Issue # 289 | 24 June 2014










There are no quick-fixes for the existing government school system


The new government has taken office at a critical juncture. There is a pervasive feeling that the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) has been tardy and student-learning outcomes are abysmally low. The government school system seems to be in need of a thorough overhaul. While the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) made big strides in improving school infrastructure, teacher availability and school enrolments in the past decade, the quality of education is not showing any signs of improvement. There are no quick-fixes for these challenges. It is important to work on the root causes that afflict the government school system.

Here are nine priority areas of work that could help the government realise the dream of ‘education of equitable quality’ for all children.










Learning levels in govt schools declining, says report:  Right to Education to be blamed?


Learning Levels in Govt Schools Declining, says report: Right to Education to be blamed?

Year after year, report on the annual status of education has revealed that five out of 10 school students of class 5 in rural India cannot read or solve simple arithmetic problems.









Assessment of the educational attainment of students and the implementation of the right to education


The report centres on the assessment of the educational attainments of students and the implementation of the right to education. The Special Rapporteur on the right to education underlines the importance of developing and applying national assessment systems which are in compliance with international human right norms, so that education meets the essential objectives assigned to it in human rights conventions. He considers that such a human rights-based, holistic approach is essential for fostering the humanistic mission of education rather than its mere instrumental role, using a narrow scope of assessments linked to mathematical literacy and language skills only. The report also places emphasis on skills development as an integral part of basic education and on the need for innovative assessment modalities of technical and vocational education and training, particularly in developing countries, in response to the rising aspirations of youth, while not losing sight of the human rights perspective.

The report concludes with recommendations to strengthen human rights-based, holistic approaches to national assessments of the educational attainments of students.













Will entrepreneurs and private players do a better job of running otherwise poorly performing government schools?



We are experiencing a 'crisis in learning'.

High enrollment rates (96%) have not resulted in improvements in children's ability to read and do basic arithmetic, and the gap between children in government and private schools has widened over time. For example, in 2013, only 18.9% of grade 3 students in government schools were able to do basic subtraction or more, as compared to 44.6% students in private schools.


Skill Vouchers


Skill Vouchers: Global Experiences and Lessons for India

Global Experiences and

Lessons for India

Leah Verghese, Parth J Shah



Join the talk



Source: ASER 2013



















All India/National //  The Economic Times // 23 June 2014

Profit-making education entrepreneurs can turn around government schools with quality education

The most important policy statement yet from the new government came from human resources development minister Smriti Irani last week. She said the Modi government will bring in a new national education policy after a gap of 28 years. Our primary, secondary and higher education sectors are in a shambles. The statute books guarantee the right to education.


Tamil Nadu // The Hindu // 22 June 2014

Parents fret over Samacheer Kalvi

It has been three years since Samacheer Kalvi, a common syllabus for State board, matriculation, OSLC and Anglo-Indian schools was introduced. Parents and other stakeholders are still deeply concerned about the learning outcomes in classrooms. Some are also seriously considering the option of drawing their children away from the Board.


All India/National //  The Economic Times // 21 June 2014

A few simple lessons to get the education agenda right

The prime minister's 10-point agenda indicates seriousness about education targets even as his government will be acting under the weight of not just a national emergency in education but also pent up hopes and aspirations of a whole generation of young people who are thirsting for access to quality education. It is imperative, therefore, that the new HRD minister acts with boldness, speed and vision.


Live Mint // Delhi (NCT of Delhi) // 19 June 2014

Aspirations bring girls to schools, lack of toilets drives them away

New Delhi: Rukiya Khatun, 16, often skips breakfast before going to school, and feels tired and sleepy in the classroom, missing out on important lessons. The reason: lack of clean toilets at her school. Khatun is not alone. Scores of her schoolmates prefer to skip breakfast or a meal during recreation period to avoid having to use the toilet.


Hindustan Times // Haryana // 18 June 2014

Dell foundation, govt sign MoU on improving students’ learning levels

The Haryana government on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation with an aim to enable all government schools to achieve higher and increasing student learning level outcomes (LLOs) through school quality improvement programme. The state has over 15,000 gover nment schools with 27 lakh students and 1.2 lakh teachers.





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