Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Headmistress justifies barbaric act

Headmistress justifies barbaric act

Nalini Ravichandran
First Published : 30 Nov 2010 03:23:13 AM IST
Last Updated : 30 Nov 2010 09:13:13 AM IST

CHENNAI: Adding insult to injury suffered by Priyanka, 12 — who was forced to eat garbage by a teacher in her school — was the headmistress’s justification that teacher Latha did so to keep the classroom clean.

When Priyanka’s father, Dhanapal, a manual scavenger, went to the Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Mahaboobpalayam, Madurai, to report the humiliation his daughter had suffered in school, headmistress Rajeswari allegedly told him that his daughter was a “mental case”.

Narrating the incident on Monday at a public hearing by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in Chennai, Dhanapal said the headmistress did not take any action against the teacher though he filed a complaint against Latha.

Priyanka and two other girls, who were forced to first clean the classroom and then made to eat a handful of garbage, developed severe stomach pain after they reached home.

After admitting the children in private clinics, where they were put on intravenous drips, the parents went to the S S Colony police station at night and registered their complaints.

Later, a complaint was lodged with the education department officials. In addition, they filed a writ petition with the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court. Yet, no action had been taken against the offender. Shantha Sinha, chairperson, NCPCR, described the incident as barbaric. The case comes under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and also the Manual Scavengers Act, 1993. Immediate action should be taken against the CEO and a fresh independent inquiry ordered, she added. This kind of atrocity is purely a case of violation of the above two Acts and that of caste discrimination, she said.

Henry Tiphagne, State representative, NCPCR, pointed out that Dhanpal had been fighting since 2009 for justice with the police and education departments.

Massive state drive for student health check soon

Massive state drive for student health check soon
TNN, Nov 30, 2010, 03.14am IST

AHMEDABAD: State government has, in a major decision, empowered chief district health officer to refer students detected with major ailment for super specialty treatment. Earlier, such powers were with the state government. This was announced by health minister Jay Narayan Vyas on Monday. Talking to media, Vyas said the school health check up campaign will begin from December 3 this year and continue till February 15, 2011. Vyas said the cost of the programme was around Rs 30 crore, part of which will be sponsored under the health programme of the Central government.

"The government has authorised district-level offices to take quick decision for providing free super-specialty treatment of serious diseases of heart, kidney and cancer. If necessary, state government will send children suffering from serious diseases to experts outside Gujarat," he said, adding, "This year, the campaign will last for a week in the villages. Apart from checking students, the government will send another department to the village and take precautions so that children are free from illness."

He said over 3 lakh officials, including 5,528 doctors will cover over 1.5 crore children during the state-wide campaign. "The campaign will cover 38.18 lakh children in 47,413 anganwadis, 84 lakh students in 41,020 primary schools and 30 lakh students in secondary schools of the state. This includes infants up to six years and even non-school-going children up to 14 years," he further said.

The target group will be provided consultancy for diseases, education on general health, hygiene, diet, nutrition, potable water and sanitation. The minister said the campaign will involve the help of Indian Medical Association, besides staff drawn from state health, education, women and child development, panchayat, water supply and other departments.

Under the programme, medical officers with their teams will examine all children in primary schools and anganwadis. Children with minor ailments will be treated on the spot while others requiring examination by specialists will be sent to related referral centers. Different medical experts like ophthalmic surgeon, physician, pediatrician, dentist, skin specialist and ENT will be stationed there. Those children who require spectacles will be provided the same free of cost.

Read more: Massive state drive for student health check soon - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Massive-state-drive-for-student-health-check-soon/articleshow/7011922.cms#ixzz16jHZUNzs

Maharashtra to form school clusters to improve education

Maharashtra to form school clusters to improve education
Published: Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010, 2:01 IST
By Yogita Rao | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Yogita Rao
Now, clusters of five schools will be able to decide their own teaching methods and activities for students of classes IX to XII. The state’s school education department is planning to set up think-tank committees to implement quality improvement programmes at the grass-root level. Each cluster will have its own think-tank committee to bring about a change in the quality of secondary and higher secondary education.
The strategy, proposed by the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (Yashada), has been accepted by the state and will soon be implemented. Yashada is the state’s administrative training institute and is helping it improve the quality of secondary education under the Centre’s Rashtriya Madhyamik Shikshan Abhiyaan (RMSA). RMSA is a programme similar to the Sarva Shikshan Abhiyaan (SSA), aimed at improving higher secondary education.
Nandkumar, state project director for the Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad, said, “State officials have liked the model proposed to us by Yashada and we are looking at implementing it. Currently several officials, including teachers, are being trained in the institute. These teachers will then act as resource persons for each cluster.”
The cluster coordinators will set up their own think-tank committees. These committees will decide on different quality improvement programmes at different levels. “They will introduce different activities, use of new and innovative teaching aids, etc. The measures will be mainly aimed at high quality achievement. Quality is not just determined by marks scored in Board exams but aims at improving students’ understanding of the subjects,” said Nandkumar. Periodical training will also be provided to resource persons under the same programme.
Several other projects have been proposed under the RMSA for quality improvement. Some of them are awaiting the Centre’s approval. A proposal for digitised textbooks and bring about a major change in the curriculum is still pending with the Centre.

Mumbai school to start course in vocational elective

Mumbai school to start course in vocational elective
Published: Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010, 0:57 IST
By Mihika Basu | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

As 13 schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) across India are set to introduce a course on ‘geospatial practices’, a vocational elective for Std XI and XII from 2011, principals and teachers will be trained by an industry partner on ways to implement the programme, next month in Mumbai. The course will be expanded to other schools later.

Among the 13 schools, RN Podar School in Santa Cruz will be the first school in the city that will introduce this course which focuses on various components of geographic information system/geospatial information systems (GIS) and remote sensing.

“It is an emerging field and there is a lot of demand for candidates who are trained in GIS applications and technology today. It has a lot of relevance and so far no school has been providing education in this field. The subject is inter-disciplinary and covers various areas like geography, physics and mathematics, to name a few,” said Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar School.

“It is applicable in multiple areas like map-making, urban planning, resource management, land surveying and archaeology among others. Job opportunities are therefore many and will give students a variety to choose from.”

Rolta India will conduct a workshop in December to train the school teachers and principals from across the country who are offering this course, which will be formally launched in June 2011.

“The model being followed by CBSE for this course is unique. It is a public-private partnership as Rolta India has developed the curriculum and is also helping schools to implement it,” said Bir.

The workshop will orient teachers towards the course content and ways to approach it. Further, since Rolta India is giving some software to the schools, it will also train teachers on ways to use it.

Delay in nursery admissions leads to mixed response

Delay in nursery admissions leads to mixed response
Joyeeta Ghosh
Email Author

The decision of Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) to start the nursery admission process for the academic session 2011-12 from January 1, has been received with mixed response by both parents and school principals. Last year the admission process started from December 15 and
continued till March 31, the same deadline as this year’s.

The Union ministry of human resource and development, which had issued guidelines for admission regarding Right to Education (RTE) Act, said no school would be allowed to profile students based on their parents' education.

The ministry guidelines also allow schools to have categorization based on a "rationale and just basis" such as alumni and sibling.

However, within the categories, schools will not be allowed to conduct interviews of either students or parents; hence admission will be done entirely on a random basis, through draw of lots.

This had left both the parents and schools confused and they were eagerly waiting for some notification from the DoE to help clear the confusion.

"The delay in the admission process does not make any difference to us. We just need to collect the forms from schools and submit them. What is there to worry about? In any case schools have time till March 31 to complete the admission process," said Pallabi Biswal, who is seeking admission for her son.

Yet others like Sangeeta Das, who has to get her daughter admitted to nursery, sound worried.

"The delay in the process might mean that the government might delay releasing the guidelines further. It will only make the parents more anxious now," she said.

Principal of Laxman Public School Usha Ram, too, agreed, "The delay might just increased the anxiety levels of the parents who were waiting for the admission process to begin from December 15."

But others like Jyoti Bose, principal of Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan, said, "The admission process will continue till March 31, so what is the big hurry? The important thing is that the guidelines help bring clarity to the confusion that has been prevailing regarding RTE."

"Any sort of change takes time to get assimilated in the system, so even if the DoE is taking time in deciding the guidelines, one hopes that at
the end it helps smoothen the admission process," Bose added.

Roadblock army rips education veil

Roadblock army rips education veil
The Metro Channel rally by Left Front-backed teachers’ organisations and the choked JL Nehru Road on Monday afternoon. (Sanat Kr. Sinha)

Teachers who helped the Left Front choke the traffic at city centre on Monday cannot “think” of enrolling their children in state or state-aided schools since they know “first hand” how students are educated in these institutions.

