Sunday, May 29, 2011

HRD initiates move to extend RTE till the secondary level

HRD initiates move to extend RTE till the secondary level
Akshaya Mukul, TNN | May 29, 2011, 06.34am IST

NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry has taken the first step towards extending the Right to Education till the secondary level by making it part of the agenda of next month's meeting of state education ministers and the Central Advisory Board of Education.

Sources say the idea of extending RTE is at the stage of infancy but the ministry is keen that the process should begin at right earnest so that it becomes a reality in the next few years. It is likely that this could become UPA-II's big promise before the next elections.

"The process of RTE till upper primary began in 1999. First the Constitution was amended making education a fundamental right. But it could be put in operation only in 2010. It's a long-drawn affair. Work on extension of RTE should also begin," a source said.

It is expected that CABE – the oldest advisory body on education -- and the state education ministers will set up an expert committee to look at various aspects – finance, infrastructure and legal requirement -- for extension of RTE. Already, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, promising free education at the secondary level, is in place. RMSA would become the vehicle for extending RTE till the secondary level. In many European countries, especially those in Scandinavi, the state guarantees 10 years of free school education.

The first requirement for extending RTE till the secondary level would be amending the Constitution. Article 21A – inserted in the Constitution as a fundamental right – guarantees free and compulsory education to children in the age-group of six to 14. The extension would need amendment in the age-group of children who are being guaranteed the right to free and compulsory education. The government would also need to either amend the existing RTE Act or come up with a separate enabling legislation for extension of RTE to the secondary level.

In addition, the government would also have to extend the Mid-Day Meal scheme till the secondary stage. A sub-group of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council has already suggested that free food be given to children till class X.

The second, most important, requirement would be of finance. It took the full term of UPA-I to commit Rs 2.31 lakh crore for Right to Education. For more than three years a group of ministers in UPA-I debated how to organize resources to make it a success. Extension of RTE would require less financial resources since it would involve about two more years of schooling. "But the investment requirement would be different. Unlike primary and upper-primary, more subject teachers would be needed. There would be need for laboratory, and better library facilities," said one official. He said extension would not mean opening of more schools but adding more classes in the existing ones. The official also pointed out that many state governments are giving tangibles like uniform and textbooks free to students in secondary classes.

Admission in alumni category is not a right: HC

Admission in alumni category is not a right: HC
Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times

In a significant ruling, the Delhi high court said that parents cannot claim nursery admission for their child in the alumni category as a matter of right and it is the discretion of the school. The court said this while dismissing a petition filed by a toddler who challenged the school’s denial of admission for session 2011-2012 despite his father being alumni of the school. He had tried in the same school last academic year also.

“To expect that the children of every alumnus would get admission in the school is a far fetched proposition and the petitioner cannot be allowed to seek relief alleging the whole process to be arbitrary and not in consonance with the guidelines,” said justice Kailash Gambhir.

Noting that fixing the quota was the discretion of the schools, the judge said, “It is true that the petitioner applied for two consecutive sessions in the alumni category hoping to get admission in the same school as his father studied. It is understandable that the parents want their children to get the same quality education and value system, besides the emotional attachment that they have with their alma mater.”

The boy’s father accused Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School, where his son sought admission for pre-school class, of not holding draw of lots in accordance with rules framed by the directorate of education. Alleging there was no transparency, he said it was not conducted in the presence of parents and all members of admission committee.

But after perusing the evidence on record, justice Gambhir said it is difficult to accede to the contention that the school did not undertake the process of draw of lots in a transparent and fair manner.

“The right to education is undoubtedly a fundamental right of every citizen of the country today and no authority can deprive any child of the same, but at the same time it cannot also be used as a weapon to allege arbitrariness on the part of the school or other authorities,” said the court.

Go slow and steady on RTE, say experts

Go slow and steady on RTE, say experts
TNN | May 29, 2011, 04.30am IST
Read more:Vasanthi Devi|RMK Group|Right To Education Act
CHENNAI: The Right to Education Act should be implemented not in haste, but after due consideration of ground realities, in a time-bound manner, felt experts at a seminar in the city on Saturday.

Delivering the keynote address at the seminar organised by The Madras Chamber of Commerce & Industry, RMK Group of Schools senior principal C Satish called for a clear timeline for the implementation of the legislation. Hasty moves would create confusion among school authorities and put pressure on students, he said.

Under the Act, a national curriculum has to be be formed. "At present, there are 42 state boards and two national boards. Will there be any uniformity in arriving at a common national curriculum?" said Satish. "There is need for more clarity on it as traditionally, we follow an educational system that emphasises compulsory education between six and 14 years of age. Whereas the Act emphasis compulsory education from the age of eight."

Arguing against rule that no child should be detained in the same class till eighth standard, Satish suggested that there was a need to have some sort of accreditation test to assess the minimum education knowledge of the students because it also involves quality of education provided to them. "According to a report, to execute RTE Act, there is a need to appoint at least 14 lakh teachers across the country. In many states including Tamil Nadu, some schools are run by two teachers taking several subjects. Besides, teaching has not been an attractive profession, how could the vacancies be filled?" he said.

Blaming the existing education system in the country as "exclusionary", "class based", former chairperson of Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission Vasanthi Devi advocated setting up of a public school system where children of all income groups are allowed to share space and ideas. "We should implement certain provisions of the Kothari committee report that emphasised on the need for common public school system. People in the government should take the initiative of sending their wards to public schools. The fund allocation for education should be increased to 4% of GDP, as recommended by the Kothari committee, she said.

Don’t use RTE to attack schools, HC tells parents

Don’t use RTE to attack schools, HC tells parents

The Delhi High Court has issued a word of caution to all parents against using the Right To Education (RTE) Act as a tool to attack city schools, alleging discrimination or malice, if they could not provide admission to their children.

“The RTE Act is undoubtedly a fundamental right of every citizen and no authority can deprive any child of the same. But it cannot also be used as a weapon to allege capriciousness or arbitrariness on the part of the school or other authorities,” said Justice Kailash Gambhir.

