Sunday, October 31, 2010

HRD ministry signs MoU with UIDAI

HRD ministry signs MoU with UIDAI

NEW DELHI: Recognising the efficacy of the 'Aadhaar' unique identification number in delivering education based programmes, the HRD Ministry today signed an MoU with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

The proposed MoU would be helpful in tracking student's mobility by creating an electronic registry of all students, right from primary and elementary level through secondary and higher education, as also between the institutions.

"Besides, it will also be useful in bringing efficiency in the mid-day meal scheme," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said.

The MoU was signed between joint secretary in the HRD Ministry Amit Khare and deputy director general of UIDAI, in the presence of Sibal and UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani.

Sibal said imprinting of the unique identification number on performance record of individual students like marksheet, merit certificate and migration certificate will be helpful to prospective employers and educational institutes.

"UID number will also help in tracking problems of fake degrees while the number can also be utilised with dematting of academic certificates and also loan and scholarship schemes," he said.

The Government has set up the UIDAI for issuing UID number to all citizens, based on demographic and biometric data of the individuals.

Nilekani said the UID number can also be used to identify children from the underprivileged sections for admission into the neighbourhood school as envisaged in RTE.

He said apart from finger print, iris scan of children from class V will also be recorded for the UID of children.

Sibal for vocational option at Class 8

Sibal for vocational option at Class 8

Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said that a comprehensive skill development programme and a Vocational Education Qualification framework were key to India’s growth story. Addressing the 8th Pan-IIT Conference, Sibal said there was a need to change the mindset and approach to the education sector to keep up with the changing times.

Promising a ten-level Vocational Education framework that would enable a school student to choose academics or a vocation as early as the eighth standard, Sibal said the student would be able to get a CBSE vocational degree after the 12th standard, enabling him to be directly absorbed by the industry. Sibal was addressing a plenary session on “The Future of Education: Education Skills Development & Employability”.

Sibal called on the IIT alumni to collaborate with the government and help with research in India, connect with the industry and institutes to set up research parks and help develop a curriculum at all levels that will address the needs of the industry and ensure student pass out as employment-worthy candidates.

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President of Yale University Richard Levin, who also addressed the conference said India needs to create high quality educational institutes and develop academic leadership.

Special educators missing from schools

Special educators missing from schools
Kalyani Sardesai, TNN, Oct 31, 2010, 12.22am IST

PUNE: City-based parents and school counsellors have highlighted the need for qualified special educators equipped to handle a child's specific needs.

Special educators are teachers for children with special needs who face challenges with learning, communication and those with physical disabilities and developmental disorders. Such students are likely to benefit from additional educational services such as different approaches to teaching.

At present, a dearth of courses for special educators in the city, except for the hearing impaired, and school counsellors with degrees in clinical psychology doubling up as special educators are common in several schools.

Experts in the field said lack of awareness about career options packed with a reluctance to pursue this vocation have resulted in a shortfall.

Special educator Reena Bonagiri said there is much confusion between the disciplines of counselling, special education and remedial teaching. "There are very few special educators trained by city-based educational institutions," she added.

Poor salaries are another deterrent which keep teachers away from this field. "Fifteen years ago, I started with a salary of Rs 750 in my stint as a special educator for a spastic centre. It eventually went up to Rs 1,200," Bonagiri said.

Aman Setu principal Madhavi Kapoor said a special educator would earn the same as any other teacher with a B Ed, depending upon the school. "A teacher with a B Ed degree earns between Rs 7,000 to Rs 25,000. A special educator would earn the same," she said.

Nilima Desai, who heads the Navkshitij institute for the mentally challenged, said, "There are a few special educators for children below 18. However, there is a dearth for those above 18 years. Lack of awareness is one reason for paucity of qualified staff. Moreover, there is a shortage of colleges offering B Ed and D Ed courses in special education. Also, not everyone wants to work with children with special needs."

Both Desai and Kapoor plan to start courses for special educators.

The situation is completely hazy in civic schools. Ingrid Mendonca, member of the Action for the Rights of the Child, an umbrella organisation of various child rights' groups in the city, said they were looking into the issue of special educators in government, especially in the 346 civic schools.

"School board authorities have promised to look into the implementation of the Right to Education Act which is about inclusive education for every child, even one with special needs," she said.

The Kamayani School for the Mentally Challenged has a two-year diploma course for special education. The institute has applied to the University of Pune for a B Ed course, said social worker Dilip Bhonsle.

"The university should have a course to teach the mentally challenged so that teachers are skilled and trained," he said.

Rewachand Bhojwani Academy is an integrated school with four special educators supported by two assistants. Still, principal Sharada Rao said, there was a shortage of suitable special educators. "Applications we receive are inappropriate. People think the requirement is for teaching computers. We tried getting special educators from Mumbai, but it did not work," she said.

State keen to achieve total literacy in 10 yrs

State keen to achieve total literacy in 10 yrs

Hyderabad: Though the Rs 9,824 crore budget allotted for school education for 2010-11 is seen as a good move by many, the government’s delay in going ahead with giving posting orders to DSC-2008 qualified has led to some questions.
The delay in giving posting orders for the DSC-2008 aspirants led them to resort to agitations, and finally forcing them to knock at the doors of a court.
The delay in implementing the GO is seen as the primary reason why the B Ed and D Ed candidates had knocked at the court doors.
The state government had taken up the issue of DSC-2008 in six years while during the previous regime this exercise was almost an annual feature, thereby not allowing any backlogs.
The secondary education minister, Mr Manikya Vara Prasad Rao, had plainly stated that under the Right to Education Act, the teacher-student ratio would be 1:30 and that the students would not be allowed to suffer.
Lakhs of teachers are to be appointed now. With many teachers reaching superannuation, this has again created some vacancies. Then why was the delay? The government has failed to give any answer.
This lack of answer has led to the assumption that either the government was indifferent or just plain negligent.
According to the government, it is keen on achieving total literacy in 10 years. One of the stated aims, as part of its attempt to cut down on drop-outs among students is to continue with the mid-day meal scheme up to 10th class.
Besides this, the government favours model schools for better primary education. The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan is another scheme aimed at providing elementary education for students in the 6-14 year age bracket. According to the budget speech, the government also aims to strengthen infrastructure in primary schools.
For enrolment and to strengthen existing secondary schools, Rashtriya Madhyamika Siksha Abhiyan is also proposed during 2010-11 with the Central assistance.
The Sakshar Bharat Mission-2012 is another scheme designed to eradicate illiteracy among women.

The message is clear from all these stated schemes. The government wants to give education a much needed push. An educated population would indeed see the country taking giant leaps forward in its quest for overall development.
For all the good intentions and purposes listed by the government, failure to take prompt and responsible decision, at the right time, would do more harm than good.
The nod for giving postings to the DSC-2008 qualifiers is a start. The government must build on this start if it wants to ensure that the Rs 9,824 crore budget does not go waste. This would also help the country in the longer run.
The ball is, was and will be in the government’s court. Any hesitation in continuing with the process set in motion by the recruitment orders would be harmful.

Rs 4,556 cr for primary education this year

Rs 4,556 cr for primary education this year
TNN, Oct 30, 2010, 10.22pm IST

HUBLI: Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on Saturday claimed that the aid which his government has extended to the primary education during the last two-and -half-years is a record in the state.

Inaugurating two newly built classrooms at the 97-year-old Government Higher Primary School in Bidnal village near here, he said, Rs 4,556 crore has been set aside for primary education alone for the current year alone. Around 11,037 primary teachers have already been recruited and notification has been issued for the appointment of 86 special teachers and 124 teachers for special children. Also permission has been given to recruit teachers for vacant posts, for which the recruitment process has already begun. He said the government is making sincere efforts for the overall development of the society including education.

He said the distribution of free textbooks, uniforms and free mid-day meal programmes indicates the importance that his government has given for education.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

SCERT to give extra time to disabled examinees

SCERT to give extra time to disabled examinees
The National Human Rights Commission had recommended to allow 20 minutes per hour extra time to the disabled examinees taking assistance of a writer
Published on 10/29/2010 - 12:07:24 PM
By Suresh K Tiwary

New Delhi: The State Council of Education, Research and Training (SCERT), Delhi will comply with the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for extra time to disabled examinees for the forthcoming examinations scheduled to be held in April-May, 2011 onwards.

SCERT has informed National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that it will comply the human rights watchdog recommendations to allow 20 minutes per hour extra time to the disabled (PH) examinees taking assistance of a writer.

In response to the recommendations of the Commission, the SCERT, in a communication informed that provision for extra time to disabled examinees will be implemented for the forthcoming examinations scheduled to be held next year.

The SCERT also informed that the examinations for the year 2010 were almost over by the time recommendations of NHRC could be communicated. However, it allowed 20 minutes per hour extra time to the disabled examinees for the reappear examination.

The Commission took up the issue on a complaint filed by one Ankit Gautam on May10, 2010. In his complaint he prayed for urgent intervention of the Commission for the direction to the Director/Examination Controller of SCERT, Delhi to allow him an additional hour for the written test to be held from May14, 2010 as he was disabled.

In this connection, he also drew attention of the Commission towards a circular dated 2nd August, 2000 issued by the Chief Commissioner for Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on modifications in the Schools/Colleges examination entrance tests and written tests for recruitment to jobs and promotion and for interviews for persons with disabilities.