“No one knows better than me the kind of facilities available at schools supported by the government. The infrastructure of a state-aided primary school and the policies followed there do not match the requirements of a modern-day student,” said Niraj Singh, who has been teaching at a state-funded Hindi-medium primary school in Kidderpore for 12 years, standing in Metro Channel while leader after leader hailed the Left Front’s success in education on the dais.

“Being a responsible father, I could not admit my two children to a school that lacks modern facilities,” Singh added.

Fellow rallyist Ashoke Naskar, a teacher in a stated-aided secondary school in Mudiali, echoed him. “Vernacular schools have failed to keep pace with the changes in the modern education system and lag far behind private English-medium schools,” said Naskar, whose wife too works in a state-aided Bengali-medium school. Their daughter studies in an English-medium school run by Christian missionaries.

Both Singh and Naskar are the CPM’s own. A commerce graduate of Ranchi University, Singh is a member of the CPM-controlled All Bengal Primary School Teachers’ Association, one of the most powerful Left lobbies of school teachers in the state. Naskar, a Calcutta University postgraduate in geography, is an active member of the CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers’ Association, the biggest lobby of secondary school teachers in Bengal.

The primary school teacher, active in the CPM association since 1999, does not hesitate to admit the Left Front’s “blunder” of abolishing English in primary classes in the early-1980s.

“From 2003, English is being taught in Class I. But several lakh students have suffered because of the faulty policy, especially young boys and girls from Hindi-speaking families like ours who had no option but to study in the state-aided Hindi-medium schools,” said Singh.

He “loves” Calcutta and has no plans to leave the city, though he “knows” his counterparts in Punjab, UP, Bihar and other states earn more than him. On the stage, a leader was saying how many times the salaries of teachers have gone up during the Left Front rule.

As the next speaker boasted about the number of women among the “4,000” teachers attending the rally, a woman professor spoke about other problems that did not find a voice on the dais.

Shahnaaz Nabi, the head of the Urdu department of Calcutta University and a member of the CPM-controlled West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association, said: “Nearly 95 per cent of the seats in the MA Urdu course of our university are taken by women which shows that women are no longer lagging behind men in higher education. But unfortunately, job opportunities for women have not increased. The government needs to look into this problem.”

State children protection scheme to focus on HIV+ ones

State children protection scheme to focus on HIV+ ones

Express News Service Tags : health, HIV AIDS Posted: Tue Nov 30 2010, 06:44 hrs Pune:

Deputy Commissioner, Child Development, Maharashtra, Harish Rathod on Monday said the focus of the proposed integrated children protection scheme will be on children living with HIV and those who had mental retardation.

Rathod interacted with several children and NGOs at a function organised ahead of World AIDS Day (December 1). The Network of People living with HIV in Maharashtra, Plan India, MAMTA, Delhi organised a get together on Monday where children from 15 districts participated.

Rathod agreed to look into issues raised by the NGOs regarding delay in implementation of welfare schemes due to paper work. Salim Shaikh from the NMP + raised the issue that most children did not have the necessary documents and it took years to prove that they were orphans. Suvarna Ghatge from the Network said lack of certificates often delayed granting of relief to orphans. The community members stressed the need for continuation of programmes that provide care and support services to children. According to a UNAIDS report, as many as 70,000 children below the age of 15 are living with HIV in India. As per the estimates of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), 33,000 newborns contract HIV every year from positive mothers. Of this, over 50 per cent die within two years of birth while 80 per cent die within five years. In Maharashtra under the CHAHA project, NGOs along with Global Fund are providing care support packages to 19,388 children. Out of this, 3268 Children are living with HIV.

Since July 2007, MAMTA, PLAN and NMP+ along with fifteen consortium partners are implementing the CHAHA project, a child-centered care & support programme for families and communities.

Panel says TN report card on RTE still poor

Panel says TN report card on RTE still poor
TNN, Nov 30, 2010, 04.47am IST

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu is already past the deadline for carrying out some of the more important provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, officials from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) have said.

"By this time, the state should have rolled out its rules under the Act. It should also have had the Right to Education Protection Authority or the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in place but that has not happened either," NCPCR chairperson Dr Shantha Sinha said at the concluding session of a two-day public hearing on violations of the RTE Act here on Monday.

The two bodies were to have been constituted by October, according to the Model Rules. Specifying that civil society organisations would have to be involved in drafting the state Rules, authorities added that they should contain provisions for disciplinary action for all officials found violating the Act.
With mapping of infrastructure and tracking out-of-school children in the state yet to be completed, NCPCR officials said the prospect of every child not being in school in the next academic year would be seen as "severe violation."

"There seems to be a lot of activity happening at the state level but not enough training or public awareness has been carried out for propagating the important provisions of the Act at the district and sub-district levels. The government must take the RTE as very serious business as there are some very time-bound issues in the Act. We hope the tempo and momentum around it will build up within a year," Dr Shantha Sinha said.

The cases heard indicated the lack of awareness at the school level. For instance, officials from St Philomina Government Aided Primary School in Tindivanam, were unaware that students cannot be detained until class 8 under the RTE Act. G Indhumathi (13) allegedly committed suicide on May 10 after she was told she was being issued a TC for poor performance.

Similarly, though the Act prohibits any form of physical or mental harassment, D Priyanka (12), a dalit, was forced to eat trash by a teacher on March 19, 2009. Issues of abysmal infrastructure were raised as well with schools functioning out of cowsheds, ration shops and marriage halls.

Appointing the school education department as the nodal agency for implementing the RTE Act, NCPCR officials said different wings of the local authority would have to work together to demonstrate how information could go "bottom-up, from each school to the department." Henri Tiphagne of People's Watch, appointed as one of the state monitors of NCPCR, will work with the department to furnish detailed reports of the follow-up to the cases represented to the Central body.

Read more: Panel says TN report card on RTE still poor - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Panel-says-TN-report-card-on-RTE-still-poor/articleshow/7012809.cms#ixzz16jDeJlZV

Elementary school in TN can be started by anyone

Elementary school in TN can be started by anyone
November 30th, 2010
DC Correspondent

Nov. 29: Anyone can start an elementary school in Tamil Nadu without a licence. There is no need to even inform the directorate of school education.

This startling fact was revealed by education department officials at the public hearing conducted in the city on Monday by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The commission members then said the Tamil Nadu government should amend the law to rectify this problem.

When the NCPCR jury asked Mr K. Devarajan, the director of elementary education department, whether a carpenter could run a school in Tamil Nadu, he nodded, and said: “Anyone can start a school from classes 1 to 6 without getting licence.”

He added that they need to apply for the licence when they need to give transfer certificate to the students.

The discussion was triggered by a complaint on Kalaivani matriculation school, a private school in Vedaranyam, which has no licence and changed its name after a controversy.

“When the school van fell into a pond and nine students and a teacher died in the mishap, the Kalaivani school management changed its name to ‘Best school’ and continues to run it,” said Mr Henry Triphange of the People’s Watch NGO. “But no action was taken since the school has no recognition.”

The NCPCR chairperson, Shantha Sinha, asked the education department to address the issue of the Vedaranyam school immediately and said private schools should be regulated.

Schools to get more toilets

Schools to get more toilets
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

To address the lack of sanitation facilities in girls’ schools, FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) has tied up with Sulabh International to provide toilets in schools. Launching the programme on Monday, FLO said it took up the initiative after surveys and government reports established the link
between girls dropping out of schools due to lack of proper sanitation facilities in government as well as private schools.

As part of the project, two schools in Bhiwandi and one in Dahanu will be provided with the toilet facilities. “We are inviting applications from schools and organisations working in the sanitation sector for setting up toilets for girls in schools,” said Bela Rajan, chairperson, FLO.

FLO will fund the project, while Sulabh International Social Service Organisation will provide the infrastructure and know-how for constructing these toilets.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan provides for construction of separate toilets for girls in schools. In most states including Maharashtra less than 50% schools and in some states less than 25% schools have separate toilets for girls, said Rajan. “Moreover, most of the schools which have toilets on paper, don’t actually have toilets functioning for various reasons,” she added.

The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2009, a survey of government and private schools in 583 districts in the country found that in 575 districts only 50% of government schools had toilets and that four out of 10 government schools did not have separate toilets for girls. Even where there were separate toilets for girls, as many as 12 to 15 % were locked and only 30 to 40% were “usable”, states the report.

Lack of toilets has health implications too. According to the Indian Association of Paediatrics (IAP), two to five per cent of schoolchildren, especially in pre-primary sections, suffer from urinary tract infection and chronic constipation primarily due to unclean toilets in schools, and the infections are more common in girl students compared to boys.

FLO plans to take this initiative to all the eight chapters of FLO in eight states in India. The funding for the pilot project will be raised by FLO through its relationships in the corporate sector, social celebrities and by building public support for the cause, said Sucheta Shah, senior vice chairperson.