The court, while dismissing a petition of a man who had sought admission for his child in a school where he had studied, noted that though people have an emotional attachment with their alma mater and schools also have a moral responsibility for the children of their old students, it was not a legitimate expectation to hope that a school could accommodate all such students.

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“It is understandable that the parents want their children to get the same quality education they got, besides the emotional attachment that they have with their alma mater. But to expect that the children of every alumni would get admission in the school is a far-fetched proposition and the petitioner cannot be allowed to seek relief,” said the judge.

The child’s father had studied at Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School and sought admission for his child in nursery for the academic year 2011-2012 in the same school. Challenging the school’s decision to refuse admission to his child, he contended that the draw of lots for selection was not transparent. But Justice Gambhir found substance in the school’s arguments and dismissed the petition.

Government not against USE: Shanmugam

Government not against USE: Shanmugam
indianexpress Express News Service , The New Indian Express
Updated May 28, 2011 at 08:03am IST

CHENNAI: School Education Minister C Ve Shanmugam on Thursday reiterated that the AIADMK government was not against implementing the uniform school education (USE) system and that the system would be introduced soon after getting recommendations from an experts committee on improving the quality of education.
The minister conveyed this to a delegation of CPM leaders led by its legislative party leader A Soundararajan, which met him at the Secretariat.
The delegation comprising representatives of DYFI, submitted a representation to the minister explaining the apprehensions of the public, particularly the parents, students and educationists, on the AIADMK government’s announcement on USE.
They urged him to set a deadline for the implementation of USE and take steps to put an end to the collection of exorbitant fees by the schools.
Meanwhile, CPI State secretary D Pandian, in a statement here, said the Tamil Nadu government should say upfront whether or not it accepts USE in principle.
The government should explain to the students and parents the reason for postponing its implementation, he said.
However, All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi leader R Sarathkumar welcomed the decision to postpone uniform school education.
While upgrading its quality, the State government should take into account the rural-urban divide on many issues relating to education, he said.

Sibal’s education reform bills hanging fire

Sibal’s education reform bills hanging fire

U Anand Kumar

NEW DELHI: When the battered UPA-II Government decided to go for an image overhaul a few weeks ago, Kapil Sibal was chosen to be part of the high-profile Group of Ministers (GoM) who could present the Government’s positives-its achievements-before the media and the doubting world at large.

Seen to be more savvy than most of the other ministers of the UPA-II stable, Sibal is now regularly taking up the cudgels on the Government’s behalf. But a look at his own backyard-the HRD Ministry-yields rather patchy results.

For one, Sibal’s much-touted education reform agenda has been more or less still-born. It has certainly not moved at a pace that could earn him brownie points on a performance report card that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh likes his ministers to maintain.

After taking over the HRD Ministry in 2009, Sibal was quick to evolve a blue print for educational reforms, particularly in the higher education sector.

But not much has moved from the drawing board of the HRD Ministry to the drawing rooms of citizens-where the impact of the government’s policy changes and intentions can, actually, be felt.

The ‘high-profile, path-breaking’ education Bills are caught in various cold storages of the system. The Right to Education bill in Parliament, for instance, was successfully piloted by Sibal, but a subsequent amendment extending the same rights to disabled children is yet to get Parliament nod.

As for the other major education Bills, at least six of them are in a limbo. Sibal has been unable get the Bills cross the parliament barrier and become Acts, sometimes thanks to the Opposition from his Congress party MPs, like in case of the Education Tribunal Bill.

This has been going on for two years, no less. The crucial reform that would allow setting up of two-tier educational tribunals for fast-tracking cases of disputes in higher education sector faced a major setback in Rajya Sabha.

Congress MPs, led by Congress MP K Keshav Rao, ambushed the Bill. A red-faced Sibal had to step back.

Forget about winning over the Opposition support, Sibal rubbed his own party the wrong way by not keeping the top-brass in the loop. The recommendations of the Parliamentary standing committee, headed by Oscar Fernandes, known for his proximity to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, was rejected by the Government at Sibal’s behest.

That apart, no less than four key education reforms Bills were introduced in Parliament in a jiffy-on a single day on May 3, 2010. As expected, the Bill are all hanging fire, stuck in the Standing Committee which have been processing them ever since.

These Bill are: the Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010, Educational Tribunals Bill, National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutional Bill and Prohibition of unfair practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions, and University Bill.

In hurry to push through his reform agenda, Sibal failed to convince Parliament to give early approval of these Bills. One of them got Lok Sabha nod, but in the got stalled in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling coalition does have enough muscle to push through the Bills on which there is no political consensus.

The Tribunal Bill, thus, got the go-ahead from Lok Sabha, but was deferred in Rajya Sabha. Now the standing committee has made it clear that it would not consider another Bill meant to check educational malpractices till the Tribunals Bill by the Upper House.

Sibal also has miffed the politicos no end. This was evident when he had to reverse his decision on canceling MP-quota in Kendriya Vidyalayas. After angry Congress MPs landed at Sonia Gandhi’s doorstep and Sibal had restored the quota.

A sulking Sibal later abolished the HRD Ministry quota, clearly to make a point (which the political class did not bother to take note of.)

Another of his ambitious plan-a National Commission for Higher Education and Research-is yet to see daylight. The Union Cabinet approval has been delayed owing to the cold war between the Health and HRD Ministries.

Sibal wanted to bring medical eduction sector under the overarching sway of the NCHER. The Health Ministry, obviously, did not want Sibal on its turf. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to intervene to get the warring ministers call truce. His attempt to get into legal education system was also similarly thwarted. But his legal background helped him get the Law Minister Veerappa Moily’s objections overruled.

CCE, a dilemma for CBSE schools

CCE, a dilemma for CBSE schools
indianexpress Express News Service , The New Indian Express
Posted on May 26, 2011 at 11:50pm IST

KOCHI: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has introduced the newly evolved Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation system with much fanfare across the country but the schools in Kerala are yet to rate the system after collecting inputs from students and teachers. �

The first batch of students under the CCE has appeared for their Class X exams this year but it looks like the community is still in two minds about the system.