The Commission issued a notice to the Director, SCERT for consideration and to ensure that there is no violation of complainant’s human rights and sought an action taken report within three days.

The Controller of Examinations, SCERT, in his report revealed that the complainant was allowed half an hour extra time along with a writer for the examination.

In another report, the SCERT informed that the matter for granting one hour extra time to the disabled candidates will be looked into by its examination advisory committee.

UT Education dept fails to fill up 3 important posts

UT Education dept fails to fill up 3 important posts

Despite the fact that numerous city government schools have continued to run headless for years, the UT Education Department has failed to fill key posts of the Department itself. While the Adult Education Department under the Education Department is headless with both the posts of Deputy Directors lying vacant (one for the last eight months and the second for one month), the Deputy District Education Officer (DEO) also retired today without any effort by the Department for his replacement.

The Department is sleeping over the condition of the Adult Education unit under its Continuing Education Project, which is going nowhere in the absence of the seniormost officials - the two Deputy Directors. The height of laxity is evident from the fact that there has been no replacement for Deputy DEO Dilbagh Singh, who was given an official farewell by the Department on Friday.

While the department claimed that no official is willing to take over the post of Deputy Director, there is no justification for the Deputy DEO’s post not being filled. “As per the rules, the seniormost official of the Education Department has to take over the post of Deputy Director, (Adult Education); a decision will be taken soon. Similarly, for the Deputy DEO, the post will be filled soon,” said Secretary (Education) Ram Niwas.

According to the rules laid down by the UT Education Department, the seniormost official in the Department, irrespective of his current position, is appointed Deputy Director (Adult Education). Instead of following the rules, for the first time options were invited for the two posts of Deputy Director from school principals in September. Rajesh Minhas retired from the post of Deputy Director in February followed by the retirement of Prem Malik, another official in the same position on September 30. According to the seniority list, the two seniormost officials of the Department are District Education Officer (DEO) Chanchal Singh and Assistant Director (Vocational Education) Saroj Mittal.

According to the information available, despite being the seniormost official, Chanchal Singh expressed his unwillingness to work in the post to Secretary (Education) Ram Niwas in writing in July.

Bangalore's private schools get one more reason to up fees

Bangalore's private schools get one more reason to up fees
Published: Saturday, Oct 30, 2010, 8:33 IST
By BK Lakshmikantha | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

If your children attend private schools or colleges, here’s reason to brace for a hike in fees: Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is all set to collect property tax from private education institutions within its limits.

At the BBMP council meeting on Friday, it was decided that all educational institutions should be brought within the property tax net. The decision came as the corporator of Jayamahal ward, NK Gunashekar, raised a query during Zero Hour, about the rationale for offering exemption from property tax to educational institutions, many of which run like businesses that make huge profits.

Gunashekar said that the exemption from property tax was made on the assumption that the schools and colleges were run as charitable organisations. “According to the Karnataka Municipal Act, 1976, Section 110 (i) (b) taxes have been exempted for the educational institutions. However, almost all the educational institutions are collecting donations and making huge profits. They are nothing but commercial establishments now,” he said.

Making a case for bringing schools and colleges that make huge profits under the tax net, Gunashekar said, “We have to collect all necessary taxes from the educational institutions, especially since the BBMP also provides them all facilities like garbage collection, provision of approach roads and street lights and other facilities. The private institutions that run medical and engineering courses are collecting huge sums of money, as they also charge exorbitant fees and demand large sums in donation. Owners of such institutions drive around in expensive luxury cars. Why should the Palike not collect taxes, when these institutions are so commercialised? The Palike could generate more than `100 crore per year as property tax from such institutions. Right now, they only pay nominal sums as cess to the Palike,” Gunashekar said.

BBMP commissioner Siddaiah said that the suggestion offered by Gunashekar was a very good one. He said that he knew of one educational institution that paid ` one crore in income tax. “I know that there are educational institutions that pay huge sums in income tax. It is true that many educational institutions have now moved away from the model of being non-profit institutions, and make large sums as profit each year. The Palike will collect details of institutions paying income tax, and also make them pay property tax, so that the BBMP can generate greater revenue,” said Siddaiah.

It is reasonable to assume that once the educational institutions are brought under the tax net, the managements of these institutes will transfer the additional financial burden to the parents of students.

When DNA contacted some private schools affiliated to the CBSE and ICSE boards for responses to this move, many said that it would make no difference at all, since they already pay property tax. “We have been paying property tax to the BBMP for the past 20 years,” said M Srinivasan, founder-chairman, Gear Innovative International School and president, Management of Independent CBSE Schools Association, Karnataka.

Manju Sharma, principal of Delhi Public School, Bangalore South, also said that the school has been paying property tax.

Palike to levy tax on schools, colleges

Palike to levy tax on schools, colleges
Bangalore, Oct 29, DHNS

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is planning to impose service tax on education institutions.

Palike Commissioner Siddaiah told the Council Meeting on Friday that many institutions in the BBMP limits paid Income Tax but were notpaying service tax. ThePalike intends to bring them in the service tax net, he said.

The matter came up when the Congress Corporator from Jayamahal ward Gunashekar questioned why the Palike should not bring rich educational and other profit-making institutes within the purview of service tax when the Palike is spending money to build infrastructures that is benefiting them too.

He suggested that service tax could also be imposed on the Bengaluru International Airport.

Siddaiah said he knew an institution that is spread across 100 acres of land and was paying income tax. "Why should they not pay service taxes?" asked Siddaiah.

He, however, said that bringing BIA within the service tax purview waas difficult as it does not come under the BBMP limits. But he maintained that the Palike had facilitated BIA with a smooth infrastructure.
Meanwhile, sources in the Palike said the institutions exempted under section 110 of the KMC Act would be subjected to service tax, regardless they make profit or loss. The charge will be levied according to the zones as mentioned under the Self Assessment Scheme.
DH News Service

‘Proposal will adversely affect students’

Terming BBMP’s resolution on service tax as legally ‘untenable’, the Karnataka Unaided Schools’ Management Association (KUSMA) said the civic agency cannot levy the tax without amending the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976.

Stating that private schools will oppose the move even if the BBMP secured it legally, KUSMA Chairman Krishna Iyer said levying any service tax on educational institutes would be ‘unfair’.

“The resolution has apparently been passed with the premise that schools are making profit. Even if they are doing so, they have been paying the income tax. Those who don’t, have obtained exemption under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act, 1961,” Iyer told Deccan Herald.

He also said that the proposal was a ‘first-of-its-kind’ mooted by any civic body in the country. “Most schools were given land by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) under community service quota. Hence, they pay an annuity of Rs 15,000-35,000 to it every year,” he added. Schools will challenge the move in the court if it was legislated, he said.

Princess Franklyn, Principal, St John’s High School, was of the opinion that taxes should be levied on schools based on the number of students, facilities provided, and fees charged. “Schools may oppose the move. The general perception is that schools make lot of money. We’ll have to wait and watch,” she said.

Condemning the proposal, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of a city college said that it would affect the students adversely. “Colleges may have to pay hefty amount to BBMP if the move is implemented. In the long run, colleges will be forced to charge extra fee from students,” he said.

“It is not the right kind of move. Education is a social service. There are no extra benefits from the Government. Engineering colleges have already given up 50 per cent seats. We need to take the issue to the concerned people,” K N Balasubramanya Murthy, Principal, PES Institute of Technology, said.

'Bhadohi-Mirzapur carpet belt is child labour free'

'Bhadohi-Mirzapur carpet belt is child labour free'
TNN, Oct 29, 2010, 09.48pm IST

VARANASI: The famous carpet belt of Bhadohi-Mirzapur had been freed from child labour, claimed minister of state for textiles Panabaka Lakshmi and textile secretary Rita Menon. They were in the city on Friday to take part in the inaugural function of the four-day India Carpet Expo, being organised in the premises of the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University.

In a chat with reporters, the minister said no child labour was engaged in the carpet manufacturing process in Bhadohi-Mirzapur belt. The name of Bhadohi handmade carpet was withdrawn from the US list of industries in which child labour was used, she said. The textile ministry was looking forward to improve the skill of children by providing training of carpet weaving to them at school level, she said and added it would not only prevent the practice of child labour but also help in skill development. The textile ministry had already taken initiative in skill improvement for trained work force, she added.

The minister further stated that the textile ministry had given Rs 229 crore for the development of carpet mega clusters in Bhadohi and Srinagar. She was hopeful of sufficient number of foreign buyers. Around 400 foreign buyers were expected at the carpet expo, she said.

The carpet expo organised by the Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) is the largest business fair of handmade carpets, rugs and floor coverings to attract foreign buyers from different countries. A range of antique, modern, contemporary and trend setting Indian handmade carpets from different parts of the country including Bhadohi, Mirzapur, Varanasi, Jaipur, Panipat and Kashmir have been put on display at the expo.

According to convener and CEPC vice-chairman Siddh Nath Singh, over 240 manufacturers and exporters from all parts of the country have booked on 6,000 square meter stand area to exhibit their goods at the expo. A total of 370 buyers from different countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA have already registered their visits to the carpet expo.