Education Sector Holds Huge Promise

Education Sector Holds Huge Promise
By Dhaval Valia

It’s a no-brainer that the education sector in India will be the fastest growing sector over the next 10 years. The Centre’s ambitious Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan under the Rights to Education Bill, and an announcement by the HRD ministry that it is opening up the education sector to the foreign institutes is propelling the boom and IT demand.

Let us take a look at the investments plans announced. In the last Union budget, the Indian government allocated `31,036 crore for primary education alone. The allocation to the education sector has increased by 16 percent in the current fiscal. Apart from these, both the state governments and the Center have earmarked `50,000 crore to be invested directly or indirectly in UGCE and other similar schemes.

Ever since the Center relaxed the rules for foreign participation in the education sector, the government has received more than 300 applications from foreign institutions either for direct investment or for partnerships with Indian institutes.

Not to be left behind, India Inc is also making large investments in education. For instance, the Azim Premji Foundation has announced $1 billion in education. The Vedanta Group has earmarked `500 crore for education including setting up of 3,000 Anganwadis in the rural Orissa and West Bengal.

These investments coupled with technology at the core will revolutionize the entire education sector. Take the case of the Maharashtra State government, which is setting up biometric attendance systems at 33,000 government aided schools to address the issue of poor attendance and mismanagement of the mid-day meal scheme, at a cost of `102 crore.

The entry of foreign schools and universities will raise the technology bar among the private Indian educational institutes. Already, many schools, having collaboration with international institutes, are investing in advanced solutions such as digital classrooms. A few of them are investing in collaboration platforms to connect students across their own schools in the country and their international affiliates.

Most partners today are only leveraging the traditional IT opportunities in the education sector like providing PCs, IT infrastructure and services. While that pie will continue to grow, bigger opportunities may lie in providing emerging solutions; but this would require a focused approach on the education sector.

Are you ready?

Public hearing on corporal punishments

Public hearing on corporal punishments

Express News Service
First Published : 29 Nov 2010 03:38:40 AM IST
Last Updated : 29 Nov 2010 02:28:27 PM IST

CHENNAI: A public hearing held by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) here on Sunday saw complaints pouring in from various quarters on corporal punishment resulting in suicides.

At least 10 such cases were discussed on the first day of the meeting that focused on “Children’s right to education”. Police lethargy in pursuing such cases and “light” punishment — the maximum being a mere suspension of the offender by the school authorities — were also taken note of.

One of the case discussed at the hearing was the death of L Mariyal (15), who studied in Grade I at St Xavier Girls Higher Secondary School in Kodaikanal. She was allegedly beaten to death by two of her teachers. At the hearing, the panel termed the incident as “murder”.

Mariyal was roughed up using scale and even a long-sized notebook. The teachers dashed her head against a desk. She fainted and the teachers sprinkled water on her face. When she regained consciousness, she was assaulted again by the teachers until blood came out.

A similar case from Panchayat Middle School at Thottapattu village in Cuddalore also received attention.

Standard V student Abina (10) was asked by her teacher Santhi to read out from the books. When Abina failed to do so, the teacher made her sit in Standard I. Before that, she was beaten with a stick. When she joined Standard I students, they made fun of her.

A humiliated Abina later committed suicide by immolating herself. The school, however, claimed that Abina ended life due to stomach pain.

Acting on the case, NCPCR chairperson Dr Shantha Sinha ordered an enquiry without involving the school management in it.

Boys are also pushed to the brink by unruly teachers. Premdoss (14) from Dindigul district committed suicide after his class teacher and headmaster falsely implicated him for cheating. Another 14-year-old, Aaroosh of Kanyakumari, ended life by jumping in front of a speeding train.

He was beaten up for handing over a love letter from his friend to a girl.

Dr Shantha noted that the school authorities did not take steps to hospitalise the students or pay for their treatment in all the cases. The panel asked the Education Department to come up with a protocol for handling corporal punishment cases. The onus is on the school to lodge a police complaint against the teacher, she said.

Child Rights in Maoist Affected Districts

Child Rights in Maoist Affected Districts
17:34 IST
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, a statutory body set up for protection of child rights, received complaints about the rights of children being abused by way of children rendered orphan when the parents have been killed by Maoists, lack of education, health, nutrition entitlements as well as safety for children etc.

The Government of India in the Ministry of Women and Child Development has introduced in 2009-10, a comprehensive scheme namely, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) for children in difficult circumstances including children affected by civil commotion of armed conflict. The scheme provides services such as family based non-institutional care, open shelters, institutional services and emergency out-reach service.

In addition to above the Bal Bandhu Scheme has also been approved as a Pilot project for implementation in ten districts of five States, namely, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhatisgarh and Maharashtra with the aim to protect the rights of children in areas of civil unrest. The scheme will be implemented by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

This information was given by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State for Women and Child Development in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

RTE implementation in state improper: survey

RTE implementation in state improper: survey


A month-long campaign in the rural areas to raise awareness about the Right to Education (RTE) Act has revealed high drop-out rates and dilapidated educational infrastructure across several districts.

The activists have now charged the state government for not forming a commission to implement the Central law. They have said nine others states have already formed a commission, and even where consultations are being organised, it remains “secretive” and “unknown”.

On Sunday, activists of the Buniyadi Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (BAAG) and Child Rights and You (CRY) presented to journalists videos and documents they had shot and collected from 133 villages in six talukas.

A video shot in the Maldhari village of Fuvara Nesh, Ranavav taluka of Porbandar district, showed two children, Davo and Bachi who said they have been attending classes under a banyan tree for four years and drink water from a leaking industrial pipeline nearby when they feel thirsty. “The teacher doesn’t beat us because he doesn’t come,” said Bachi.

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In another video, a 10-year-old girl from the Kargo slum in Gandhidham in Kutch said she has been employed to cook food at the local anganwadi for seven months now, adding that she does not go to school.

The activists also presented reports showing Dalit students being asked to sit separately form the others during the mid-day meal scheme. They also presented journalists with the copies of the memoranda they had submitted to the taluka development officers in the areas they had visited. These memorandums contained the statistics of the children who are out of school in that area, complete with their name, age, gender and caste.

The activists said they have identified 4,083 children (1,962 girls and 2,121 boys) who had dropped out of primary school in the places they had visited.

Anuja Shah, assistant manager of CRY’s development support wing said local officials told them that there was actually no mechanism in the state to implement the RTE Act.

“We are not aware even if consultations are being done, but we know that an agency to implement the Act has not been formed yet. So right now, there is no way civil society can take the government to task on the RTE because it has not been implemented yet,” she said.

Under the RTE Act, a state Commission for Protection of Child Rights in each state is mandated to examine, review and recommend measures for the Act’s effective implementation in that state. According to the website of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have set-up state commissions.

The formation of the commission comes under the jurisdiction of the Women and Child Development Department, but department head Sunaina Tomar could not be contacted for comments.

R P Gupta, the state secretary for primary education, said he had written to the department about two months ago requesting the commission be set-up as his department required it to implement the RTE Act.

“I believe the Women and Child Development Department has taken some action in this regard, but I do not know exactly which stage they have reached or when the commission would be formed,” he said.

Neglecting teachers is depriving education policy

Neglecting teachers is depriving education policy
Posted by support on November 28, 2010 in Editorial | 0 Comment

Leader Writer : Sukham Nanda

It is said that state government has been paying priorities to the education sector which is one of the major component of human resource development that the state government is achieving major resources of own apart from other minimal resources that state government is enjoying.

Considering the importance of major contributions shared by the human resources to the state income state government is making efforts for maintaining quality education in the state by implementing various schemes and program funded by the central government and reflecting huge amount of annual plan funds to the education sector since last many years and on. On the other hand it is known by everyone that availability of fund alone could bring quick quality education in the state. There is need of maintaining congenial atmosphere, proper infrastructure, sincere and perfect educators and most importantly the obedient learners/students.

It has been very unfortunate for the state like Manipur where multiple of conflicts from different directions have directly or indirectly affected to the educational atmosphere, and even sometimes due to inefficiency of the state government in dealing time arising problems and failure of formulating the perfect state education policy had caused total paralyse of entire state education systems. The clear picture of failure of the state education policy could be seen while comparing to pass percentage between the Government schools and private run schools in the state in major examinations conducted both by the Board of Secondary Education Manipur and Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur under the state Education department every year.

On the other hand while we are talking about the quality education in the state, every parents and guardians prefer private schools for the studies of their children rather to the government schools, it was very shameful on the side of the state government for losing the faith and confidence by the people of the state.

The present cease work strike launched by the Council of Teachers’ Association (COTA) with their demand for the implementation of Sixth Central Revised pay in toto has started effecting seriously to the government schools started from elementary to higher secondary level at present. A sign of complete silence from the state government without responding any implication for stopping the present cease work strike is not in the interest of the student community even though the state government is talking of bringing quality education in the state.