As the debate continues on the pluses and minuses of the CCE, Express talks to the people concerned to evince their opinion.

"CCE is good but doing away with the public exam will affect the motivation levels of students. Some students will work hard only if there is an exam. In order to bring out the real capacity of all the students, it is better to have the public exam," says CBSE School Managements Association president T P M Ibrahim Khan. But Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vaduthala, principal, Maya Mohan, has a different view.

"In the CCE system there are more exams," she says. "But now it is not just academic. Different aspects of the child's performance are assessed by grades, remarks and so on. This will help to enhance the child's


The CCE had faced criticism from various quarters as it was seen to be giving a free hand to schools and teachers. "Some teachers do not look at the content of the projects but just at the size and the presentation," says Jubin, a student who went through the system this year.� "In India, even the government-approved student-teacher ratio is 35:1, which is too high for teachers to objectively evaluate each student. Teachers will have to put almost twice their time and effort to effectively implement the system," says Ibrahim Khan.

However, a cross section of teachers has welcomed it. "Now the satisfaction is more," says Vinitha Mendez, head of English Department, Sacred Hearts Public School. "Students are much more active. The different outdoor and indoor activities make students more interested in the curriculum," she said.

Delhi govt to appoint 9,000 teachers, set up 12 schools

Delhi govt to appoint 9,000 teachers, set up 12 schools

Delhi government has decided to on the 9,000 appointment of teachers and set up 12 new schools across the city to enhance educational facilities for effective implementation of the Right to Education Act.

The government has also identified 10 more sites for setting up of new schools besides deciding to enhance existing infrastructure in over 50 schools.

Additional Education Director Sunita Shukla said that to augment educational infrastructure the department has constructed 529 new rooms in existing schools in 2010-11 for proper implementation of the RTE Act. The Act makes it mandatory for government to provide free education till class VIII.

"We have decided to set up 12 new schools and sites for another 10 schools have been identified," she told reporters here.

The government has already enhanced infrastucture in 127 schools as part of a project called Roopantar.

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"At present, 14 lakh students are studying in Delhi government schools and government has decided to further enhance the infrastructure to ensure effective implementation of RTE Act," Shukla said.

On appointment of teachers, she said the cabinet has approved the proposal for creation of the new posts and process of appointment will commence soon. Currently, around 6,000 posts of teachers are lying vacant in Delhi government schools.

But against the vacancies, government had appointed around 3,000 teachers on contractual basis.

To expand the infrastructure to meet the growing needs, an outlay of Rs 270 crore was proposed for the construction of new school buildings in 2011-12. A total of Rs 1,247 crore was earmarked for education in the budget.

Delhi government has also decided to provide enhanced financial allocation to all aided schools to help them expand infrastructure and implement provisions of the Right to Education Act.

In a bid to set up more schools, the government had earlier this month approved a policy for allotment of Nazul land by Delhi Development Authority to private sector for setting up new educational institutions.

The new policy will do away with the "obstacles" and facilitate allotment of land by DDA to the government as well as private sector for setting up more schools.

Every year, private schools struggle to meet the admission demand of thousands of children.

The policy will now be forwarded to the Union Ministry of Urban Development and the Ministry of HRD for approval.

Teacher crisis hits Garhwa high schools

Teacher crisis hits Garhwa high schools
May 25, 2011, 11.23pm IST

GARHWA: The fate of 25,000 students hangs in the balance here because of a poor student-teacher ratio in high schools here which has crippled classroom teaching.

District education officer (DEO) Uday Narayan Sharma admitted there was an acute shortage of teachers in the high schools of the district.

"There are 19 high schools in Garhwa where more than 25,000 students study. But, there are only 97 teachers against the total sanctioned posts of 222. The remaining posts are lying vacant even after 11 years after the formation of the district," said Sharma.

The academic atmosphere of the schools can well be gauged by this poor ratio of teachers and students. Many meritorious students are suffering in silence. Most subjects lack teachers but science and arithmetic are two subjects which are suffering the most because there are only 11 teachers for these subjects while the sanctioned posts are 29.

Chemistry and zoology are taught by five teachers when there should have been 23. There are only 11 teachers for Hindi against a sanctioned strength of 23, 11 in English against 22, 10 in Sanskrit against 21, five in civics against 17, four in economics against 15, three in physical education against 15 and nine in Urdu against 15.

The high schools which are running intermediate classes are also plagued by lack of competent teachers. These schools are being run only by one or two para-teachers.

"Subject-wise teachers will soon be deputed," said Sharma.

Are you producing teachers or rowdy elements: Supreme Court to Haryana

Are you producing teachers or rowdy elements: Supreme Court to Haryana
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 20:42 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Taking strong exception to their unruly behaviour, the Supreme Court today wondered whether teachers' training institutes in Haryana are producing "thugs, wrestlers and rowdy elements" to intimidate the authorities against conducting inspections of their colleges.

"Are you producing wrestlers, boxers or musclemen and thugs or teachers"? a vacation bench comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice CK Prasad asked the counsel representing some of the colleges.

The bench made the remarks while expressing anguish over an incident in which a mob of about 100 persons, including students, had barged into the NCTE chairman's office in New Delhi and created a ruckus to oppose inspection of their premises.

The apex court noted the mob had barged into the room of the NCTE chairperson and thumped the table and made wild gestures against him in June 2009, which was unbecoming of future teachers who were expected to guide the society.

"What kind of teachers’ training you are providing"? the bench said adding "such colleges were not only money-spinners but were also training rowdy elements."

Counsel Raj K Ruhil and Vivek Malik, appearing for two of the colleges, however, contended students of their institutes were not part of the unruly crowd.

But the argument failed to convince the bench which remarked "how do we know that they were not part of it? Or, how does the Chairperson know for that matter"? the Bench said.

The judges also wondered as to what sort of education the teachers passing out of such colleges would provide.

Two of the colleges--Rao Udmi Ram College of Education and BMP College of Education--have moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court’s April 20, 2011, judgement against them.