The CEPC has also instituted 72 export awards and 17 certificates of merits for the exporters for their excellence in exports during 2007-08 and 2008-09. The awards and certificates were distributed at function organised in the evening.

SC slams UP govt''s failure to fill 60,000 teachers'' posts

SC slams UP govt''s failure to fill 60,000 teachers'' posts
PTI | 11:10 PM,Oct 29,2010

New Delhi, Oct 29 (PTI) The Supreme Court today termed as "appalling" Uttar Pradesh government's failure to fill 60,000 vacant teachers posts in primary institutions. It held that the Right to Education guaranteed by Article 21A would remain illusory if government does not take steps to set up the required number of schools with qualified teachers. "The Right to Education guaranteed by Article 21A would remain illusory in the absence of State taking adequate steps to have required number of schools manned by efficient and qualified teachers," a Bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar said in a judgement. The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing UP government's appeal challenging the Allahabad Full Court judgement quashing the state's policy restricting the eligibility for Special Basic Training Course 2007 only to those who passed B.Ed. from institutions recognised by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) as arbitrary and unreasonable. "Although appalling and almost unbelievable, the fact remains that in the state of Uttar Pradesh, more than 60,000 posts of Assistant Teachers in primary institutions run by Uttar Pradesh Basic Shiksha Parishad are lying vacant and unfilled for a long time for whatever be the reasons thereof," Justice Reddy, writing the judgement, said. The apex court said that before teachers are allowed to teach the children, they are required to receive appropriate and adequate training from a duly recognised training institute. But the restrictions imposed by the state was arbitrary and unreasonable. "Such is the importance of proper training to the teachers before they are allowed to teach the children of impressionable age. Part of the mantra of development economics today is a stress on universal primary education, including specific emphasis on educating girls," the apex court said.

Friday, October 29, 2010

UP's 10 lakh 'missing' kids hints at huge scam

UP's 10 lakh 'missing' kids hints at huge scam
Akshaya Mukul, TNN, Oct 29, 2010, 12.30am IST

NEW DELHI: It's a mystery of sorts. In just one year, Uttar Pradesh's enrolment in primary schools — class I to V — has fallen by 9.89 lakh children. In 2008-09, the figure was 2.49 crore that has come down to 2.39 crore in 2009-10 as per the data of District Information on School Education (DISE) certified by the UP government. On the other hand, enrolment in upper primary schools — class VI to VIII — has gone up by two lakh — from 74.15 lakh in 2008-09 to 76.15 lakh in 2009-10.

But it is the case of the missing 9.89 lakh primary school children that has become a cause of concern. In June, when the DISE figures came, the discrepancy between last year and this year's data was pointed out, but officially the UP government maintained that the data was correct. However, sources in the state government said the discrepancy raised several questions. One, if the data of 2009-10 is correct then what about the figure of 2008-09? In case the 2008-09 data is correct, what happened to the money spent on the children on mid-day meals, free textbooks and uniforms. Two, if primary enrolment has come down then have children gone out of school? "Such a discrepancy can have serious implications on Gross Enrolment Ratio," one official said.

Ashok Ganguly, special project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, UP, says, "We are going for digitisation of each and every child as per the orders of the Allahabad HC. We are tracking each and every student. A clearer picture will emerge later." Ganguly says the issue of discrepancy needs to be looked at in depth. In this regard, he says, the state government has identified six districts, including Badaun, Jaunpur, Mau, Unnao and Muzaffarnagar, for random survey of enrolment.

Educationist Vinod Raina, while stating that one will have to wait for the data, says such a discrepancy could be due to double admission. "In many states, children take admission in both private and government schools. It helps them get free textbook," Raina says.

Need to deregulate education: Sam Pitroda

Need to deregulate education: Sam Pitroda
2010-10-28 16:30:00

New Delhi: National Knowledge Commission chairman Sam Pitroda Thursday stressed the need to deregulate education, calling it the need of the hour.

'We don't need central or state control on universities and colleges. Today the challenge is to deregulate education,' Pitroda said, addressing a conclave organised by the Indian Institute of Technology alumni group PanIIT.

'That's what we did to economy in 1991. That is what we need to do to education in 2011,' he stressed.

Pitroda also emphasised that there was need to urgently pass the educational reform bills, expressing dissatisfaction over the fact that they have been delayed.

'There is no sense of urgency over passing the education reform bills, many of them have not even been tabled yet,' he said.

Many new bills, including the much debated National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill have been drafted on the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission and the Yashpal Committee. However, they have not been tabled in parliament yet.

'We have had debates and discussions, but no action. It's time for government to act,' he said.

At least nine new bills have been drafted by the human resource development ministry. Of these, the Foreign Education Providers Bill, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, the Educational Tribunals Bill and the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, have been introduced in parliament.

These have been sent to parliamentary standing committees, and are likely to be taken up during the winter session.

'Education is the only area we have not focused on economy of scope. We have to create an atmosphere where even a plumber can think of going for a Ph.D. in Mathematics,' he said.

Speaking on the occasion, HRD ministry's secretary for higher education Vibha Puri Das stressed on increasing the gross enrollment ratio (GER) to 30 percent by the end of this decade.

The GER, representing the percentage of students enrolled for higher education, is presently at 12.5 percent.

'We are giving right to education to students... higher education should be made available to them,' she said.

Cops set up helpline for abused students

Cops set up helpline for abused students
Sanjay Yadav, TNN, Oct 28, 2010, 11.37pm IST

GURGAON: The Gurgaon police have decided to set up a special helpline to assist students who have been molested or have been verbally abused by authorities, in educational institutes.

This step comes in the wake of the recent Scottish High molestation case, where a teenage student of the school was molested by a skating instructor. Even though the student filed a complaint, the school had initially tried to downplay the incident.

City police commissioner, SS Deswal said that they would issue a circular mentioning the helpline number to all educational institutions on Friday.

This will include primary and secondary schools, collages and even recognised education societies would also be approached. We are also calling a meeting of the school management and principals to deliberate on this issue. We will direct all educational institutions in the district to display anti-child exploitation helpline number and police email ID on their notice boards, he added.

Nickelodeon: Only 25% kids play outdoors on a daily basis

Nickelodeon: Only 25% kids play outdoors on a daily basis

India’s leading kids’ entertainment channel Nickelodeon commissioned a research to understand the play patterns of kids across six metros. The findings indicated some good news and a lot of alarming trends

It is said that playing is a basic right of every child. Would you then believe it if a research indicated that the biggest barriers to play are the parents themselves? 39% kids are not active outdoors. In fact, outdoor play is third last on the list of daily activities for kids. Against 7.2 hours of studies, kids played outdoors just 36 minutes on an average weekday.

These are just some of the findings from the 6-city research -- 'Play Life' -- undertaken by Nickelodeon. As a part of Nestle Milky Bar powers ‘Nickelodeon Let’s Just Play’ co-powered by Surf Excel, a movement that inspires kids to lead an active, healthy lifestyle through the spirit of play; this research will help the channel to understand the play patterns of kids and barriers to outdoor play.

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With the insights from the research, Nickelodeon hopes to bring about a change in the mindset of parents, teachers and other authority that influence the play habits of kids.

Nickelodeon urges them to take notice and realize the negative impact of inactive life on children. ‘Let’s Just Play’ will drive home the messaging much stronger this year not only to kids but their parents as well and encourage them to step out and get active.

Punjab to constitute new education advisory board

Punjab to constitute new education advisory board

The new Education Minister of Punjab, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, has decided to constitute a state-level Education Advisory Board to seek suggestions on revamping the working of the education department. Similarly, it has also been decided to constitute District Advisory-cum-Monitoring Committees to get feedback on education reforms.

Disclosing this here today, Sekhwan said the board would give representation to renowned educationists involved in reforms in the education system, persons involved in education system right from primary to university level. He said the board would be totally non-political and has the sole purpose of improving the working of education department.

The Board would also suggest changes in curriculum in the several spheres of education. It would also look after the changes in examination pattern, besides going into working of Punjab School Education Board(PSEB). The Board would also suggest possible linkages between PSEB and CBSE and measures to be taken by the Board to take the standard of PSEB to the level of CBSE.

The Magic Word

The Magic Word

Finally, there’s a way to get a fix on our sprawling and diverse educational system, to the tangible benefit of students and administrators. After signing an agreement with the Unique Identification Authority of India, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal pointed out how stamping the UID on marksheets and certificates would help sharpen delivery of various schemes, stem the duplication of paperwork, and put a real, verifiable number on school attendance rates. Anyone who has had to contend with school and university bureaucracies for mark-sheets or degrees or to migrate between institutions, would be grateful for a system that calls up all this information with a single number. Instead of different roll numbers to attend class, take an exam, and change institutions, an electronic registry will be home to all your educational information, from the point of elementary school enrolment, through every point where you need credential verification later in life. In this case, the HRD ministry seems to have committed to UID use with care, with proof of concept studies and pilots to monitor the technology and fit it to its ends. It goes to prove how an institution can mould the UID to its own particular needs, and how the scheme can radically improve the way we access public services. There has been much blather about the UID and the insidious erosion of civil liberties, the dark side of “the database nation”, etc. Technology makes it possible to bundle different kinds of information about you, but the UID need not be an attempt to aggregate all this information. It is merely a tracking number. It is a keyword that will summon up information about you from various nodes — like when you want to open a bank account, or find a marksheet, or get a phone connection. The specific information still resides in different locations. On the other hand, having a single number to give to all these various agencies would phenomenally simplify our lives, give everyone an acknowledged existence, and ensure that we are not locked out of our entitlements for lack of a scrap of official paper.