It seen some injustice has done by the state government against the teachers community who are the sole responsible for bring quality education to the students of the state. Depriving the wisdoms of the teachers community can never serve the purpose of the what the state government is dreaming of maintaining quality education in the state.

It may be mentioned that, due to the prolonged cease work strike in the state spearheaded by the JAC of AMTUC and AMGEO the with demand of implementation of Sixth Central Revised pay the entire academic atmosphere of government schools specially remain paralysed for more than last many month and the matter was finally subsided with the signing of MOU on May 19 last with the state government for the implementation of Sixth Central Revised pay, but the failure of the state government in implementing the same for almost seven month shows the irresponsibleness and lack of transparency in the side of state government.

Obviously, it is very reasonable for alleging the state government as vias and only think for the persons who are at powers while considering to the recent event of taking the approval during the meeting of state cabinet that held on April, 1 last with the chaired by chief minister for the implementation of Sixth Central Revised pay in toto for ministers and MLAs which the COTA has termed as pick and choose policy that the state government had adopted.

It would be better not to give any promise for what cannot be fulfill this is the thing that the people of state have been learned from the state government at present, thus any sequence and consequences of the unfulfill promise aught to be borne by the government, considering these all facts future outcomes state government need to adopt perfect policy before implementing any welfare activities to avoid lapses in future, and the present cease strike of the COTA should be dealt seriously by the state government before it is too late with clear cut policy of the state so as to avoid reoccurrence of the same in the future.

Bengal rejects text watchdog plan

Bengal rejects text watchdog plan

New Delhi, Nov. 28: Bengal is among three states that have opposed a human resource development ministry proposal to set up a national watchdog to monitor school textbooks adopted by education boards.

The other two dissenting states are Gujarat and Orissa. Fourteen states and Union territories have supported the idea, though.

The ministry had sought the opinion of the states and the Union territories on the proposal to set up a National Textbook Council (NTC) that would monitor the quality of textbooks adopted by different school boards. The proposed council would see that textbooks do not carry undesirable content and are in sync with the secular values enshrined in the Constitution.

The proposal was mooted in 2005 by a committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education, an advisory council that has all state education ministers as its members.

The committee had stated that it had found “communal propaganda, gender and caste bias in textbooks” prescribed by certain state governments for non-CBSE affiliated schools.

In its response to the HRD ministry, the Bengal government said the proposal for the textbook watchdog was not convincing. It suggested the strengthening of the National Council of Educational Research and Training and the State Council of Educational Research and Training to take care of the additional responsibility of monitoring school textbooks.

The Gujarat government said the creation of such a panel was the prerogative of the state government. Setting up a national watchdog on textbooks was likely to be led by value judgement of a few people, it said.

The Orissa government’s reply was on similar lines. It said setting up the textbook council could lead to centralisation of authority on textbook development. This would prove detrimental to the fostering of creativity and promotion of local and culture-specific content.

Some states have suggested more state representation on the proposed council.

Assam, Goa, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshdweep and Puducherry have supported the proposal.

“We are yet to get the response of the remaining states. Once we get the feedback from all the states, the ministry will take a view on how the NTC should be set up and what would be its composition,” a ministry official said.

Former UGC chairman and educationist professor Yashpal said there was a need for such a regulator as there have been complaints against quality of textbooks adopted by “private schools” as well as government schools in certain states.

Private schools interact with parents for child?s seat

Private schools interact with parents for child?s seat
Sandeep Dua, TNN, Nov 27, 2010, 10.51pm IST

LUDHIANA: City schools have adopted a measure to interact and get introduced with the parents of candidates seeking admission, despite the Human Resource and Development ministry on Tuesday having issued guidelines against screening of children during admission under the Right to Education Act.

The ministry would initiate amendment in the screening provisions next year so that the admissions of next academic year did not suffer. But the private schools were taking it as blessing by holding screening tests under the garb of interactions with candidates and their guardians.

According to the HRD categories, schools would not conduct interviews either of students or parents. Admissions would be done entirely on a random basis through draw of lots. Schools were also directed to upload their objectives and categories onto the public domain and include these in prospectus. For instance, there could be rational categories for alumni and siblings.

Principal of BCM School in Shastri Nagar, Paramjit Kaur, said, "There is a difference between formal and informal schooling. As formal education starts from Class I, the child's age is around five years. We do not interview parents but interact with them. There can be rational categories for siblings but alumni cannot be considered. Preference is always given to children who live near the campus."

Principal of Sat Paul Mittal School, Bhupinder Gogia, said, "Admitting a child of above three years in kindergarten makes him ready for schooling by making him familiar to the school environment and system. We do not conduct any test for these students as there is no set curriculum for them. We always give preference to siblings."

She added, "The syllabus only helps to groom them. We hold interactions with the parents to know that how much time they would able to spend on their ward's personality development at home."

Sources said the categorization is limited to 75% of children while 25% is reserved for children belonging to economically weaker sections of the society. They would be admitted without any screening and on the basis of random selection through a draw of lots. Many of the city schools are not following these guidelines as they adopt other measures of generating revenue in the name of admission.

Read more: Private schools interact with parents for child?s seat - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/Private-schools-interact-with-parents-for-childs-seat/articleshow/7001934.cms#ixzz16dfqJhzn

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Govt in dilemma over winter schooling

Govt in dilemma over winter schooling
Lack Of Strategy, Infrastructure Major Impediments
Smaller Default Larger

Srinagar, Nov 27: While the state government is still in dilemma over the continuation of schooling during winters, the authorities on Friday said there was no “proper strategy” in place to implement the proposed move.
Sources said though the school education department had submitted Rs 6.44 crore proposal to the state government for making available heating and other related facilities in schools for more than 2.72 lakh students of 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th during winters, there has been no response from the government to the proposal.
“There is no concrete strategy in place to go ahead with the proposed move. The government has not issued any formal orders cancelling the winter vacation,” sources said. Usually the winter vacation in the Valley schools starts from December 15 every year.
The minister for School Education, Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed had last week said government would continue with the schooling for the students of secondary and higher secondary classes during winters. He said the move was aimed at “compensating” the losses suffered by the students due to the closure of the educational institutions for more than three months during the summer unrest in the Valley. The decision would have to be implemented by the private educational institutions too, said a top official of education department.
“In this regard the divisional commissioner’s office held a meeting with the authorities of private educational institutions earlier this month, and they welcomed the decision,” official sources said.
If the government decides to go ahead with the proposed move, sources said the department would have to provide heating facilities to more than 848 educational institutes including 290 Higher Secondary and 558 High Schools.
“After the government approval, the matter will go to the Division Level Purchase Committee which deals with the purchases. The department has given a tentative proposal for more than 5500 coal heaters besides some rough estimates for the hard coke and wood. At least we need one heater for every classroom and after proper assessment their numbers may go up,” sources said.
Asked how long would it take the department to arrange the facilities once it gets government nod, sources said obviously it would take between 20 to 25 days. “The procedure will not involve inviting tenders and the department can purchase the required facilities on the approved rates by the government on short term quotation basis,” sources said.
However, officials argue except for the heating arrangement, the required infrastructure and manpower was already in place in the institutes and there was no need to panic.
“Only 66 educational institutes-High Schools--are functioning in rented buildings but they too are well equipped with infrastructure,” officials asserted, adding the government would have to continue with the services of the contractual teachers for the winter season also in comparison to the normal period of nine months otherwise.
“No doubt there will be some challenges in implementing the decision but the move can go a long way in setting the things right for future,” the education department official said.

Sibal says let admission process be ‘random’, leaves parents guessing

Sibal says let admission process be ‘random’, leaves parents guessing

Parents across the Capital seem to be having their doubts about Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal’s proposal for a “random” selection process, through a draw of lots, to be followed for nursery admissions from academic session 2011-12.

Pratibha Singh, a parent, says: “What does ‘random’ mean? Does it mean through a lottery system? If I apply to schools in and around my neighbourhood and if they go by a draw of lots, there is an chance my child might not make it to any.”

Section 13 (1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, which was implemented this April, bans all schools from using any screening methods to select children at the time of admissions. In a bid to implement the RTE Act, Sibal proposed that schools should admit children on the basis of a random selection process that is “just and rational”.

In a meeting with all stakeholders on August 14, Sibal said the schools can formulate their own policy. However, the criteria for the categorisation of applicants should be “just”.

A parent wrote on www.admissionsnursery.com, “Does it mean schools can categorise according to their convenience, that is, management seats, alumni seats, sibling seats, etc? I am not sure there will be many seats left for the general public (in that case).”

The random selection process also bans interviews of either the child or his/her parents.

Usha Ram, principal of Laxman Public School, Hauz Khas, says, “My understanding of the new process is that there will be a lottery system. The applicants will be categorised first and then selections would be made on the basis of a draw of lots.” Till this year, the schools were following the admission criteria as formulated by the Ganguly Committee.