The high court had dismissed their appeal against de-recognition of their D.Ed course by the Northern Regional Council (NRC), Jaipur, of the NCTE.

The apex court, however, issued a notice to the NCTE and the NRC but rejected their plea for a stay of the June 21, 2009 order of the NRC for inspection.

According to the colleges, the regional committee chose to inspect their premises despite the fact that the central committee had already conducted an inspection and given them a clean chit.

It was argued that the regional committees have no power to conduct inspections after the Central Committee had given the nod.

The Delhi high court had, however, rejected the arguments of the colleges and held the regional committees were empowered to conduct further inspection.

Elitist navel gazing

Elitist navel gazing

May 28, 2011
By Antara Dev Sen

The damage control has begun. Three days after the minister of state for environment and Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) alumnus, Mr Jairam Ramesh, said that IITs and IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) were not world-class institutions because their faculty and quality of research were not good enough, the government has protested. Yes, the IITs are world class, says Mr Kapil Sibal, Union minister for human resources development. Well, er, at least 25 per cent of the faculty is, anyway, since they are IIT alumni and Mr Ramesh says that the students are world class. And if their research work was not top international quality, it is because of the “ecosystem” — where the US spends $250 billion on research, India spends merely $8 billion.

So while Mr Sibal declares that IITs are world class, his logic implies the reverse. Sure, we understand the constraints of the “ecosystem”. Though we may not accept that a quarter of their faculty is world class because they were once world-class students (which has no direct bearing on their quality as teachers). But what could the government do when the image of their top educational brand is trashed? The nation is paying an education cess, remember?

This muddled, half-hearted, sarkari response characterises the attitude of the government in education. There are two issues here: the quality of our centres of excellence and the quality of education in India. First, the obvious. Are the IITs, apparently the crowning glory of our education system, world class? Depends. These are certainly excellent institutes. As Mr Ramesh said, they have some of our best students. And contrary to what he said, they do produce some remarkable research. But if the faculty is not “world class” it is because no one can fly high if tied to the apron strings of a stern yet callous government. Unless IITs — and other government-funded institutions — have the freedom to hire and fire teachers at their discretion and at better salaries, and the liberty to operate as they see fit, the best minds will escape to greener, freer pastures. Institutions may need regulation, but not crushing control. Also, the government has launched new IITs without hiring faculty, further pressuring existing IIT teachers.

Besides, no government-linked institution in today’s India is truly world class, is it? Except for our institutionalised corruption, of course. According to Transparency International, India has an integrity score of 3.3, which makes it one of the most corrupt nations of the world. Happiness!
A close second would be our institutionalised callousness. Take our home ministry dealing with top terror suspects from Pakistan — not exactly a low priority field. The error attacks in our attempts at cornering Pakistan with hard evidence are almost as terrifying as the terror attacks themselves. First we sent the wrong DNA sample, claiming it to be Ajmal Kasab’s. “A minor clerical error”, shrugged home minister P. Chidambaram. Then it transpired that two men on India’s list of most wanted terrorists allegedly hiding in Pakistan were in India — one in jail and the other out on bail. “An oversight”, said the minister. “A genuine human error.” Meanwhile, our investigative institution of excellence, the Central Bureau of Investigation, had reached Copenhagen to extradite Kim Davy, prime accused in the Purulia arms drop, with an expired warrant. Naturally, the Danish court refused. Yes, we are world toppers in institutional callousness.

Anyway, returning to the IIT issue, it’s possible that the students make these institutes centres of excellence. Among 1.21 billion citizens, millions may be born with world-class intellect — then put into a system that meticulously constrains, limits, erodes and smothers talent and imagination. Naturally IIT students are brilliant — that’s why they are selected. And they have had less exposure to the harsh Indian social, political and cultural environment. The poor teachers have been dented, blunted, clipped and chipped by the system.

This smothering of natural capabilities begins even before birth. We are killing more daughters than ever before through foeticide and infanticide. At 914 girls for 1,000 boys, this year’s census shows the worst child sex ratio ever. And criminal neglect of women also affects babies allowed to live. The mother’s health determines the health and development of the unborn child — and our pregnant and new mothers are so neglected that our future generations are born less healthy and already disadvantaged for learning. Poorer Indians grow up with less nutrition and fewer options for education, sometimes with no access to education at all. Worst off are girls and the lower castes, who face the double whammy of poverty and social discrimination.

Successive governments have addressed these problems, though the education budget has rarely crossed three per cent of the gross domestic product. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan helped. The new Right to Education Act promising free and compulsory education to all children between six and 14 years offers huge hope. Integrated Child Development Schemes (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Schemes certainly help in giving nutritional support and incentives for educating the future generations. And starting hundreds of new schools may indeed offer new opportunities. But these are not enough.

We need to look not only at quantity, but also the quality of school education. More than a quarter of schools do not have proper buildings or drinking water. Half do not have girls’ toilets. Most do not have proper teachers. Teacher absenteeism rages. Allotments for ICDS and MDM schemes are inadequate and do not always reach students. And endemic class, caste and gender discriminations spawn systematic deprivation of large sections of society, institutionalising disparity in educational achievements.

Sadly, our attitude towards excellence is to neglect schools for the masses and focus on elite institutions of higher education. Sure, we need centres of excellence, but we can’t be proud of tiny islands of well-funded distinction in a sea of hopeless, life-sapping neglect and illiteracy. If we really want to debate our educational excellence, we should stop this elitist navel gazing. And focus on good primary and secondary education for all. That social vision could change our collective future. And make us truly world class.

* Antara Dev Sen is editor of The Little Magazine. She can be contacted at:

Govt schools short of 7,000 teachers

Govt schools short of 7,000 teachers
TNN | May 28, 2011, 04.45am IST
Read more:shortage of teachers|Delhi government schools
NEW DELHI: The rosy picture painted by the CBSE result camouflages a grim reality in Delhi government schools. The 945 schools in the city run by the government have an acute shortage of teachers, as much as 7,000, according to sources in the education department. And though the Cabinet recently gave approval for sanctioning of 9,000 posts, department officials admitted that hiring was not expected to take off before 2012 at least.