Unique-card tabs on dropout rates

Unique-card tabs on dropout rates
BASANT MOHANTY

New Delhi, Oct. 28: The government will electronically monitor enrolment and dropout rates of schoolchildren, and track how many of them go on to do higher studies, through the Aadhaar unique identity card scheme.

The Union human resource development ministry and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) yesterday signed an agreement under which:

All Indian schoolchildren will be provided with the 12-digit unique identification numbers; and

The entire data will be made available to the ministry.

That is the first step. Under step two, the schools (and higher educational institutions) will have to record each student’s unique number when he or she enrols or leaves, and must update the register regularly. This will create an electronic record of each student’s enrolment, dropping out, or transfer to another institution.

Step three: The ministry will develop a special software and provide it to every educational institution (and so, it must also provide a computer to every school that lacks one).

The software, which will identify each student through his or her unique ID number, will allow each school to upload its register data onto a central pool. So, the ministry will know how many students have taken admission (and in which class), how many have dropped out (and from which class), and how many have taken up higher studies after clearing school.

“Through the unique identification number, we will be able to monitor some of the education schemes. We can know the trend on enrolment and dropout rates of students at various stages,” human resource development minister Kapil Sibal said yesterday.

“We can also monitor the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in schools,” Sibal added. This will be possible because the schools will maintain daily attendance registers at the free lunch and upload the data through the software.

All this will be possible when all the schoolchildren in the country — the current number is 22 crore — have been given unique ID cards. No timetable has yet been set for this, but the issuance of the cards to citizens began late last month.

Every Indian above five is entitled to the card, anyway — yesterday’s pact only means that an extra effort will be made to get all schoolchildren registered with the UIDAI. This the children are expected to do because the unique number will be linked to admission and examinations.

UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani said his organisation would engage enrolment agencies to register schoolchildren. He said the agencies would record the children’s residential details, fingerprints and iris impressions.

A UIDAI official said that if the schools can be persuaded to install biometric devices to monitor students’ attendance — each such device now costs Rs 5,000 — the ministry would also be able to monitor attendance levels across India.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Panel to commence monitoring process

Panel to commence monitoring process
Sandeep Dua, TNN, Oct 27, 2010, 08.55pm IST

LUDHIANA: A monitoring team has been constituted for the Padho Punjab Project by the office of Punjab director general school education ( DGSE) and state project director of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan Authority.

After visiting all the schools in the state in every district, the team would prepare a report to be sent every 10 days to the department. The team has also been vested with powers to take action against the schools that would be found erring in implementation of the project, said sources.

Examinations of the students, who are studying under the Padho Punjab Project would be held in March 2010. Before this, the cluster master trainer and block master trainer would check their ability and knowledge in mid-exams in November.

Jarnail Singh, assistant district education officer, Patiala, has been appointed as in-charge of monitoring team till the next orders while the members are Jatin Miglani, Navneet Singh, Ravinder Kumar from Patiala I, Patiala II and Ghanour.

The monitoring committee will visit every district and present its detailed report to the district education officer and district coordinator and the review meeting of the Padho Punjab Project, the sources added.This team can take the action immediately after consulting assistant project director (Media) Davinder Singh and will monitor the working of board primary education officer and Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan offices, respectively. The notification regarding it had been sent to all the authorities concerned so that the panel can work properly.

District education officer Harbhajan Ram said that besidescurbing irregularities, the monitoring team would check officials' working. The work would be supervised in an efficient manner and students would be able to get good education.

Primary schoolkids to learn English

Primary schoolkids to learn English
Sandeep Dua, TNN, Oct 27, 2010, 08.55pm IST

LUDHIANA: To strengthen the Padho Punjab Project, the office of Punjab Director General School Education (DGSE) and state project director of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan Authority has decided that all primary teachers will get training in teaching English in addition to maths and Punjabi that are already being taught under the project.

Aiming to promote primary education in Punjab, the Padho Punjab Project imparts reading, writing, speaking skills to students.

The project has shown a great development last year by enhancing knowledge of maths of students in the state thus from now on the authorities are keen to teach the English subject also.

Firstly, the teachers are being provided a 10-day training at the block level in every district which would be completed by November 3. Along with stationery items and training diary, the teachers have been provided with travel allowance by the education department. The teachers are attending the classes in every block.

Later, class I-V students will be imparted knowledge of the language so the students can quickly grasp it.

Elementary district education officer Harpal Kaur said that the students were already learning the language in routine in the assembly time as well in the classes. As the primary standard had been raised, every day new innovations were boosting education of the students.

"The training of the subject to the teachers will update their knowledge and they will update their knowledge on the methodology of teaching. They will able to teach in an innovative and practical way," Harpal said.

Notably, the department has also signed a contract for maintenance of hardware of phase I schools with HCL Info-systems Limited.

From Bihar to a madrasa in Karnataka

From Bihar to a madrasa in Karnataka
Bangalore, Oct 27, DHNS

Although the Right to Education (RTE) Act enjoins that the State bear the responsibility of children, 23 children from faraway Bihar landed up in Bangalore on Wednesday, headed for a madrasa in KR Pet in the State.

worried: Children from Bihar in the City. kpnThe Karnataka Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR) found 23 children, who had travelled hundreds of kilometres from Bihar's West Champaran district to the City, for education.

Suspecting child trafficking, Yeshwantpur railway rural police took in the children, all boys aged between 4 and 13 years and from West Champaran district of Bihar when they landed at the Yeshwantpur Railway station in the morning. Haroon Rasheed, a cleric at the Madrasa Arabia Ameena, who along with his family accompanied the children to the City, said the children were students of the madrasa.

However, the children and Rasheed were let go by KCPCR after people from the madrasa brought documents proving their credentials and the station Inspector spoke to the parents of a few children in Bihar.

The KCPCR has asked the madrasa officials to present the children in front of the Mandya Child Welfare Committee as soon as possible and has also sent orders to the deputy director of Women and Child Development Department and Mandya SP to conduct an inquiry and send the report. The incident came to notice, when the probation officer from the Government Boys’ Home was returning after dropping a couple of children in Bihar. In the train, she saw the children and suspected something was amiss. She then informed the police and the Karnataka Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR). When the group alighted at Yeshwantpur railway station, the police promptly escorted them to the police station. "The madrasa gives two months’ vacation during Ramzan. These boys had gone to their villages for the festival. We were returning to KR Pet via Bangalore, when the police escorted us here," said Rasheed. He said the parents of the boys, a majority of whom are stone cutters, had sent them to study at the madrasa. The madrasa has 30 students in total.

Meanwhile, KCPCR Chairman Nina Naik said while Rasheed had a letter signed by the Sarpanch to escort nine children, the letter was addressed to some other person. The madrasa generates funds by collecting public donations. The Commission also planned to complain to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as well as the Bihar government about lack of educational institutes in the villages these children hailed from.

"The State should also regulate young children taken to other States for education," she felt.

Panel to oversee teacher absorption: Cabinet

JAIPUR: The absorption of teachers from aided educational institutions into government schools and colleges will now be handled by a cabinet sub-committee. This decision was taken at the cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot had announced absorbtion of school and college teachers from aided institutions across the state into government services while presenting the annual budget early this year. The absorption process is, however, yet to begin. The move will benefit thousands of teachers from the private educational institutions who opt for a government job.

The cabinet sub-committee will pave the way for amendments in the Rajasthan Voluntary Rural Education Service Rules, 2010, and Section-7 of the Rajasthan Non-government Educational Institutions Act, 1989, so that the private teachers are engaged into government service at the earliest.

The cabinet on Wednesday further decided to rename the Government College at Nasirabad in Ajmer district after the late Congress leader of the region, Govind Singh Gurjar. Gurjar, who died as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry in April last year, represented the Nasirabad constituency in the state assembly from 1980 to 2003 and served as a minister of state from 1981 to 1985.

The cabinet, on the other hand, deferred the decision about amending certain laws to promote investments in different sectors in the state.

Later in the evening, the council of ministers discussed the issue of new panchayat powers and ensuring clarity on changed authorities of elected representatives as well as government officials of the five departments transferred to the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). The ministers, MPs, MLAs and senior government officers will inform the elected representatives of PRIs about their new powers at the seminars that will be simultaneously held at all district headquarters on October 31, said panchayati raj and rural development minister Bharat Singh. Minister of state for information and public relations, Ashok Bairwa said that his department has been tasked to ensure wide publicity of the seminars on new panchayat powers.

Meanwhile, sources in the government said ministers of state raised the issue of them not getting a say in their respective departments following highhandedness of cabinet ministers. Minister of state for education, Mangi Lal Garasia, minister of state for disaster management and relief Brijendra Singh Ola and minister of state for tourism, Rajendra Singh Guda were some of the ministers who voiced their grievances at the meeting, said sources.