Ashok Agarwal, chairperson of NGO Social Jurist says, “If a child under the EWS category can be admitted on the criteria of distance and a draw of lots, the same can be applied to a child in the fee-paying category. Guidelines issued by the HRD Ministry leave the formulation of an admission policy to each school. The criteria may be arbitrary and unjust and might lead to the exploitation of parents and students.”

SSA to provide physiotherapy to disabled kids after their surgeries

SSA to provide physiotherapy to disabled kids after their surgeries

Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan in Punjab will now provide free physiotherapy sessions to students after they undergo surgery at the city hospitals to cure their disabilities.

Disclosing this Gursharan Singh, Ludhiana District Coordinator of Inclusive Education, Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Punjab, said, “This project of the SSA was started last year in June. Under this, three hospitals were selected to operate children suffering from multiple disabilities. The hospitals are Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital in Model Town, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH). Bharat Vikas Parshad, a non -governmental organisation, also helps in getting surgeries of polio-affected children done. The corrective surgeries of children suffering from cerebral palsy are done by Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital, while those of ortho impaired at CMCH and being arranged by Bharat Vikas Parishad and that too free of cost.”

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The disabled children from 6 years to 18 years are provided free medical treatment under this project. He further said, “By now as many as 982 surgeries of this kind have been conducted in Punjab. Out of these 87 children are from Ludhiana district alone.”

He said, “We provide free of cost physiotherapy to all the kids after surgery. But now the kids who come from far away places or for whom it is not easy to visit the hospital daily after surgery for physiotherapy can stay at CMCH for the same. The stay of a child along with one attendant is being paid by SSA. For this the CMCH has obliged us with very subsidized charges and it is SSA who is paying for this stay. This facility was started in September this year and by now 20 kids have taken benefit of the indoor patient physiotherapy.”

Telling about the future plans, Gursharan Singh said, “We are also going to provide improved and high standard light weight calipers of latest technique. to the children.

Till now we used to provide calipers assembled with the shoe itself. And the child has to wear the same show every time. But now the calipers will not be attached to the shoes, thus the child can change the shoe according to his or her desire. And these high technique calipers will be easily adjustable. These calipers will also be provide to the needy kids free of cost.”

Parents protest as school locks kids over fees

Parents protest as school locks kids over fees

Alok Deshpandee& Puja Pednekar, DNA, Updated: November 27, 2010 20:55 IST

Mumbai: The Khar Education Society's Mumba Devi Vidyamandir school faced the ire of politicians and child rights activists on Friday, after it continued to detain nearly 20 students in the school library despite a police complaint against it.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Friday issued a warning to the management of the school, saying the party would lock the teachers and trustees inside the school if the police failed to take action against them.

The school had confined the students for not paying the fees, which had been increased by Rs. 3,000.

Party activists and parents of the students gheraoed principal Rupa Patil, and held an agitation at Khar police station, demanding the arrest of the trustees and the principal.

Parents clarified that the school management had increased fees without talking to them.

"The school had not taken permission from the Directorate of Education to hike fees," said a parent.

Parents and activists demand strict action against the management. "Such behaviour violates the International Convention of Child Rights, which states children should not be mentally or physically abused," said Bombay high court Advocate Siddharth Murarka.

Three-day 'library arrest' for Khar school kids

Three-day 'library arrest' for Khar school kids

Puja Pednekar, DNA, Updated: November 26, 2010 15:49 IST

Mumbai: Some students of Khar Education Society's Shree Mumbadevi Vidya Mandir School were allegedly confined to the library for five hours three consecutive days, as their parents refused to follow the new school diktat and pay the entire year's fee in advance.

Around 20 parents filed a complaint at Khar police station on Thursday. "On Monday, students who have not yet paid the fees were made to sit in the library from the second period. There were nearly 60 students including those of Standard X. The Standard X students were allowed to return to class the next day, but the rest of us were forced to sit there for three days," said Saurav Baria, 12.

Sub-inspector Sanjay Surve, said, "Inquiry has started. We are taking the students' statements. At the end of the inquiry an FIR may be filed."

"I was not allowed to go out during lunch or even go to the toilet. They would not let us read library books. We just sat in library everyday doodling in our books. They also searched our bags one day to check if we had nicked any copy from the library. It was very embarrassing," alleged Ujala Gupta, studying in Standard IX.

The school had issued a circular in August stating that after an executive meeting with the PTA, the school has hiked fees from Rs15,000 to Rs. 23,000. However, parents claimed that the PTA was formed in September.

School trust's representatives were unavailable for comment. Principal Rupa Patil said, "It is between the parents and the management and only they will be in a position to take a stand."

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Child sexual abuse cases rising in the country

Child sexual abuse cases rising in the country

New Delhi, Nov 26 (PTI) More than 50 per cent of children in the country have faced sexual abuse with a steady rise in such offences being recorded since 2001.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, from 2,265 cases in 2001, the number has increased to 5,749 in 2008.

A study on Child Abuse: India 2007, conducted in 13 states by the Ministry of Women and Child Development shows that out of the 12,447 children interviewed, more than 53 per cent had faced one or more forms of sexual abuse.

Not only that, 50 per cent abusers were persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Replying to a written question, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said, the government proposes to bring in a new law to protect children against sexual offences of various types.

The draft Bill regards the best interests and well being of the child as of paramount importance at every stage of the judicial process, she said.

Mid-day meal scheme also addresses anaemia

Mid-day meal scheme also addresses anaemia
TNN, Nov 28, 2010, 04.39am IST

PUNE: Students studying in government schools in the state where the mid-day meal scheme is implemented are given capsules containing iron and folic acid ( Vitamin B9) to prevent anaemia.

The effort, which started in August, is part of the Shaaley Poshan Aahar Yojana or mid-day meal scheme as per the recommendations of the state health department and guidelines of the Government of India. "A laboratory appointed by the state supplies Foliron capsules which are given to the children," said M R Kadam, director of primary education. The capsules contain ferrous sulphate and folic acid.

The mid-day meal scheme was implemented by the Union Government in 1995 to bring underprivileged children to school. Initially, they were entitled to three kg free rice every month. In 2001, the Supreme Court decided that the students should be served cooked food in school.

As per the government guidelines, the meal must contain 450 calories and 12 gm protein for students from standard I to V, and 700 calories and 20 gm proteins for those in standards VI to VIII. The scheme reaches out to 42 lakh children across the state.

Omkar Bole, an official from the lab that supplies the capsules, told TOI, "Recent studies have indicated that 40 to 50 per cent of the Indian population is anaemic. Anaemia, among schoolchildren, leads to loss of concentration and fatigue. Iron is an important constituent of a growing child's nutritional requirements. While Khichdi' made from dal and rice provides protein and carbohydrates, it is not rich in iron. A paucity of iron in the bloodstream impacts the production of haemoglobin and hampers transport of oxygen to all parts of the body. This leads to fatigue, breathlessness, lack of energy, paleness, decreased appetite and irritability. Hence, the children need to undergo a 100-day course of these capsules every alternate day. These capsules employ the sustained release technique which does not cause acidity or an upset stomach."

Bole said, "School superintendents have been trained to spread awareness on the importance of iron and folic acid to school teachers. They in turn will educate the children on why the pink and white capsules are necessary for health and growth."

Shashikant Waidande, officer on special duty, human development centre, Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration, which is also associated with the mid-day meal scheme, said, "We have completed the training of district education superintendents of Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan, western Maharashtra and Khandesh in November to ensure successful implementation of the mid-day meal scheme. Various queries have been answered with professional help and they are now in a better position to ensure its success."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Law soon to protect kids against sexual offences

Law soon to protect kids against sexual offences
A Draft Bill for a new law to curb rising number of cases of sexual offence against children is at the stage of inter-ministerial consultation
Published on 11/26/2010 - 12:16:24 PM

New Delhi: The government has proposed to bring in a new law to curb rising number of cases of sexual offence against children and a Draft Bill is at the stage of inter-ministerial consultation, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said.

"The Draft Bill incorporates child friendly procedures for reporting, recording, investigating and trial of offences. It aims to protect the child's right to privacy, provides for designation of special courts for trial of offences and stringent punishment to provide adequate deterrence," she added.

The Minister quoted the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data to say that cases of sexual offences against children "are on the rise". From 2,256 cases in 2001, the number increased to 5,749 in 2008.

Further, a study by the Women and Child Development Ministry in 2007 showed that over 50 per cent of the 12,447 children interviewed faced some form of sexual abuse. And in most cases the offender was known to the child.

How effective is learning process?

EFirst Published : 27 Nov 2010 04:45:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 27 Nov 2010 10:52:45 AM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After the change in State curriculum that happened way back in 1996, the amendments in National Curriculum that followed later, the interventions made through DPEP, SSA and now the proposed RMSA, has learning processes in classrooms really changed in schools? Till date, there has been no reviews done, but ‘Haritha Vidyalayam’, the educational reality show that has been kicked off, might trace the answer.

