education sector for the 12th Plan Period has been finalised at 4,53,728 crore, a jump of around 155 per cent, with focus on setting up of new institues and universities and expanding existing ones. The outlay finalised by the Planning Commission today for higher education sector is at 1,10,700 crore, an increase of 178 per cent and Rs 3,43,028 crore for school education and literacy, a jump of 149 per cent. The demand of the HRD Ministry was over Rs 2.60 lakh crore for higher education sector. However, they said the Plan panel has supported a further increase in the outlay for higher education to Rs 1.66 lakh crore and a further hike of Rs 27,000 crore for school education.

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Focus on facts kills creativity
The Hindu, 15 September 2012

The 15th edition of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), ‘National summit on quality in education’, began in Bangalore on Friday with the theme ‘Innovate, lead, share: redefining delivery of quality education’. The Hindu is the media partner for the event. S. Chandrashekhar, chairman of the summit, said the present education system focuses on facts and figures, thus killing creativity. “Quality and innovation are the key words”, he said. Inaugurating the two-day event, Minister for Higher Education C.T. Ravi said quality education in India was still a distant dream. “Educational degrees have utter irrelevance to a student’s professional and personal life. Education should be a highly individualised process,” he said. He assured the participants that the suggestions made at the summit will be considered by the government.

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‘Teachers should be trained to implement RTE
Daily News & Analysis, 07 September 2012

In order to make inclusive education and the Right to Education Act (RTE) effective, teachers must be trained adequately, according to those participated in a panel discussion on inclusive education at the Indian Institute of World Culture on Thursday. “Much of the debate that has occurred so far about RTE has only focussed on 25 per cent quota for admission forchildren from underprivileged areas in private schools. We don’t see much of discussion about the measures stategovernments have taken to make sure inclusion takes place in these schools. We need to ask if our teachers areprepared,” said Maya Menon, founder director, The Teacher Foundation. Maya said while the government has briefed headmasters and teachers about the rules pertaining to theimplementation of RTE Act, they have not been ‘’prepared’’.

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Experts want ‘no-detention’ policy under RTE Act reviewed
The Indian Express, 18 September 2012

Experts and academicians in the state have sought a review of the ‘no-detention’ policy under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. A sub-committee of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) under HRD Ministry had isued a notification recently calling for suggestions from the public by September 20 for effective implementation of the ‘no-detention’ provision. No child can be detained/failed up to Std VIII under RTE. Several academicians and policymakers have criticised this provision, saying it is affecting the quality of students. All India Federation of Parent-Teachers Association president Jayant Jain, who has made a slew of suggestions to the CABE panel as well as the Maharashtra government, said no detention till Std VIII could harm certain children and parents.

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Private School Chains in Chile: Do Better Schools Scale Up?
Humberto Santos, Dante Contreras, Felipe Salazar and Gregory Elacqua

Abstract: “There is a persistent debate over the role of scale of operations in education. Some argue that school franchises offer educational services more effectively than do small independent schools. Skeptics counter that large, centralized operations create hard-to-manage bureaucracies and foster diseconomies of scale and that small schools are more effective at promoting higher-quality education. The answer to this question has profound implications for U.S. education policy, because reliably scaling up the best schools has proven to be a particularly difficult problem. If there are policies that would make it easier to replicate the most effective schools, systemwide educational quality could be improved substantially. We can gain insight into this debate by examining Chile’s national voucher program. This paper uses fourth-grade data to compare achievement in private franchise, private independent, and public schools in Chile. Our findings suggest that franchises have a large advantage over independent schools once student and peer attributes and selectivity are controlled for. We also find that further disaggregating school franchise widens the larger franchise advantage. We conclude that policies oriented toward creating incentives for private school owners to join or start up a franchise may have the potential for improving educational outcomes.”

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Delivering Education: From Policy to Practice

04 December 2012
The Theatre, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India

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Breaking the Public Monopoly on K-12
When it comes to school reform, the United States could learn a thing or two from Sweden. Many believe private schools generally achieve more than public schools. In big cities, as many as 80 percent of public school parents say they would send their children to parochial or independent schools if they could afford the tuition. Scholarships for poor families are heavily oversubscribed as are charter schools, which are government-funded but run by private boards. Do private schools deserve their reputations and consumer preference? Click here to read more


The MachineThe Machine
Reason TV and The Moving Picture Institute recently came out with a new video called “The Machine.” ”The Machine” highlights the correlation between the taxpayers, politicians, and the education unions. It works like this: Taxpayers send money to the government, which then uses it to pay for government education employees. Teachers are forced to pay a portion of their paychecks to pay union dues. The union uses those dues to make campaign contributions, and the politicians vote in favor of the unions. As the video puts it, it is a “political perpetual motion machine.” This machine has consequences, though. It is corrupting our education system, and most importantly, failing our children. It’s time to break the machine. Click here to watch the video


Education and the Election
In a previous article I referred to education as the “orphan issue” in this great presidential election. The only serious consideration of the subject at the Republican National Convention was given in a speech by Condoleezza Rice. She had just participated in a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on education, which produced a very pessimistic view of American K-12 schooling. Its press release stated: "Educational failure puts the United States' future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk," warns the Task Force, chaired by Joel I. Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state. The country "will not be able to keep pace — much less lead — globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long," argues the Task Force. Click here to read more



Do teachers unions harm the interests of students and the education sector?

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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.

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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


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 our website


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