Haryana govt sanctions Rs 192 cr for education

Haryana govt sanctions Rs 192 cr for education

Posted: Thursday, Oct 28, 2010 at 2243 hrs IST
Updated: Thursday, Oct 28, 2010 at 2243 hrs IST

Chandigarh: The Haryana government has earmarked a sum of Rs 192.18 crore for various educational schemes—launched for the students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes-A and families living below poverty line—during the current financial year.

The Haryana education minister Geeta Bhukkal said under the cash award scheme, one-time cash amount was given to all SC students in Classes 1 to VIII for the purchase of school bags, uniform and stationary articles.

One-time payment of Rs 740 is made to each SC student in class I; Rs 750 in class II; Rs 960 in class III; Rs 970 in class IV; Rs 980 in class-V; and Rs 1,250 in classes VI to VIII.

More than 7.64 lakh students benefited from the scheme last year. A case was made and the finance department has agreed to increase the ceiling of the scheme to Rs 76.98 crore, the minister said. Similarly, under the cash award scheme, one-time allowance of Rs 1,450 is given to each SC student in classes 1X to XII for the purchase of uniform, stationery, school bag, dictionary and other articles. More than 2.15 lakh students benefited from the scheme last year for which a provision of Rs 5 lakh has been made for 2010.11. The finance department has accorded sanction of Rs 21.85 crore under the scheme, Bhukkal said.

Besides, scholarships ranging from Rs 75 to Rs 400 are given to all BPL and BC-A students studying in class I to XII. Monthly stipend of Rs 100 and Rs 150 is also given on quarterly basis to SC students studying in classes 1 to V. Similarly, Rs 150 and Rs 200 per month is given to students studying in classes VI to VIII. A provision of Rs 134.17 crore has been made for 2010-11 under this scheme.

Buddha’s teacher pat packs a punch

Buddha’s teacher pat packs a punch
OUR BUREAU

Calcutta, Oct. 27: The chief minister today said the panchayat department was performing “far better” than the school education department in primary education, causing some heartburn in the alleged laggard.

“We were doubtful whether the panchayat department would be successful in imparting quality education when we first launched the SSKs and MSKs in 1997. But today, I feel proud to say you have proved yourselves better educators than those who are teaching in the schools run under our school education department,” Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said.

The observation was made while the chief minister was addressing a meeting of the Nikhil Bangiya Madhyamik Siksha Samprasarak and Sishu Siksha Sahayika Samiti, a CPM-controlled organisation of casual teachers working in the 16,109 Sishu Siksha Kendras (SSKs) and the 1,900 Madhyamik Siksha Kendras (MSKs) in the state. The panchayat-run SSKs hold classes from I to IV, and the MSKs from V to VIII.

Bhattacharjee may have paid the compliment to court the nearly 75,000 casual teachers before the Assembly polls but the comparison evoked a sharp response from a school education department official.

“The teachers at the SSKs and the MSKs are appointed by the panchayat bodies from the localities. But the teachers of school education department-run institutions are appointed by the district primary councils and the School Service Commission. The appointment procedure for the latter is more competitive. It is not possible for the panchayat bodies to maintain such high standards,” the official said.

But school education minister Partha Dey said: “If the chief minister has said so, I would rather not make any comment.”

Bhattacharjee said the teachers employed by the panchayat department were doing a “noble job”.

GSHSEB to introduce project-based learning

GSHSEB to introduce project-based learning
Bharat Yagnik, TNN, Oct 28, 2010, 05.04am IST

AHMEDABAD: In a bid to get rid of rote learning, the state education department will introduce 'Learning-based education', which will engage children in projects on various topics in different subjects. This will be introduced on a pilot basis in 60 schools across the state from next academic year. To begin with, project-based learning will be introduced from class IX.

Senior officials of the department said principals of these schools are currently being trained by educationists from the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT). They are being told about the various subjects that can be taught through such project-based system, about the mediums that can be used to gather information on various aspects of the given subject, and how to inspire and prepare students for the projects.

Project-based learning is being introduced for the first time in the schools affiliated with the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB). Officials said that this system is being introduced to ensure that students in the state board schools do not lag behind those studying in schools affiliated with other boards like CBSE and ICSE that have, since long, supplemented learning through blackboard with projects.

Officials also said that project-based learning would encourage students to conduct a thorough research on the topic by using different mediums like books and internet. This in turn will give them an in-depth knowledge about the subject.

After principals, teachers of these schools will also be trained to help the students understand and implement the project-based learning system. Once introduced, the project will be evaluated and changes made before it is successfully implemented in all the other GSHSEB schools, the officials added.

UID numbers soon for schoolchildren

UID numbers soon for schoolchildren
Special Correspondent
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NEW INITIATIVE: Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal (third from left) and Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilekani (second from right) watch as Joint Secretary in the HRD Ministry Amit Khare (second from left) and UIDAI Deputy Director Anil Kachi (right) exchange documents in New Delhi on Tuesday. Minister of State D. Purandeswari is seen at left. Photo: V. Sudershan
NEW INITIATIVE: Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal (third from left) and Unique Identification Authority of India Chairman Nandan Nilekani (second from right) watch as Joint Secretary in the HRD Ministry Amit Khare (second from left) and UIDAI Deputy Director Anil Kachi (right) exchange documents in New Delhi on Tuesday. Minister of State D. Purandeswari is seen at left. Photo: V. Sudershan

All schoolchildren will soon have unique identification numbers (UID), which will help in tracking their movement in educational institutions and academic records.

This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) here on Wednesday.

The system will help in tracking students' mobility by creating an electronic registry, right from the primary level through secondary and higher education, as also between the institutions. Imprinting of the UID number on the performance records of students, including mark-sheets, merit certificates and migration certificates, will be helpful to prospective employers and educational institutions.

The UID number will also help in dealing with problems such as fake degrees. It could be utilised while dematting of academic certificates, as also education loans and scholarship schemes.

Iris scanning would be done for children aged between 5 and 15, while finger print marks would be added subsequently. Infants and children below the age of five will get the number, but their biometric identification will be done only after the age of five.

Speaking on the occasion, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said that with the new system, the delivery mechanism would be made more efficient.

Educational uses

The technology would be used for proper implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act and monitoring of the mid-day meal scheme and other school programmes.

The Ministry will cooperate and collaborate with the UIDAI in conducting proof of concept (PoC) studies, pilots to test the working of the technology, process of enrolment into the UID database and identify registrars for implementing the UID project (PoC and pilots).

The Ministry will help ensure that the registrars do all that is necessary to put in place an institutional mechanism to effectively oversee and monitor the implementation of the UID project. They will also provide logistic and liaison support to the staff and representatives of the UIDAI.

The MoU was signed by Amit Khare, Joint Secretary in the HRD Ministry, and Anil Kachi, Deputy Director of UIDAI, signed the MoU in the presence of Mr. Sibal and UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani.

School dropouts

Mr. Nilekani noted that the UID would be particularly helpful in tracking school dropouts and migrant students, thereby making access to education possible.

“We are already running a programme for enrolment of homeless people in Delhi that will automatically include children who are out of school,” he said.

The government set up the UIDAI for issuing UID numbers to all residents of India, based on the demographic and biometric data of individuals.

The UIDAI will develop and prescribe standards for recording data fields, data verification and biometric fields, prescribe a process for enrolment of beneficiaries/students to authenticate the identity of a person with a UID number.

Keywords: unique identification numbers, educational institutions, Unique Identification Authority of India

New programme to protect child rights in strife-hit areas

New programme to protect child rights in strife-hit areas
Himanshi Dhawan, TNN, Oct 28, 2010, 06.17am IST

NEW DELHI: Striving to bring government intervention in Left wing extremist areas, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) plans to kickstart a programme to mobilise community youth to protect child rights. This comes at a time when the Centre is focusing its attention on economic and social development in naxal-affected areas.

The Bal Bandhu scheme for protection of children's rights in areas of civil unrest has been cleared by the Prime Minister's Office and is likely to be launched next month.

"The programme will mobilise the community to take charge of children and their rights to convince people to send their children to anganwadis and schools,'' NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha said.

The objective is to intervene in 10 districts in five states in areas of civil unrest with the mandate to protect children's rights, focussing attention on mobilisation of communities through trained local youth volunteers or `bal bandhu' who will act as child defenders.

In the process, the government also hopes to bring stability in the lives of children ensuring that entitlements to protection, health, nutrition, sanitation, education and safety are fulfilled through government action and to enhance democracy through community participation and action.

As a long term plan, the scheme aims at tracing adolescent girls and boys who have gone missing, use community participation to repair and revive schools and enrol children and monitor children's nutrition and health needs through anganwadis.

The programme will be initially launched in Assam (Kokrajhar, Darrang and NC Hills), Andhra Pradesh (Khammam), Maharashtra (Gadchiroli), Bihar (Jamui, Rohtas, East Champaran, Sheohar) and in Chhattisgarh (Dantewada).

NCPCR is expected to implement the scheme simultaneously in all 10 districts (one block in each district) in the first year. The Commission will establish an advisory committee with representation from the ministries of women and child development (WCD), home affairs, PMO and NCPCR to review and monitor the programme.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Education –A Risky Business

Education –
A Risky Business
Bhan Sahu on Oct 25th, 2010 in All Videos, Blog, Chattisgarh, East, Education,

Rural students in India’s Chattisgarh risk their lives everyday by crossing rain-swollen river in narrow boats to attend school.