The shooting of the first schedule, when it ended on Thursday, covered 39 schools out of the total 127. And each has been an eye-opener for jury members and schools alike. That government schools are where activity-based learning is happening more and that some of them deserve more than a pat on the back, have given new hopes to the General Education sector. On Thursday, eight schools were present at Shiva theatre, Killippalam, where the shooting took place.

While it was the technical know-how of the school and innovative projects in IT that it has undertaken which were highlighted by Nirmal HS Kabinigiri, Wayanad, green projects, including the well-tendered garden in the school, were showcased by GUPS Poozhikad. That students of Nirmal HS spend at least half-an-hour daily for tele-conferencing (either with other schools or experts) was well-received by the jury.

The jury had R V G Menon as the Chairman and Akbar Kakkatil, K R Meera and Piush Antony (UNICEF) as the jury members. There were two guest jury members too, who kept changing.

‘’In the last few days, we noticed that in schools where the UP classes are joined with the high school, much attention has not been given to lower classes. But UP schools are performing better. It has also brought to forefront the fact that teachers need to be reviewed and updated. For, where the students lag behind, we find it is not their fault but that of the teachers,’’ said R V G Menon.

What marks the main difference between Green Kerala Express, the social reality show that had set a trend by reviewing the performances of panchayats in the state, and Haritha Vidyalayam is the wide response it has among the young and adults alike. While teachers and parents are exposed to innovative projects happening in other schools, students are urged to do, think and participate in their learning process more.

‘’We call it a litmus test for the learning pattern followed in our schools now. What happens in classrooms after all these interventions made would be exposed by the show,’’ says Anvar Sadath, Executive Director of IT@School , which has been entrusted with the task of organising the show.

The schools were given ten applications, including technology skills, social mingling, activity-learning and other areas, of which they could choose three areas of strength. The schools were given one hour to showcase their activities. Jury members then asked questions based on the video clippings shown about the schools.

The show is being aired on ViCTERS channel and Doordarshan.


mount Collected as Education CESS

Amount Collected as Education CESS
17:35 IST

The amount of Secondary and Higher Education Cess collected during the last three years from direct and indirect taxes are as under :

Direct Taxes:

(Rs. in crore)

Amount collected




Indirect Taxes:

(Rs. in crore)

Amount collected




Since no Reserve Fund has been opened in the Public Account of India for the purpose of crediting the 1% Secondary & Higher Education Cess for expenditure towards related schemes/prgorammes, the expenditure provision for Department of School Education & Literacy and Department of Higher Education have been provided directly in their demands for Grants. Considering that the Budget Allocation (BE) for the schemes of Secondary and Higher Education has been consistently higher than the amount collected towards 1% Education Cess right from the levy of the cess with effect from 2007-08, the amount collected towards 1% Edcuation cess is deemed to have been fully allocated for expenditure in the above Demands. The Gross Budgetary Support for the Department of Higher Education was Rs.10859.37 crore in 2008-09, Rs.15433 crore in 2009-10 and Rs.16694 crore in 2010-11.

The Government has taken various initiatives such as establishing mechanisms for performance monitoring and performance evaluation in Government on a regular basis which also include strengthening public accountability of flagship programmes and evaluation of the impact of such programmes.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Finance, Shri S.S. Palanimanickam in written reply to a question raised in Lok Sabha today.

ICSE board shifts course

ICSE board shifts course

● ISC math and science syllabi in tune with national entrance tests

● Environment education to be abolished but chapters will be incorporated into other subjects

● Alterations to ICSE syllabi

● First batch under new system to write exams in 2013

The Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations has lined up sweeping changes to its syllabi that will impact over five lakh students in nearly 300 ICSE/ISC schools in Calcutta and the districts, starting with the Class of 2013.

The decision, which includes doing away with environment education as a subject, is in keeping with the Union human resource development ministry’s pitch for uniformity in curricula across school boards.

“The ICSE and ISC syllabi have undergone sweeping changes and we are ready to implement the revised syllabi from the 2011-12 academic session,” Gerry Arathoon, the additional secretary and officiating chief executive of the council, told Metro from Mumbai.

The Association of Heads of ICSE Schools put its seal on the proposed changes during a three-day meeting in Mumbai to discuss how to keep the council’s curricula relevant for 20 lakh-odd students studying in the 2,350-plus ICSE and ISC schools in the country and abroad.

Arathoon said the changes in the syllabi were in tune with the recommendations of the Council of Boards of Secondary Education. The draft of the revised syllabi will be sent to the heads of each of the schools next month, he added.

The physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and commerce syllabi at the ISC level have been overhauled to make it similar to the CBSE curriculum, according to an official.

This, he said, had fulfilled a long-standing demand of ISC students that their plus-two science syllabus should be on a par with the CBSE course, based on which national-level tests like IIT-JEE, Pre-Medical Test and the All India Engineering and Entrance Examinations are conducted.

“The move towards a common syllabus for science and math is a welcome step. The current syllabus puts ISC students at a disadvantage in competitive engineering and medical entrance tests. Now that the ISC science and math syllabus won’t be different from the CBSE one, it should be less difficult for ISC students to prepare for these exams,” said Ismail Nehal, a former math teacher of St James School.

The commerce syllabus is also being overhauled to create a level-playing field for students aspiring to pursue courses like chartered accountancy.

While environment education or EVE is being abolished as a compulsory subject, it will continue to be taught as individual chapters incorporated into other subjects.

Some of the major elective subjects taught in ICSE such as geography, commercial applications and home science will undergo changes, as will the overall evaluation system.

“All the changes are student-friendly. Those aspiring to do well in the national-level competitive tests will benefit the most,” said Sujoy Biswas, the principal of Rammohan Mission School and treasurer of the West Bengal chapter of the Association of Heads of ICSE Schools.

A new look at SFs occupying schools

A new look at SFs occupying schools
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 26 2010: With the Supreme Court of India, not at all amused with the numerous cases of child trafficking, on the pretext of providing them better educational facilities from the North East, including Manipur, the State Government is set to take a fresh look at security forces occupying school buildings, which have deprived a good number of children to their right to education.

According to an official source, after the security forces being deployed for counter insurgency operations and other purposes in Manipur started occupying the school buildings since 1998, children have not been able to go to their schools and study properly.

As the school buildings have been occupied, classes for the students are being conducted from private residences or community halls.

In such a situation, the fate of the students in Manipur is uncertain although the Government of India has recently announced the implementation of Right to Education Act to ensure education to every child.

The school buildings which are currently being occupied by security forces in Manipur include Karang Primary School (since 2006) and Saiton High School (since 2009) in Bishnupur district, Sajik Tampak Junior High School (since 2004) in Chandel district, Singat Government High School (since 1998), Songdoh Government Junior High School (since 2010) and Hengkot Aided JB School (since 2005) in Churachandpur district, Awangkhul LP School (since 2005), Charoi Chagotlong Junior High School (since 2005) and Lamdangmei Junior High School (since 2004) in Tamenglong district.

After the building of Charoi Chagotlong Junior High School, located near Noney in Tamenglong district, has been occupied by the security forces, the classes of the students are being conducted from a rented house.

Taking serious note of the matter, the School Education Department, Government of Manipur has written to the Director of Union Ministry of Human Resource Development highlighting the plights of the students after their school buildings have been occupied by security forces, the source disclosed.

It may be noted that following the incident of rescuing many young children, who have been taken from North East region including Manipur on false promise of providing better education, from orphanages in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court has directed the DoNER Ministry to look after the infrastructural requirments for education in the North Eastern States.

Schools repair cell not yet formed

Schools repair cell not yet formed
TNN, Nov 27, 2010, 05.35am IST

PANAJI: The state government is yet to appoint engineers for the civil cell to be formed at the Goa Education Development Corporation (GEDC). The formation of the cell was announced during the last assembly session in August this year to expedite work of civil repairs in government schools, because the public works department (PWD) was unable to complete the works over a period of several years.

But now, delay in appointment of staff for the civil cell is hindering the process of formation of the cell itself as result of which, works of school repairs are still held up. "We have sent a proposal to the state government for appointment of engineers, junior engineers, superintendent engineer etc. We are awaiting the state's approval after which we will advertise for the posts and fill them. This process is expected to be complete by December end and we can take up the works for school repairs by early next year," a GEDC official informed.

The state government is in the process of setting up a separate civil cell within the GEDC to complete the repair works of 237 government schools pending with the PWD, education officials informed.

Repair works to 138 schools under the Directorate of Education and 129 schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are pending with the PWD, which it has been unable to take up because of burden of works of other government departments pending with it as well, officials said.

The state government has already formed village education committees and empowered them to take up civil repair works like minor repairs of schools, compound walls etc costing upto Rs 50,000. Besides, 100 government schools have been handed over to the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation for part or full reconstruction.

