Issue # 310 | 6 January 2015









Independent schools aren't the enemy of social mobility: they're its best hope


Alan Milburn has pointed out yet again the fact that while only 7 per cent of children attend independent schools, the product of those schools occupy a massively dominant position in the power centres of the UK Establishment. Predictably and understandably, this leads on to an assault on those same independent schools.

Understandable, yes. Correct? No. We've somehow let the idea flourish that these nasty independent schools block the path of thousands of worthy but disadvantaged children. Actually, they provide one of the few avenues for such children to reach the top, through the third of children in such schools who receive support with the fees.



Fix Schools by Not Fixing Schools


The title of this post seems like the traditional zen koan asking “What is the sounds of one hand clapping?” How are we supposed to fix schools without fixing schools?  The answer to this question may not require Buddhist reflection.  We can fix schools — that is, traditional public schools — by going around them.  We can expand access to other educational options, including charter schools, voucher schools, tax-credit schools. ESAs, digital schooling, home-schooling, and hybrid schools.  We can also expand access to enriching non-school activities, like museums, theaters, historical sites, summer camps, and after-school programs.  Reformers should concentrate their energy on all of these non-traditional-school efforts and stop trying so hard to fix traditional public schools.







Choice and Competition in Education Markets


“People don’t want choice, what they want is a good local school.” These sentiments have been echoed by many of those critical of the Government’s agenda of parental choice and school competition. In response, the Government may contend that parental choice and school competition are a means to achieve the end of everyone having a good local school. In the words of American economist Caroline Hoxby, school choice is a tide that lifts all boats.” This article will analyse to what extent this claim is true.


Quit the quotas: only competitive tension will keep fees down



The University of Cambridge will charge undergraduate tuition fees of £9,000 a year, and the University of Oxford appears set to follow suit. Just as Rolls-Royce charges high prices almost by design, so our elite universities were always destined to do so.
More worrying is that every other university may do so, too. Les Ebdon, vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, thinks all institutions will charge £9,000 within two years, and Sir Peter Scott, former vice-chancellor of Kingston University and currently professor of higher education studies at the Institute of Education, concurs.


India’s education policy needs a complete overhaul


I was glad I did not know the boy standing on the high diving board, hesitating to take the leap. As I walked past, I realised it was the perfect analogy for India and her education issues. We still have to take that leap. It is known that the waters will be chill for a while, there will be shock; it will take some courage to take the leap, but it must be done. Standing up on the diving board only exposes oneself to fear and vulnerability; it won’t get us to a place where we can at least join the race, forget about winning it.




Government School Teacher Incentives


The paper discusses the differences between monetary and non-monetary incentives and why teachers need to be incentivised in the first place. It also identifies the need for effective performance-pay systems, together with non-monetary incentives as the main way out to motivate teachers.
The paper has used both primary and secondary research to arrive at the key issues pertaining to the topic. These issues have been addressed in detail, along with problems faced by government school teachers. A comparative analysis has been made between different types of schools, and the most effective practices have been recognized. Innovative systems, global best practices and solutions for the betterment of the current scenario have led to recommendations and suggestions of this study.


Academic Inclusion Of Children With Learning Disabilities


This paper examines the performance of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan- Right to Education regime in ensuring social and academic inclusion of Children with Special Needs (CWSN) in general and learning disabilities in particular. The programme shall be analysed with respect to the underlying philosophy, institutional and financial commitments, and the implementation of the relevant programme with respect to the provision of inclusive education. While previous studies have focussed on either other Governmental programmes or other social categories such as SC/ST or gender divisions, this study focusses on how CWSN are accommodated in an inclusive educational programme. By adopting a twin pronged system of analysis which considers both access and participation as vital for the success of any programme, the paper finds that the SSA has failed to achieve its stated goals of universal enrolment and inclusive education for all disabled children, particularly the learning disabled. The paper concludes with recommendations for universal education coverage and meaningful inclusion of all children with disabilities.



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