Bhan Sahu, the correspondent of this video is a mother of two school-going children. For years, she has been struggling to get both her children educated because her rural district lacks proper educational infrastructure. Check out Bhan Sahu’s personal profile here. In this video she captures one of the many problems that school children there face: Crossing overflowing rivers in narrow boats as there are no roads and no bridges.

The children in this video live in a village called Sitakasa where there are no schools. So, children of this village travel for miles to attend schools in a faraway village. On their way, everyday they have to cross a river that has no bridge on it. This becomes dangerous in the monsoon because the water level rises very high, threatening to capsize the boat. Also, the boatmen close their ferry service early afternoon. So, not only these children risk getting drowned, but also miss classes to take the boat back home in time. Above all, when it rains heavily, the ferry stays closed, thus forcing the students to miss school altogether.

Now, the Government of Chattisgarh claims that 76% of the state’s rural population has access to education. But according to Bhan Sahu, the access is far from being easy. Besides, if the students are frequently missing classes either due to rain or logistical problems, it is bound to affect their learning as well.

Bhan Sahu says that there is an urgent need to build a bridge over the river. But, the ideal solution is to build a school in Sitakasa, so that its children can access education right in their own village.

IndiaUnheard has been highlighting educations woes of communities from across India. You can watch all of these education videos by clicking here.

Private schools object to RTE provisions

Private schools object to RTE provisions
TNN, Oct 26, 2010, 06.19am IST

JAIPUR: Society for Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan proposed amendment of various provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 on Monday.

The society submitted its objection to the drafted rules to the commissioner of Rajasthan Parambhik Shiksha Parishad at Shiksha Sankul.

It said private schools should not be given additional responsibility for providing free text books to the children of reserved category. The society also opposed Part 25 of Rule 2 of RTA, under which girls should be included in the 'disadvantaged group' and will get 25% reservation.

"Those from privileged group will take away the share of children belonging to real disadvantaged group," said Damodar Goyal, chairman, SUPSR.

He also argued against the provision that defines weaker section children as those who belong to a BPL family. "This doesn't define the BPL family either. The Act should have a clause under which BPL family having a BPL card from a competent authority can avail of the benefit," said Goyal. The society said it should be allowed to fill the reserve category seats with students from general category after a certain time period so that the schools do not incur revenue losses.

It also objected to Part 5 of Rule 5 which states that local authority shall ensure that names of all children enrolled in the schools under its jurisdiction must be displayed at the notice board of each school. It argued that schools will require a lot of space to display the names of all students. "It will not serve any purpose rather could be used by some miscreant to gather information about a child," said Goyal.

The state government had released the drafted rules and asked for suggestions from concerned parties. The government will consider the suggestions before finalising the rules for this Act. Few provisions of the Act had been in place since April 1, 2010.


Read more: Private schools object to RTE provisions - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Private-schools-object-to-RTE-provisions/articleshow/6812630.cms#ixzz13WYqqvx6

'More than 50% Indian kids face sexual abuse'

'More than 50% Indian kids face sexual abuse'
Ashis Ray, TNN, Oct 26, 2010, 03.14am IST

LONDON: In a shocking revelation, more than 50% children interviewed for a survey in India to determine the extent of violence against them said they had faced sexual abuse. In total, 12,500 school kids in 13 states between five and 18, as well as otherwise, took part in the research.

The report by Plan International, a children's organization here, said India is dubiously ranked third among 13 countries in terms of estimated economic cost of corporal punishment. Plan calculated that anything between $1.4 billion and $7.4 billion was lost every year in India by way of social benefits because of physical ill-treatment in schools. This is premised on how the larger economy is affected by the impact of such punishment, causing poor pupils' attendance and academic performance.

Only the US and Brazil suffered greater economic damage in the same sphere. Plan also studied Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Jordan and Egypt.

According to Plan's findings, corporal punishment is widespread in Indian schools, despite being illegal. More than 65% children, its report claimed, said they were beaten. A majority of such victims are in state schools.

The study also discovered that caste and gender discrimination was the major cause of violence against children. It said many students abandoned their studies because of such humiliation, which included hitting with hands or sticks, making them stand in various positions for long periods and tying them to chairs. More boys (54%) than girls (45%) were subjected to corporal punishment.

Plan blamed "societal acceptance of violence as a form of discipline" for it and pointed to a lack of awareness about children's rights in India. In the schools surveyed, there were at least five beatings of students a day.

Interestingly, many among the students interviewed believed corporal punishment was sometimes necessary. Students in Assam, Mizoram and UP reported highest rates of corporal punishment, while Rajasthan and Goa the lowest. Plan's conclusions are based on Overseas Development Institute, a UK thinktank, research. The institute's sources included government of India data on child abuse in the country.


Read more: 'More than 50% Indian kids face sexual abuse' - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/More-than-50-Indian-kids-face-sexual-abuse/articleshow/6812170.cms#ixzz13WaDlATi

School violence costs India yearly US$7.42 billion

School violence costs India yearly US$7.42 billion
2010-10-26 17:00:00
Franklin Templeton
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School violence costs India annually US 7.42 billion dollars, according to a research report titled "The Economic Impact of School Violence" by United Kingdom headquartered Plan International and Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

Eminent Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was a wake-up call for India to urgently look into this grave situation, which could be devastating for affected children also besides economic and social impact and causing a considerable drain on public purse.

Economic and social cost of school violence in India is much higher than countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jordan, Nicaragua, and Peru; according to this report.

In India, the report says, 69 percent of children said they had been physically abused in different settings, including schools, but most said they had not reported it to anyone. In many cases, it is ignored or even condoned.

Plan/ODI report adds that corporal punishment in schools in India has recently been made illegal, but it is used widely by teachers. In one survey, 65 percent of children reported having been beaten. In some states, the figure was more than 90 percent. Punishments range from hitting with hands or sticks to making children stand in various positions for long periods and tying them to chairs. These severe punishments cause many children to abandon school-because they are afraid of their teachers, because of their injuries and because of the impact the violence has on their learning.

Zed, who is Chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, further says that bullying, corporal punishment and sexual violence is traumatizing and humiliating for children; it violates rights of children; it sustains violence; and it creates fear of schools and teachers and fellow students. Laws protecting children need to be enforced. India needs to have a strong political will and commitment to eradicate violence in schools.

Rajan Zed pointed out that India should retrain its teachers to choose disciplining methods other than corporal punishment; set up codes of conduct in schools; stress on gender equality; enforce the law banning corporal punishment; develop a children friendly reporting procedure; and pour more investments in this area.

Plan/ODI report argues that no country is immune from school violence. According to the UN's study on violence against children, 20-65 percent of all schoolchildren report being verbally or physically bullied. Some 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 experience forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence during 2002. Corporal punishment in schools is legal in 88 countries, including France and a number of states in USA. Even in those, where it is banned, it is often seen as an acceptable form of discipline. In a number of countries, sexual violence against girls and women is the more common than expected. And schoolchildren bully their more vulnerable peers, such as those with disabilities, different sexualities and different ethnic backgrounds.

This report indicates that in Egypt, 80 percent of boys and 67 percent of girls have suffered corporal punishment, even resulting in a beating death. In a study conducted by students in Sierra Leone, 59 percent of girls had been sexually abused, where girls are sometimes abused in exchange for grades or school fees. In Ecuador, 37 per cent of adolescent girls, who were the victims of sexual violence, named teachers as perpetrators. Bullying is common in schools across the world-and is only illegal in five. In Swaziland, 17.4 percent of 13-17-year-old girls have been taken out of school because of pregnancy.

Founded in 1937, Plan, whose tagline is "Promoting child rights to end child poverty", claims to be one of the oldest and largest children's development organizations in the world, with projects in 48 developing countries and annually works with more than 3,500,000 families and their communities. Headquartered in Surrey; Paul Arlman is the Chair of its International Board of Directors, Nigel Chapman is the Chief Executive Officer, while Bhagyashri Dengle is its National Director for India. aunched in 1960, ODI claims to be Britain's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. Headquartered in London, its Council is chaired by Lord Adair Turner, while Alison Evans is the Director.(ANI)

Corporal punishment is being abolished elsewhere

Issues In Education

D.Molefe
O.Pansiri

Corporal punishment is being abolished elsewhere

Can a school and classroom be "child-friendly" and still rely on corporal punishment to maintain discipline? Corporal punishment (CP) has been banned in neighbouring South Africa and Namibia. Both countries have worked hard to develop alternatives to CP. There is recognition that serving teachers may have experienced such punishments as children and adolescents and have never learned anything about other ways to maintain discipline.

In South Africa the staff at the Education Policy Unit at Wits wrote a book Alternatives to Corporal Punishment. It is available in Botswana through Heinemann (Mmegi Issues In Education 14 February 2005). More recently efforts to control other forms of violence in schools, particularly bullying, have taken off (Mmegi Issues In Education 24 and 31 May 2010).