Yet, repairs of another 237 schools remain to be carried out. Therefore, the education minister decided to set up a separate civil cell at GEDC to complete the works. The cell will take up all repairs and maintenance works upto Rs 5 lakh worth in case of government primary and high schools and government colleges even in the future.

Read more: Schools repair cell not yet formed - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Schools-repair-cell-not-yet-formed/articleshow/6997689.cms#ixzz16TFfEQBs

ASCI cracks down on education ads after self-regulation guidelines news

ASCI cracks down on education ads after self-regulation guidelines news
25 November 2010

Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) says it has upheld complaints against six advertisements by educational institutions in July and August.

ASCI, which had recently incorporated a set of self-regulatory guidelines for the education sector, said that of the 12 complaints received in July-August, six were against educational institutes.

''The growing awareness and increased complaints is a good sign for the self-regulated ad content guidelines of ASCI in India,'' the regulator said in a statement.

ASCI's Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against three advertisements of coaching institute Career Launcher as it's claims of "highest success rate", "number of students taking tests" and "most successful trainer in Mumbai" could not be substantiated and were asked to be withdrawn.

Another coaching institute, TIME Institute, was asked to withdraw ads as the institute could not substantiate its claim of "No1 institute for GMAT" at the time.

Similarly, Education Matters was asked to withdraw its claim of being associated with the British Deputy High Commission from its website since it could not be substantiated.

Besides educational institutes the regulator also upheld complaints against Colgate Sensitive toothpaste, Dabur Pudin Hara, MeriiBoy Ice Cream, Nirali Appliances and Raj Travel World.

Education development panels in rural and urban areas

Education development panels in rural and urban areas
Sandeep Dua, TNN, Nov 26, 2010, 09.33pm IST

LUDHIANA: Village Education Development Committee (VEDC) would be constituted in all rural and urban areas of the state. The aim would be to connect more people in the society with the working of education department to make them aware of the Union government schemes and their proper implementation. The community's involvement would strengthen the education level in every school.

Sarv Sikhya Abhiyaan would provide training to VEDC society members in every school. Training would be provided for one day each in December, January and February. The main work of VEDC society is to make people aware about the schemes that are provided by the education department under various projects in the districts.

The director general school education and SSA project director had written letters to the deputy commissioners that the community training for the session, 2010-11, should be conducted in every district. The DGSE also mentioned in the letter that all sub-divisional magistrates should be instructed to make this training mandatory for all panchayat members in the villages and municipal corporations of the city in their district. The DC should also appoint monitoring officers for the training process. Principals of schools that operate under local bodies and zila parishads were asked to cooperate for making this training a successful venture.

District education officer Harbhajan Ram said VEDC would play a strategic role in strengthening the education level of schools in the district. These interactions make the residents aware about the schemes and the education policies. They will motivate the poor to send their children to school, he added.

''I hope more and more people will participate in the training,'' he added.

Read more: Education development panels in rural and urban areas - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/Education-development-panels-in-rural-and-urban-areas/articleshow/6996704.cms#ixzz16RqXqBP6

We've gone by the book too long

Other Columns
We've gone by the book too long
Namita Bhandare, Hindustan Times
Pop quiz of the day: The purpose of education is to (a) get a good job (b) earn a degree (c) win the respect of peers and family (d) create wealth or (e) learn skills to lead a productive life. The good news is there is no wrong answer. An education
is indeed about gaining skills that will fetch a job/ income/ respect. Education is also about creating wealth, not just material wealth but wealth in terms of ideas, theories and creative solutions. And, of course, an education is nothing if it does not teach life skills and humane values.

As Indians we believe that education is the key to everything from jobs to happiness. Education is our chief aspirational goal where upgrade is a constant mantra, a series of stepping stones that must be gingerly navigated, from government to private schools, from Hindi to English medium, from polytechnics to degree colleges.

But Indian education is a multi-layered thing where we're constantly struggling to reconcile opposites – pushing up literacy rates while checking capitation fees in higher education; talking about the lack of toilets in girls' school (a big reason why girls drop out by secondary school) while glowing with pride at our world-class IITs, IIMs and National Law Schools.

Or to toss another set of opposites: only 12.4 per cent (or 13 million) of our 220 million high school children actually end up in college, a miserly comparison with 40 per cent in the developed world. Yet, Indian skills and and talent are prized all over the world; at last count there were 1,05,000 Indian students, the second largest international group after the Chinese, in various American universities.

For this privileged bunch, a foreign degree is more than a fashion statement. First, there is the practical constraint. It is often easier to get admitted to a good college in the US than it is to a top-notch one in India where cut-offs for in-demand subjects like Economics are as high as 96 per cent in the first list. If you are fortunate enough to afford it and unfortunate enough to not be among those 90 per cent plus scorers, you could settle for a second-rate college here or try your luck in the West.

There are other reasons. The Americans have understood that the basic essence of education is freedom. In which other university system can you major in international relations and dance? Which other system will let you design your own major if nothing available appeals to you? Which other system has everything on tap, from internships to study abroad; from core requirements in maths, science, arts to community outreach? Education is all encompassing, as it should be.

In India we remain crazily exam-centric. Learning equals memorisation. A vanilla BA requires little more than swotting from a kunji one month before the exams. I should know. That's how I graduated -- and I stood first in my college, third in Delhi University.

Other exams seem to be based on the principle of making it impossible to pass. A friend, recently back from pilot training in the US, sat for an exam on navigation, trying to figure out why he was being asked questions on yellow fever.

If education is to go beyond a piece of paper, India must produce indigenous institutions with imaginative curriculums. Our testing systems have to move beyond exams to continuous evaluation, as has been done for the 10th grade. Our admission criteria must be wider than cut-offs. Collaboration with foreign universities will meet some of the demand. But without homegrown institutions, whether public or private, we will continue to remain dependable feeders to foreign universities.

Worse, we will continue to create an artificial hierarchy where an elite force including CEOs and MPs (as many as 12 senior Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been educated abroad) will be those armed with degrees obtained outside of India.

Class distinctions in India are already deeply tattooed. Education should not be the new divider.

Namita Bhandare is a Delhi-based writer. The views expressed by the author are personal.

Schools in Mumbai mint money during nursery admissions

Schools in Mumbai mint money during nursery admissions
Published: Thursday, Nov 25, 2010, 2:28 IST
By Puja Pednekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Getting a toddler admitted to a nursery school in the city has become a parent’s worst nightmare. With admission forms costing as much as Rs5,000 and fees being higher, parents admit that the process is burning deep holes in their pockets.

While seeking admission for her three-year-old daughter in a reputed pre-school chain in Santa Cruz, Sonali Jain was surprised when a vendor close to the school handed her the contact number of a tout. “I have been told that if I pay Rs2.5 lakh, they will be able to ensure a seat,” she said.

“Considering how much the vendor knew - like my daughter’s age and the class we are seeking admission for - it seems that these touts and schools are hand in glove with each other.”

However, it is not just touts but play schools too that seem to be in the trade. “A few days ago, I got a message from my daughter’s playschool that if I pay it around Rs3 lakh, it will guarantee admission to a reputed school,” said another parent, Reena.

An authority from a school in Santa Cruz said, “It is surprising to hear about donations. Parents should inform the police and the school authorities if they are approached by such people.”

For the sake of their children, though, parents are willing to make huge donations. A reputed school in South Mumbai has only three seats left and is reportedly auctioning them off for as much as Rs15 lakh, said a parent.

Also, the schools are selling thousands of admission forms for a few seats for as much as Rs2,500 to Rs5,000. Ramanuj Gupta, father of a child, said, “One can imagine how much schools are earning by selling over 3,000 forms for 60-100 seats.”

Head of an international school in Goregaon said, “The amount charged on the form covers the application’s processing fee as also the cost of the time, resources and manpower that the school will put in going through the form. The cost of the form is high because we to receive applications only from those who are serious about admission.”

“Such practices are prevalent in pre-schools because there is no regulation controlling the early-education sector,” said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness.

Maharashtra education board skips deadline on right to education details

Maharashtra education board skips deadline on right to education details
Published: Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010, 11:38 IST
By Gitesh Shelke | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

All eight divisions of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education have failed to submit details that the state education department had sought regarding implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

The details included the number of students enrolled under the RTE and the students-to-teacher ratio in each school. The deadline for submission of details was September 30.

The state government issued a Government Resolution (GR) on June 18 this year after the Centre enforced the RTE Act in April. Under the Act, children aged 6 to 14 years were to be admitted to schools, including dropouts. The government had asked the state school education department to ensure that students can be enrolled at any time of the academic year.

The board’s divisional offices were supposed to prepare the first report by September 30. However, none of the eight divisions — Pune, Kolhapur, Latur, Nashik, Mumbai, Amravati, Nagpur and Aurangabad — have submitted the reports.