Sunita Shukla, additional director in the department of education, said: "The 9,000 posts need to be further allotted to teaching categories like PGT, TGT or lab assistants. Once this happens, hiring would start."

Asked when the teachers would start getting placed, Shukla admitted that it wouldn't be before 2012. "There are several constraints. For instance, we need to hire these teachers through the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), which has not been happening for many reasons."

The impact can be seen in classrooms. Department sources say in several schools, especially in areas like Sangam Vihar and northeast Delhi, the classroom to student ratio is very high due to paucity of teachers. The Right to Education Act, incidentally, has kept a ratio of 35 students to a classroom. Shukla added that the average ratio, according to the department, was above 50 in a classroom. There are over 14 lakh students studying in government schools in the city.

Haryana to give education to 22 lakh children

Haryana to give education to 22 lakh children
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 18:02 IST
Place: Chandigarh | Agency: PTI

Haryana government today approved the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011, which would benefit about 22 lakh children in the state.

The rules have been prepared in pursuance of provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

A decision to this effect was taken by cabinet which met here under the chairmanship of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

A state advisory council under the chairmanship of minister in-charge shall be formed to ensure proper implementation of provisions of Rules, Hooda told reporters.

There will be a primary school within a radius of one km and a middle school within three kms from a ward in case of urban area and gram panchayat in case of rural areas. No child will be denied admission for want of age proof.

The children in age group of 6-14 who are not going school will be identified and by giving special training they would be brought at par with the other students.

Continuous and comprehensive evaluation methodology will be adopted under RTE. This will make the children free from fear and anxiety of the exam, he said.

Though there will be no Board exam in Class VIII, there will be testing of the child on a regular basis at short intervals.

This testing will help teachers understand the weak areas of the child and teacher will provide additional support where needed.

Shortage of qualified teachers expected

Shortage of qualified teachers expected
Gauree Malkarnekar, TNN | May 28, 2011, 02.02am IST
Read more:TET|SCERT|English teachers
PANAJI: Schools in Goa can expect a severe shortage of teachers when the new academic year begins next month. This, when most schools will be on the lookout for English teachers like never before with the state government's new policy of allowing schools already receiving grants to shift to the English medium in the primary.

A circular issued by the directorate of education (DoE) in January this year prohibits schools from appointing teachers unless they clear the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET), as required under the Right of Child to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The responsibility of conducting the state TET was handed over to the State Council for Educational Research and Training ( SCERT).

One TET was to be held before the new academic year was to begin on June 6, 2011. The January circular still stands but citing 'lack of infrastructure', the plan to hold the state TET has been called off for now. Several teachers in Goa, employed on a contract basis or presently filling in temporary vacancies for teachers on leave and looking for a fulltime job, might find themselves in a fix.

Fearing being rendered jobless, many teachers across the state have applied for the Central Teacher Eligibility Test announced this month. "We will allow teachers who have cleared the Central TET to be employed in Goa schools till we have the necessary infrastructure for a state TET," a DoE official said. Clearing the TET has been made mandatory for teachers who have a diploma in education, but is not necessary for teachers who possess a degree in education. A lot changes with the state having announced its new policy of grants to English medium primary schools with Konkani or Marathi as a compulsory subject from Class I to X.

Schools looking at a shift in medium as a result of the new policy will find themselves with a very limited choice, if at all they find eligible candidates. The circular issued in January has also laid down a tougher criteria for teachers to be eligible for appointment. The circular, in keeping with provisions of the RTE Act, also makes it mandatory for teachers seeking appointments up to Class V to be qualified with a diploma in educa- tion. The teachers should also have scored a minimum of 50% marks at the Class XII exam, as per the new requirement. The TET, considered to be on the lines of National Eligibility Test (NET), conducted by University Grants Commission for college teachers, is aimed at improving the selection procedure.

The TET would test the general and subject knowledge along with a candidate's teaching skills. The National Council for Teacher Education will ensure that TET standards are high like in the case of NET. This means that even all the teachers appearing for the central TET from Goa are not likely to clear the exam at their first attempt.

Teachers to take quality test

Teachers to take quality test
Swati Shinde Gole, May 27, 2011, 03.14am IST

PUNE: For as long back as you can think, it has always been the teachers who have tested the proficiency of students. However, with the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009 coming into existence, it will soon be compulsory for school teachers to take the quality test - the Central Teachers Eligibility Test (CTET).

The Union ministry of human resource and development has authorised the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to conduct the CTET for appointment of teachers from standards I to VIII in central government and CBSE-affiliated schools. The CTET will for the first time be conducted in Pune, Mumbai and Thane on June 26.

The test has currently been made mandatory for new appointments of teachers to CBSE schools under the central government - like Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, Tibetan Schools and schools under the administrative control of the Union Territory of Chandigarh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, as well as other schools affiliated to the CBSE.

The test is necessary for teachers who want to join CBSE schools, for they will not be eligible for consideration if not armed with CTET scores.

In the city, however, the management of certain CBSE schools, which are not under the Central government, have asked the present lot of teachers to also take the test, but no one is complaining since the teachers are seeing it as an opportunity to brush up their skills.

Speaking to TOI on Thursday, N Nagaraju, joint secretary, CBSE, and in-charge of CTET, said, "The implementation of RTE Act requires the recruitment of a large number of teachers across the country in a time-bound manner. Despite the enormity of the task, we need to ensure that the quality requirement of teachers is not diluted at any cost."

He further said, "It is important to ensure that individuals recruited as teachers possess the essential aptitude and ability to meet the challenges of teaching at primary and upper primary levels. The CTET is designed in such a way that all the requirements to recruit quality teachers are met through the test."

"The test may also apply to unaided private schools, who may exercise the option of considering the CTET," Nagaraju said.

Neelam Chakrabarty, principal, Delhi Public School, said, "It was a management decision to ask all our teachers to write the examination. A total of 84 teachers from our school will be appearing for the CTET and they are currently preparing for the same."