No European country permits corporal punishment. Canada banned CP in 2004. Korea is soon to eliminate corporal punishment. Pakistan will consider a bill to abolish corporal punishment. The Federal Education Minister Zobaida Jalal said in Islamabad, "No type of corporal punishment or physical harassment would be allowed in the country's educational institutions". While talking to the PTA, Ms Jalal said CP and physical harassment impairs the learning capability of students and forces them to skip classes. She said by treating a student inhumanely, the concept of literacy becomes repugnant. Ms Jalal said the Muslim religion does not allow a teacher to beat a student. She said maintaining a friendly classroom environment is a major priority of education and that the government was investing to make the classroom a learning peaceful habitat. Ms Jalal said a bill would soon be introduced in parliament to ban physical punishment and harassment in schools.

Most recently in India a movement against corporal punishment has swelled. In New Delhi the message is "Spare the rod, or end up in jail". That's the latest warning to teachers who resort to CP. The Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued a new set of guidelines that ends the physical punishment of students. The first violation can result in one year in jail, or a fine or both. For subsequent violations imprisonment could be up to three years with additional fines. Heads of schools are to be held responsible to prevent CP. Teachers found guilty can also be denied salary increments and promotion. A children's rights cell where children can lodge a complaints will be set up in all schools in India.

Under a new law on the Prevention of Child Offences Bill even parents, relatives and neighbours in India could be punished for hitting children. The draft bill is expected to include not just physical or sexual abuse, but also verbal abuse, molestation and ragging. This ban comes amidst an angry debate on the issue of CP in schools across India. The debate was sparked off by the death of Rouvanjit Rawla, a 12-year-old who committed suicide in February 2010, days after being humiliated and caned by the principal of his elite school in Kolkata.

Bangladesh in August 2010, banned corporal punishment in schools after an upsurge of such incidents, warning teachers that they face legal action if they inflict "inhuman punishments" on pupils. A Unicef study last year found that nine out of 10 children in the country were physically beaten in schools. In a major incident a 10-year-old school pupil committed suicide after being subject to CP, causing the High Court to issue an interim order to stop children beating in schools following petitions from human rights groups. In March 2010 a teacher's violence against her pupils sent eight children, between ages seven and eleven, to a hospital after they were punished by their headmistress for forgetting to bring coloured pencils to school.

In America The Centre for Effective Discipline (CED) in Ohio, USA, seeks to develop alternatives.

See . Corporal punishment has been abolished in thirty states, but is still legal in twenty states-twelve are southern states. This is why there is a national movement to abolish corporal punishment and to develop alternatives in the 50 states. CED claims that CP has no place in the education of children and that it perpetuates cycles of abuse. Next week we will look again at Breaking The Cycle Of Abuse.

Screening, capitation fee will invite action, DoE tells schools

Screening, capitation fee will invite action, DoE tells schools

To implement various sections of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act in the Capital, the Directorate of Education (DoE) has warned all schools across the city against taking any capitation fee at the time of admission. It has also ordered all schools “not to subject any child or guardian to any screening procedure”.

In a recent circular to all city schools, the DoE has asked all schools not to subject a child or parent to any screening procedure, or take any capitation fee. Penal action would be taken against any violation of this order, the circular states. The DoE has also warned schools against detaining or expelling students. Section 16 of the RTE Act says that “no child in a school shall be held back in a class or expelled from the school till the completion of elementary education”. In a recent circular to all schools, the DoE has also asked schools “not to subject students to any physical or mental harassment”.

New programme bring child labourers back to school in Bihar

New programme bring child labourers back to school in Bihar

By Alistair Ingi Gretarsson

NALANDA DISTRICT, Bihar, India, 25 October 2010 – Wearing a clean, navy-blue school uniform with a sky-blue shawl draped over her shoulders, Khaushaliya Kumari, 14, is sociable and relaxed as she goes through her daily routines. Khaushaliya and 46 other girls staying at the Residential Bridge Centre, or RBC, wash their own clothes and dishes, and are in charge of cleaning up the classroom where they all both sleep and study.
VIDEO: UNICEF reports on special training programmes that help former child labourers enter the school system in India's eastern state of Bihar. Watch in RealPlayer

RBCs such as the one in Nalanda district, located in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, are special training programmes that help former child labourers enter the school system. Here, children who have never been to school before, or who have dropped out early, get the space and support they need to be integrated back into the general school system at a level that is appropriate to each child’s age.

Khaushaliya smiles shyly when asked what her life was like before she arrived here. “Every day, after doing my morning chores at home, I would go and carry baskets of coal till the evening,” she says. “Unloading coal from the truck was always difficult. Sometimes I cut my hands.”

Positive trends, but challenges remain

The trend in education in India is positive, with the number of out-of-school children between the ages of 6 and 14 declining in recent years. And the introduction of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act of 2009 means that all children in India are legally guaranteed their right to quality primary education.
UNICEF Image
© UNICEF India/2010/Gretarsson
Khaushaliya Kumari, 14, in the Residential Bridge Centre in Nalanda district, located in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.

Luckily for Khaushaliya, the RTE Act also states that even older children who have missed out on school still have the right to get the equivalent of eight years of quality education.

The challenge now is to ensure that every remaining out-of-school child is not only enrolled in elementary school but also completes at least eight years of child-centred, child-friendly education.

Reaching the most marginalized

Khaushaliya and her family belong to one of the most socially excluded and economically disadvantaged communities in Bihar. Mostly landless labourers, families in her community are forced to get by on a very meagre income.
UNICEF Image
© UNICEF India/2010/Gretarsson
Former child labourers in the Residential Bridge Centre in Nalanda district, in India's eastern Bihar state, where they receive special training to help them enter the school system.

With nine children to support, Khaushaliya’s father, Jakhar Manji, spends much of his time working in construction in the far-off city of Delhi. In addition, Khaushaliya’s entire family earns day wages for the back-breaking labour of loading and unloading coal for transport.

Forced by her circumstances to contribute to the family’s income, Khaushaliya was unable to go to school. But now, thanks to the RBC and the innovative teaching methods being introduced here, she has the opportunity to enter into the formal school system and to complete her elementary education – including the learning she may have missed when not attending school.

“Before this, my life was very difficult,” says Khaushaliya. “I did not have time to even sit and rest. Now I study. I play. I do a lot of things.”

Innovative methods

UNICEF is working with the State Government of Bihar to introduce a new system of learning to the RBCs that will soon be implemented across the state. These ‘special training’ courses – known as Vertical Competency Based Learning (VCBL) – provide the foundation to meet the provisions of the RTE Act within the next five years, reaching all out-of-school children with the necessary on-site support required to succeed and complete their education.

Like Khaushaliya, many other children at the RBCs have been engaged in hard labour, or in domestic work. Arriving with highly varying levels of academic competence, it is important that they receive the individual support they need to make those first, most crucial steps.

The child-centred VCBL approach gives each child the opportunity to develop at his or her own pace. Each student works through a series of lesson cards; by the end of 11 months, each has the chance to achieve the academic competence of Class V in key subjects. As a result, once these children transition to the mainstream school system, they are far more likely to stay in school and complete their elementary grades.

Towards a brighter future

“It’s a big programme, and it will take a long time to reach all of the children,” says Arshad Raeza, a local teacher who has worked on setting up this system here and has provided academic support to the teachers at the RBC in Nalanda.

“But social change is happening,” he adds. “I heard one girl say she wants to be District Magistrate! Their thinking is changing, and their ambitions are growing.”

Khaushaliya’s teacher, Suman Kumari, also says she has seen the change in how the girls who come here think about their futures. “Many of the girls now want to be teachers or social workers,” she notes. “But some of their dreams are so big that I pray to the gods that they are realized.”

6 yrs on, SIEMAT a distant dream

6 yrs on, SIEMAT a distant dream
Corruption-Ridden SSA Damp Squib In JK
FAHEEM ASLAM
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Srinagar, Oct 25: Apart from corruption, official apathy has marred the proper implementation of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in Jammu and Kashmir, with the state government miserably failing to implement the much-hyped flagship programme, aimed at universalization of elementary education (UEE).
Informed sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that the Department of School Education is yet to establish the State Institute of Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT) despite release of an initial grant of Rs 50 lakh by the Government of India for the purpose. The grant was released some six years back. “It was the kind of an apex institute at the state level which could help the state in policy formulation, sharpening administrative skills and management techniques of the professionals and help prepare the financial assessment plans with regard to different areas of education. Under SSA, there is a provision of Rs 3 crore one-time grant for setting up the institute. The Department has already received Rs 50 lakh for the project in 2003-04 but is yet to utilize it,” they said. “This is primarily because the state is yet to identify the land for the institute notwithstanding its importance.”
As per the SSA interventions, SIEMAT is an institute designed to develop the capacity of all categories of administrative and field functionaries—down to the village levels to efficiently manage educational institutions and to provide the professional support required by them. The SIEMAT includes operationalization of the concept of decentralized planning and management through the development of training packages for its various clientele groups, conducting programmes which could ensure enrolment, retention and learning achievement of elementary school children through district, cluster and village based strategies and, motivation and sensitization of functionaries as required for the various steps of UEE.
SIEMAT is also responsible for the capacity building of the district authorities in development of Perspective Plans and Annual Work Plan & Budget and formulation of the State Plans. It is also meant to impart training in Micro Planning and School Development Planning.
“We have two SIEs (State Institute of Education), one each in Kashmir and Jammu regions. They have come up in late ‘50s during the regime of Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad, the then prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir. We are still relying on the obsolete methods of perspective planning for education. Instead of setting up a new SIEMAT the state government had decided to upgrade one of the two SIEs to the level of SIEMAT to impart necessary training to the professionals. But so far it has not been done,” the sources said.
According to academics, setting up the institute could have been of great help for the Education Department. “It could have helped us in effective and need-based perspective planning in the education sector so that we have the futuristic view of the things,” said a school teacher, insisting not to be named. “This time we are just using arbitrary data with regard to different issues pertaining to educational planning. If we had this institute, we could have trained the professionals in different planning areas and got the accurate data about different things.”
The teacher said: “Educational planning is a very scientific thing. This time we don’t know what would be our enrolment in schools two or five years from now. This institute could have helped us in formulating the data and see how many teachers we need five years from now and what would be the infrastructural requirements in the educational institutes. The institute was meant to orient and sensitize the stakeholders.”
Sources said a number of states in India like Himachal Pradesh have already set up such institutes and availed the funding under SSA. “By now the institute should have come up. Now the scheme is ending soon, still there is nobody in the Department to look into the issue and get the requisite funding under it. The state has nothing to pay for the institute. All it has to do is identify the land for the institute,” they said.
Sources said the Jammu and Kashmir government has also not done much progress with regard to setting up another institute, the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), which would look into the academic issues concerning the state. The issues include teacher training, development of textbooks etc. The SCERT was supposed to come up under the Teacher-Education sector. “The Government of India has repeatedly asked the state government why it is not making any headway with regard to SCERT. But the officials not acting,” the sources said.