When contacted, state director of school education, MR Kadam, said in this regard, each division has been asked to take necessary action, which is a time-consuming exercise. “The divisions have been asked to expedite the entire procedure,” he said.

Kadam added that the school education department has framed model rules for implementing the provisions of the RTE Act.

According to some officials of the Pune division of the board, there is confusion as the government has not issued fresh instructions regarding the ratio. “According to the current norms, 75% teachers should be DEd holders and 25% BEd graduates. But the state government has not mentioned anything about graduates and post-graduate teachers. There could be schools having graduate and post-graduate teachers,” the official said.

The problem has been communicated to the state government, but there has been no reply so far, hence the report has not been submitted within the stipulated deadline. “It will take another two to three months for submission of the reports,” the officials said.

Bridging the education gulf

Bridging the education gulf
Major boosts in higher education enrollment and working-age population present an unprecedented opportunity. Can India take it?

In as much as an expanding knowledge base is crucial for a country’s economic growth, human resource development minister Kapil Sibal’s recent assertion—that India’s higher education sector will have 44 million enrolments by 2020—is a welcome sign.

India is slated to add around 120 million people to the working age segment in the same period, and education can, theoretically, make many of these people better workers, adding to their output and contributing towards economic growth.

Yet that is just one part of the story. Despite India being one of the largest higher education centres in the world— with almost 14 million students enrolled in more than 25,000 institutions—various studies have shown that size often doesn’t translate into employable quality.

The ensuing skill shortage and mismatch raise two problems: falling labour productivity and higher unemployment (the government currently pegs unemployment at close to 10%).

Added to these are the disruptive socio-political effects of a large but unemployed or non-gainfully employed body of people.

A causal point here is the nature of jobs created. In a speech earlier this year, Subir Gokarn, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, showed how agriculture continues to have the largest share of the workforce even though industry and services clearly boost average labour productivity by as much as five times, and yield higher earnings.

This has implications for India’s external position as well. Gokarn points out that increases in India’s working age population in the next 20 years will dwarf that of China, which will likely see a decrease of 62 million in the 2020-30 period. Japan, another powerhouse, is already undergoing this process of ageing: Its working age population is expected to fall to 52 million by 2050—similar to that at the end of World War II.

Consequently, as Chinese labour becomes more expensive and countries such as Japan become more reliant on foreign workers, there will be an opportunity for India to become what Gokarn calls the “factory to the world”. But given the current ramshackle state of the country’s higher education sector, and the slow transition of labour from agriculture to other sectors, there is a risk India will miss the bus.

How can India’s higher education sector be fixed? Tell us at views@livemint.com

Won’t make Std X exam optional: ICSE

Won’t make Std X exam optional: ICSE
Published: Thursday, Nov 25, 2010, 2:11 IST
By Yogita Rao | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Even as the ICSE schools in the country welcome the idea of having a common syllabus across boards, they are vehemently opposed to Union education minister Kapil Sibal’s suggestion of making Std X board exams optional.

On Wednesday, officials from the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) announced that ICSE schools won’t do away with Std X board exams. The council also announced that the curriculum for ICSE schools set for a major change from the coming academic year.

Gerry Arathoon, additional secretary and officiating chief executive and secretary of CISCE, said, “Std X boards allow students to experience a public exam before taking the Std XII exam, which is important for them in the professional sphere. Std XII board exams are the gateway to higher and university education, and need to be treated seriously.”

Arathoon added, “Leaving a student’s evaluation in the hands of his teachers is a crime. They should be given importance, but not the complete responsibility, as they have limitations. It is observed that though the CBSE board has made exams optional, a significantly large number of students still want to take them.”

Arathoon was interacting with the media at the 53rd
Annual Conference of Association of Schools for Indian School Certificate. The three-day conference, organised by Ryan International Group of Institutions at Powai, was inaugurated by the governor K Sankarnarayanan on Wednesday.

The council is, however, forthcoming about the curriculum changes proposed by the Centre. “We are doing away with environment education from Std IX to XII, and the content will be fused in other subjects. From the next academic year, the curriculum for both ICSE and ISC (Std XII equivalent) will change,” said Arathoon.

For ICSE, the curriculum will change for subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, commerce studies, geography, economics, economics applications, home sciences, etc. While in the ISC, subjects to undergo changes include physics, chemistry, biology, geography, sociology, economics, biotechnology and home science.

The council appeared gung-ho about a common curriculum across the country in maths, science and commerce in Std XI and XII. With the exclusion of environment education from the core subjects, ICSE students will also have six subjects to read.

“Though the changes will be introduced in the syllabus from 2011, the students will appear for the board exams for the new syllabus only in 2013,” added Arathoon.

The curriculum for students from Std I to VIII in ICSE schools is also set to change. “The inter-state board representatives are working on it. The curriculum for subjects read in the lower classes need to incorporate the local aspects as well,” said an official. The details of the changes in lower classes are, however, not known.

Speaking about the admission-related problems faced by students in Maharashtra, officials from the ICSE board claimed that they were not included in the decision-making process by the state.

Arathoon said, “We were never called for discussions on percentile or the best-five issues. The state government has never bothered to take our opinion on these important decisions.” He refused to talk about the best-five issue as the matter is subjudice.

Friday, November 26, 2010

All private schools will have to seek fresh recognition

All private schools will have to seek fresh recognition

All the 100-odd private schools in the city, irrespective of their current recognition status, will have to seek recognition afresh. Under the draft rules framed by the UT Administration for the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, all of these private schools will have to apply for a fresh recognition within 15 days of the rules being notified.

According to UT government officials, the rules are likely to be notified in a month. Further, private schools that apply for recognition but do not fulfill the stipulated norms will attract a fine of Rs 1 lakh for the first violation and a Rs 10,000 fine for each subsequent day.

A standard proforma is being drafted for the schools on the basis of which they have to apply for recognition. This comprehensive self-certification proforma would include all academic as well as administrative aspects of the school.

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The schools have to reveal the number of teachers, their salary structure, qualification, fire safety norms, building by-laws and students admitted under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) reservations norm for fresh recognition.

“Not only would schools be required to apply for fresh recognition, for the first time schools violating the norms would be penalised. At present, their recognition is withdrawn but with the notification of this rule, after applying for fresh recognition, they would be imposed with fine of Rs 1 lakh for the first violation and Rs 10,000 for each day for further violations,” revealed Secretary (Education) Ram Niwas.

According to senior UT Education Department officials, this move is being considering with the aim of ending the ongoing tussle between UT Administration and private schools on the question of recognition. Schools whose recognition was recently cancelled had been charging the administration with following a pick-and-choose policy.

The implementation of this new rule would be effective irrespective of the academic session. “The stipulated time period for application has been fixed at 15 days, though sufficient time would be given to the schools to rectify their violations,” the Secretary added.

With the notification of this rule, those schools whose cases have been under process since 2005 have to apply for fresh recognition. According to the records maintained by the UT Education Department, the recognition of more than 42 per cent private schools are still pending.

Out of these, while some cases have been under process for more than five years, there are many which have not yet applied for extension of recognition.

Despite the Administration giving schools the option of being granted recognition by complying with the norm of 15 per cent reservation for EWS, the number of schools without recognition has remained almost the same.

Minister stresses kids’ right to education

Minister stresses kids’ right to education

Kohima, Nov. 24: Nagaland minister for school education Nyeiwang Konyak graced the inauguration of a training programme on community mobilisation and the launch of a documentation project on good practices of community towards elementary education in Nagaland at the zonal council hall today.

Speaking at the inaugural function, the minister said through legislation like the Nagaland Communitisation of Public Institutions and Services Act, 2002, and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Constitution ensures free and compulsory education for children upto 14 years.

“Universal elementary education has been a salient feature of our national policy since Independence and this resolve has been spelt out emphatically in the National Policy of Education 1986, and the subsequent modifications in 1992,” Konyak said.

He said keeping in mind the importance of building human resources for a better future, the government, through communitisation, strives to involve the community in the management of academic, administration and financial affairs of all government schools in Nagaland.

Dwelling on the compulsory education act, he said schools should have management committees with 50 per cent women members and 75 per cent of the remaining members should be parents, with proportionate representation from parents of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections of society.

The act, which ensures free and compulsory education to children in the age group of six to 14 years, states that no student can be denied admission or expelled from school, no capitation free can be charged or screening tests be held for admission, no detention can be enforced before completion of elementary school and no child can be subjected to physical or mental harassment, among others.

On the role of management committees and local authorities, he said the committees should ensure free and compulsory education to eve-ry child by ensuring availability of neighbourhood schools.

Earlier, delivering the keynote address, commissioner and secretary, school education, Mhathung Kithan, urged the officials to be sincere in their duties.

The director of state council of educational research and training, Vipralhou, said 90 per cent of the funds required for implementation of the compulsory education act is provided by the Centre while the state government has to contribute 10 per cent.