Aspiring teacher Rajani Venkat, who is taking the exam, said, "The CTET is for teachers what entrance examinations are to students. Thus, it is like an entrance exam for teachers before being appointed in schools. I believe this will only fine tune our teaching skills and produce quality teachers."

English teacher Kanika Swami, who is also writing the exam, said, "The CTET will have multiple-choice questions. We have seen our students writing exams based on this pattern. So getting first-hand experience will help. Also, the exam will hone our expertise. For example, when I will now explain Nelson Mandela as a personality or the geography of Africa, I will have a better idea, since I am going through these lessons all over again."

Swami said, "Apart from that, preparing for an exam is learning in itself and is part of my growth process as a teacher."

This is the first year of the CTET, which will now be conducted annually. The validity period of CTET qualifying certificate for appointment is seven years. There is no restriction on the number of attempts for acquiring a CTET certificate. A person who has gets the CTET degree may also appear again for improvement of scores.

Jayashree Venkatraman, principal, DAV Public School, said, "The test will definitely bring about all-round development of the teachers. An English teacher will also be writing mathematics and science papers and vice-versa. The process will add to the existing qualification of our teachers."

Centre plans ban on capitation fee

28 May, 2011, 04.48AM IST, Mathang Seshagiri,TNN
Centre plans ban on capitation fee


Read more on »Intermediate Colleges Bill|HRD|Central Advisory Board of Education
BANGALORE: The Centre has announced bringing in a comprehensive legislation banning schools and intermediate colleges from collecting capitation fee, publishing false or misleading advertisements and accepting admission fee without receipt.

The proposed legislation - The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Schools and Intermediate Colleges Bill , 2011 - will be first discussed during the Central Advisory Board of Education meeting on June 7 in New Delhi.

Designed on the lines of a similar legislation that bans unfair practices among technical and medical institutions, the HRD ministry has decided to extend it to from primary up to senior secondary level.

The legislation aims at promoting transparency through mandatory self-disclosure in the prospectus and school websites.

Information regarding physical, academic and facilities relating to quality of education should be mandatorily published by schools and adhered to.

Schools will be liable to refund fee deposited by a student if the admission is withdrawn by a student.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Krishna Kumar: Quality education remains a dream

Krishna Kumar: Quality education remains a dream
May 25, 2011
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Like the majority of India’s children, the Right to Education (RTE) Act has completed its first year facing malnourishment, neglect and routine criticism. A year after it was notified as law, the right to elementary education remains a dream. The law provides a 5-year window to its implementation but the dream it legislates looks as elusive now as it did when this countdown started.

While one important clause is facing a writ in the highest court, other provisions are struggling to receive official attention in State capitals. Any assessment of the progress of RTE in its first year must begin by underlining the federal nature of governance which assigns school education squarely to the State. Few people recognise that India’s federal character offers to the Ministry of HRD at the Centre the role of little more than a moral authority. No wonder the main news on RTE at the end of its first year is that the ministry is trying hard to persuade State governments to own the new law and accept the responsibility of implementing it. The attempt has met with rather limited success. Let us examine why.

A key feature of RTE is that it emphasises quality as an integral aspect of the child’s right to be educated. Part V of the RTE Act lays down fairly specific terms under which the quality of elementary education is to be ensured. These include a comfortable teacher-student ratio, curriculum reform and improvement in evaluation methods. The success of these measures depends on teachers, and that is where the system is facing its worst obstacle. The current policy discourse prefers to use the word ‘challenge’ in place of ‘obstacle.’ This sweet advice of management gurus is not quite relevant to the problem at hand because it has been created as a matter of policy in many States.

At the top is Madhya Pradesh which has radically lowered the status of teachers with the help of a two-decade long policy delusion. Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh present similar, though less intractable, cases. The States in the north-east come next where a vast number of teachers have been appointed over the years without any attention to basic qualifications or training. West Bengal constitutes a case of its own kind, symbolising isolation from national trends and norms. If we leave aside these dire instances, many among the remaining States also present a grim picture. Instead of improving teachers’ working conditions and training, many States have opted for cosmetic solutions.

Orissa has taken the lead in this respect by imposing a dress code requiring teachers to wear a pink sari and a black blouse. Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh may not face an acute shortage of teachers but the issues pertaining to the quality of training are just as relevant for them as they are to the northern States. Teacher training comprises what one might call the single biggest mess the system of education has to sort out. When the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) was given statutory status as a licensing authority, it was seen as a powerful mechanism to bring order into a chaotic sector.

Over the years, the NCTE has, by itself, become a part of the problem. Thousands of private outfits of dubious institutional integrity and quality have come up. The RTE requires each State to name an academic authority which will determine and improve curriculum, evaluation and training. Most States have notified their State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) as the mandated academic authority. Some, like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and West Bengal have named their Boards of Secondary Education. Apparently, these States have no institutional resources to look after the implementation of RTE. But even the ones which have assigned this task to the SCERT need to assess the academic capacity of this institution. Barring Kerala, no State has treated its SCERT with respect” one only hopes that the political change in Kerala will not hurt the remarkable status its SCERT has achieved. All others will need both guidance and money to nurture their SCERTs.

The climate of governance, which set in during the 1990s, makes outsourcing preferable to institution-building. State officials, who have the responsibility to implement the RTE do not know where to look for the knowledge and creative energy required to address the pedagogic concerns articulated in it. Terms such as child-centred teaching and continuous evaluation are alien to a system accustomed to eliminating a majority of children by declaring them ‘fail’ sooner or later. A ban on corporal punishment is similarly baffling to both officials and teachers who are used to inducing fear as a way to get children to work hard.

A peculiar development of the last two decades has further compounded the situation. This factor has to do with the culture of trivia that has become the norm of schooling of the poor. Superficial training has led many teachers to perceive their job as that of baby-sitters. A pattern of poorly conceived, shallow activities, aimed at keeping children occupied without learning anything substantial, has evolved into a full-fledged routine. Children come to school, get a free meal, and it matters to no one that they make tangible progress from day to day. The cult of ‘joyful learning’ has driven many among the poor to look for whatever private provision exists in their habitation.