Bengal drafts own rules for effective Right to Education

Bengal drafts own rules for effective Right to Education

Kolkata To implement the Right to Education Act — providing free and compulsory education to all children between the age group of 6 to 14, the state government has framed its own set of rules.

The Indian Express has accessed the copy of the 38-page draft, which the government has sent to various stakeholders. According to the draft, local bodies like panchayats and municipalities will identify children and enroll them in schools. It also talks of setting up more schools in consultation with the state School Education department
.

“The local authority shall maintain records of all children in its jurisdiction — from birth till a child attains the age of 14 — through household surveys. They will also include children from disadvantaged groups or weaker sections who require special training,” the draft stated.

The schools will admit children within six weeks of the beginning of the academic year and not discriminate against children from the disadvantaged sections of the society. The government will award each child “Elementary Education Certificate”, issued by the school
at the end of Class VIII.

On the issue of corporal punishment, the government has laid down clear guidelines. Suspension from school after notice to the parents, imposition of fines as per school rules, temporary removal from classroom, detention after school hours, bar on participation in sports and other co-curricular activities, etc will not be seen as any form of mental or physical punishment.

In the draft, there is also a provision to appoint “school counsellors” in every district. Along with the support staff, they will monitor attendance and completion of elementary education by a child.

The counsellors — to be appointed in every neighbourhood — will counsel parents, educators, children and address issues that may disrupt a child’s education.

The state government also plans to set up State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and interim authority West Bengal Right to Education Authority.

Another body, West Bengal State Advisory Council — headed by the school education minister — will advise the government on the effective implementation of the Act.

Vikram Sen, Principal Secretary of School Education department, said: “We have forwarded the draft to several stakeholders. There will be some modifications and by November, we will get the final approval from Law department and come out with the statute.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

Jharkhand to appoint 17,000 teachers

Jharkhand to appoint 17,000 teachers

October 23, 2010 | RSS | Tell a friend | Printable Version

Ranchi: Jharkhand Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Baijnath Ram on Saturday announced a decision to appoint 17,000 teachers, including 4,000 Urdu teachers.

"We will soon appoint 17,000 teachers, including 4,000 Urdu teachers. The concerned authorities have been directed to initiate the process," the minister told reporters here.

"Schools will remain opened even on holidays as education was affected due to strike of para (not regular) teachers," he said. Para teachers were on strike for 54 days and their protest over pay hike ended on Thursday.

In Jharkhand, more than 20,000 teaching posts are vacant. The appointment of 17,000 teachers is likely to improve primary and secondary education in the state. IANS

Code to check false claims

Code to check false claims
TNN, Oct 25, 2010, 04.48am IST

PUNE: Educational institutions and coaching classes had better think twice before making tall claims about their teaching, infrastructure, placements and affiliation, among other things. Besieged by complaints from students, parents, teachers and others, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) will soon introduce a code of conduct relating to advertisements by the education sector in the electronic and print media.

The code, which will come into force from December 1, aims at curbing misleading claims by institutions about the status of their affiliation/recognition or academic programmes offered by them. The ASCI will also check promises and claims made about jobs, placements, salaries, rankings of the institutions, courses offered, visual infrastructure in the ads and testimonial by toppers, among others.

It may be noted that advertising by the education sector constituted almost eight per cent of all advertising in the print media last year.

"Over the last one year, we received a slew of complaints from parents, teachers, students as well as competing organisations relating to misleading claims by institutions," said Allen Colaco, ASCI secretary general.

The ASCI is a self-regulatory voluntary organization for advertising content. Along with its consumer complaints council, the ASCI handles complaints against advertisements which are false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices, or unfair to competition.

The advertising code of the Cable Television (Network) Act 1994 states that no advertising against which a complaint is upheld by the ASCI can be carried on television, Colaco said. "We have an advertising code that covers all aspects of ads but the council has now started issuing industry-specific guidelines. First, we focused on the food and beverages industry and later the automotive industry. Now, it is the education sector," he said.

With 50,000 kids in school, Andhra takes RTE lead

With 50,000 kids in school, Andhra takes RTE lead
Akshaya Mukul, TNN, Oct 25, 2010, 01.13am IST

NEW DELHI: Even as the Centre is yet to firm up its view about screening of children for admission in residential schools, Andhra Pradesh has successfully given admission to 50,000 children in 600 state government-run residential schools without any entrance test and following the Right to Education Act in letter and spirit.

Andhra residential schools, which have been consistently producing good results, have even given reservation higher than 25% stipulated under the RTE Act.

"Till date, we were conducting state-level entrance test as getting into these schools is considered prestigious. But once the RTE Act was introduced, we decided to implement it," said Sambasiva Rao, secretary, secondary education, Andhra Pradesh. The Act prohibits screening of any kind — be it of children or parents — and stipulates that admission be conducted through a draw of lots.

While the HRD ministry has come up with a formula on screening in non-residential schools, no decision has been taken on the residential ones. Many reputed residential schools have approached the ministry seeking guidance about next year's admission without resorting to screening of any kind, including test.

How did the Andhra Pradesh government implement no-screening in residential schools? According to Rao, since there are 20 to 30 residential schools in each district, the state government just asked people to apply. "We received a large number of applications. Lottery was taken out by senior district officials in front of select parents who were, in turn, chosen through draw of lots," he explained.

As for reservation, Rao said there were three kinds of residential schools in the state — open, tribal welfare and social welfare schools. "All three have given around 50% reservation, which is double than what RTE Act stipulates," he said.

Though Rao admitted that in the absence of screening, these residential schools would not have got talented children, he felt it would be made up through remedial courses for children. "We expect that in a year's time, these children will improve," he said.

In case of non-residential schools, the ministry has decided that while 25% reservation to children of economically weaker sections will be given without any screening and on the basis of random selection through draw of lots, for the remaining 75%, there will be a rational system of categorisation.

RTE hits roadblock as civic bodies look the other way

RTE hits roadblock as civic bodies look the other way

Maroosha Muzaffar Tags : Directorate of Education, DoE, RTE Posted: Mon Oct 25 2010, 03:43 hrs New Delhi:
Act requires single body to run Delhi schools
Act requires single body to run Delhi schools

The Directorate of Education (DoE) is having a tough time implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act in Delhi with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) refusing to hand over their schools to the Delhi government. The DoE had asked both civic bodies to either upgrade their schools to Class VIII or hand them over to the department, so that a “unified body” could run schools across the Capital.

“There is multiplicity of authority in Delhi. We have schools run by the MCD and NDMC, by the Delhi Cantonment Board and the Delhi government,” Director of School Education P Krishnamurthy told Newsline.

“But problems arise when there is lack of synergy among the various bodies,” Krishnamurthy explained.

Earlier, a committee set up by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for “Development of a Policy Framework for Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009” had also recommended a single “unified body” to run the schools in the Capital.

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The Act makes it mandatory for the states to give free education to children aged 6-14, but the DoE has been struggling due to a lack of land to construct schools, shortage of buildings and other infrastructure. This is why it wants to take over the schools run by the civic bodies.

“We had written to the MCD to either upgrade the schools or hand them to us. But we have got no response,” said Krishnamurthy.

RTE Branch Additional Director R K Sharma said: “There is a problem of coordination when there are many heads involved. Even when circulars are issued, it is difficult to implement them in MCD and NDMC schools. The Acts under which these bodies were formed say they can have Education departments of their own. So each body says education is their responsibility. But this multiplicity of authority in education should be done away with.”

While NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari said he was not aware of the issue, MCD Education Commissioner Mahinder Nagpal said they have received a letter from the DoE. “But we have categorically told them that we will not hand over our schools and will upgrade them instead. But that will take about three years. We need more teachers, more offices in the wake of the RTE,” Nagpal said.