These private outfits impose a harsh regime of home work and physical punishment to show good examination results. The paucity of good teachers is just as acute in the low-fee private sector as it is in schools run by the government and local bodies. According to current estimates, the country will need well over a million teachers over the next four years in order to meet the RTE norms. Who will train that many teachers? And who will orient the existing cadre of teachers towards the child-centric vision of RTE? One might have imagined that universities will play a major role in this national enterprise, but there is no sign of such an initiative being taken.

Even the newly set up central universities have ignored teacher education. Distance education is perceived as the only viable solution to this conundrum. But even for this option, there seems to be little realistic assessment of the costs involved in creating the kind of infrastructure the SCERTs will require in order to liaison with providers of distance education.

Toilet at home a must for rural education

Toilet at home a must for rural education
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 1:34 IST
By Surendra Gangan | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Maharashtra government has made it compulsory to have a toilet at home for getting admission in junior colleges in the rural areas. The students who don’t have a toilet will be given provisional admissions with the condition of building one within three months of admission.

A circular issued by the higher and technical education department a few weeks ago stated that the toilet block was a must for admission to junior college. The condition was imposed as part of the water supply and sanitation department’s total sanitation campaign. The department aims to ensure that every household has a toilet inside the house. The current percentage of the households with toilet blocks is 65%.

An official from the department claimed that they are getting good response from the students and even the educational institutions. “Open defecation leads to contamination of the water body that result in epidemics. With spreading awareness at the college level, we will be able to raise our percentage which has stagnated at 65%,” he said. “We don’t have any provision of financial assistance for building toilets, but loans for the same could be provided by banks.”

Higher and technical education department has also mentioned that the colleges with the highest rate of implementation of the government order would be awarded with the Nirmal College title.

The department has provided a form to be submitted by the student along with admission form in which the student will provide information related sanitation and also the undertaking.

“The percentage of the household with the toilet blocks has increased to 65% from just 40% in 2005. However our worry is that the percentage has reached a plateau and even households with toilets prefer open defecation. The culture and mindset of the people are largely responsible for the same. Districts in Marathwada and Khandesh are lagging behind in the sanitation drive,” the officer said.

He said that before making it compulsory for the students the department has made it mandatory for schools and colleges to make available the sanitary facilities to the students.

It may be noted that the state government has made it compulsory to the elected representatives from the gram panchayats and the municipal council to have toilet blocks at home. The representatives were given the period of three months to comply with the condition. The time limit ended couple of months ago and the response has been overwhelming. An officer from the rural development department said that it will initiate action against the representatives and some of them may lose membership of the local bodies.

Jharkhand eyes PPP mode to run new ITIs

Jharkhand eyes PPP mode to run new ITIs
State government has invited expression of interests from industrial houses and NGOs to set up and run 38 new ITIs
Submitted on 05/24/2011 - 08:58:31 AM
By Chandrabindu

Ranchi: Faced with resource crunch coupled with burgeoning demand of technical hands for the upcoming industrial units, the Jharkhand government is now eyeing public-private-partnership (PPP) mode for opening of new industrial training institutes (ITIs) in the State.

The State Labour Department has come out with a proposal to set up 38 new ITIs in various districts under the PPP model, for which it has invited the expression of interest from industrial houses and non-governmental organisations having the expertise in the trade.

The new ITIs are proposed to come up at Ramgarh, Barhi, Bermo, Ghatshila, Chakulia, Bahragoda, Chakradharpur, Manoharpur, Jagannathpur, Chandil, Hussainabad, Chattarpur, Ranka, Nagarutari, Mahuatand, Chandwa, Khunti, Ghaghra, Bundu, Mandar, Rajmahal and Madhupur subdivisions.

“Some of the ITIs have been planned especially for girls, which would be located at the district headquarters,” Labour Department Deputy Director (Training) BD Thakur said.

At present, there are 22 State-run ITIs, including six for girls. Two ITIs, located at Godda and Tamar in Ranchi have already been handed over to the Jindal Steel and Power Limited and Tata Steel for operation and maintenance.

About the conditions of PPP mode, Thakur said prospective industrial houses or NGOs required installing machinery and other infrastructure in accordance with the specification laid down by the Centre.

Officials said that the State government would have a greater say on decision making with regard to finalising the fee structure and determining the reservation roaster for admission.

Jaya begins power trip on 'reverse gear'

Jaya begins power trip on 'reverse gear'
M.C. Rajan | May 25, 2011 | Updated 07:47 IST

Expectations, from the new government in Tamil Nadu if any, appear to have turned sour. One week may not be enough time to pass judgment on a new regime. The czarina is back with a huge mandate.

Will Jayalalithaa, herself a victim of the politics of vendetta, be different in her third innings? Or will she squander it as earlier? It is not surprising that these questions have begun to exercise the minds of many. As if to deny the need to wait for a few months to make an informed opinion, the first signs of the new government are not encouraging.

More than anything, she seems to be in a hurry to reverse the decisions of her predecessor. This can be seen in many aspects - right from Jayalalithaa's reading of the verdict to the manner in which she runs the administration.

In her first reaction to the landslide victory, the AIADMK supremo looked as though she has been tempered by the fiveyear sabbatical. "The people have rejected the DMK and it is a vote for change," she said only to change tack that it was 'a positive vote for her'. Neither she nor her party effectively used the opposition space in the last five years, yet it was the groundswell against the Karunanidhi clan that catapulted her to power. In victory, humility is palpably absent and this is not a good sign.

Hopes were belied when her cabinet proved to be a captive one. Contrary to the expectations that she evoked on making the state numero uno in all respects, her team has failed to inspire. Is the state so bereft of talent? For instance, the finance portfolio was given to O Panneer Selvam, as a reward for his steadfast loyalty and nothing else. It was he who kept the CM's gaddi warm for three months after she was unseated by the Supreme Court.

Well, her first day in office was indicative of what remains in store. Unmindful of criticism, she resorted to a 'Thuglak' style operation of shifting the secretariat and assembly from the new complex back to the 17th century British fortress. Well, it was a costly snub to her arch rival, M Karunanidhi, who took personal interest in building it with undue haste and great secrecy. Her action has only given credence to rumours that it was driven by astrological advice. The fig leaf of justification is that the new complex is not complete in all respects.

But, she has not come out with an answer as to how the Rs 1200 crore complex will be utilised without being a waste on the already burdened exchequer.

The next move has come as a blow to the students and parents alike - putting on the operation of the Uniform Syllabus in schools aimed at ushering in equitable education, inviting the charge that she has fallen prey to the private school lobby. Further, reopening of schools has been postponed to June 15 which neither the schools nor the parents would relish.

School education in Tamil Nadu has five streams - State Board, Matriculation, Anglo Indian, Oriental and the CBSE. Academicians and educationists have for long demanded that the system be streamlined leaving only the CBSE as the mushrooming private matriculation schools all over have earned the notoriety of fleecing students.

Not a day passes off without a protest against a school for collecting exorbitant fees during the admission season. The DMK Government grudgingly introduced the Equitable Education (Samacheer Kalvi) system in a phased manner from last year and the High Court too has refused to stay its operation.

Textbooks have been printed and only needed to be supplied.

As such, freezing of the new system comes at a time when both the matriculation schools and parents were resigned to the fact and were ready to fall in line.

With the prevailing uncertainty, confusion reigns supreme in school education as of now.

Initially, when the Education Minister C V Shanmugham talked about a review of the textbooks, it was seen as a move to delete the material eulogising Karunanidhi, which is nothing more than a display of the mutual antagonism between the Dravidian rivals. But, none thought the new regime would go this far.

Now the government is reported to have called for tenders to print over 6 crore textbooks to be distributed to over 1.5 crore students. But, the fact remains that the new books would be available only after three months. Further, the fate of the over 6 crore books already printed at a cost of Rs 200 crore hangs in balance. The CPI( M), an ally of the AIADMK, which was at the forefront of the drive to get the Uniform Syllabus implemented, has called for a review.

But, will the czarina listen? Is it just an aberration or is the guiding principle of the new government, proving the old adage that the tiger can't change its stripes?

Maharashtra, Uttarakhand top spenders on education: ASSOCHAM

Maharashtra, Uttarakhand top spenders on education: ASSOCHAM

India Infoline News Service / 15:27 , May 25, 2011
Maharashtra is the undisputed leader spending in the past five financial years.

Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Chattisgarh have emerged as top spenders on education, while states like Assam, West Bengal and Bihar are trying to catch up by increasing their allocation reveals ASSOCHAM Study.

While the top three states have budgeted for 21.1%, 20.5% and 19.5% for the financial year 2010-11 as ratio to aggregate expenditure, the growth in the allocation was more in Rajasthan, Assam and West Bengal at almost 19.1%, 19.0% and 18.3% respectively over the year 2009-10.

Considering the budgeted figures of 2010-11 over the actual expenditure of 2009-10, it is clear that these states want to catch up with the increasing demand for trained manpower. Assam and West Bengal have almost doubled their allocation from 13.5% to 19.0% and 17.3% to 18.3% respectively this year as compared to the previous year.

Maharashtra is the undisputed leader spending in the past five financial years, No wonder Maharashtra occupies predominant place in India's growing service sector.

Though, the budgeted figures of the current fiscal for Maharashtra have witnessed a rise of 34 per cent between the years 2005-06 and 2010-2011 way behind in terms of aspirations.

A small state like Meghalaya has increased its spending vis-à-vis 2005-06 from 15.5% to the budgeted figure of 18.0% in 2010-11. Bihar and Andhra Pradesh too have been aggressive raising their expenditure by 18.0% and 18.0% respectively over the same period.

These growth propellers are throwing numerous challenges along with opportunities. One of the most important is the gap between demand and supply of skilled work force.

“A key element in taking the country forward and maintaining its growth momentum has been its highly skilled and competent global workforce. Nevertheless, there is no scope of complacency and continuous efforts for creating new facilities and upgrading of the existing is crucial”, said D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM.

The states are fast realizing that education not only plays a vital role in the economic development but also in social improvement. Many states are enhancing their expenditure to impart quality education to fulfill the requirements of the sector. Mizoram with literacy rate of more than 88 per cent spends the least among all states.

With significant potential still untapped, it is expected that the global sourcing phenomenon will continue to expand. However, the competition among the emerging markets is becoming stiffer. To maintain its edge India will have to spend intelligently on quality education.

The study shows that though states have become vibrant, the increase in the allocation of central government for education has seen rise during the period from 2006-07 to 2010-11 (Budgetary Estimates) as against a growth rate of literacy.

In addition, the state governments’ share of total expenditure of centre and states on education has been ascending.

Keeping all this in view, the centre needs to play a more active role in shaping the education to facilitate proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education system throughout the country.

Jharkhand moots prep route to govt schools

Jharkhand moots prep route to govt schools
Approved by the Centre, pre-schooling facility will be introduced in 500 schools covered under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan on pilot project
Submitted on 05/23/2011 - 07:43:52 AM
By Chandrabindu

Ranchi: Teaching pattern in the government schools is set to undergo a major change in Jharkhand.

Apparently moved by the concerns of retention in primary stage of education, the State Human Resources Department has decided to introduce the concept of pre-schooling—which is so far considered an exclusive domain of private schools only—in the government schools.

Under the conventional practice, students get enrolled directly in class I in the government schools. “They (students) have to start with alphabets, which at times, pose serious problem for them to comprehend the basics of elementary education,” Jharkhand Primary Education Director DK Saxena said.

The proposed plan envisages introduction of pre-schooling in 500 schools across the State on a pilot project basis. Upon successful trial of the concept, pre-schooling set-up would be raised at all the 40,000 schools that run Sarva Sikhsa Abhiyan (SSA) project.

This will be the second major change in the mode of teaching in government schools after the adoption of the CBSE pattern of continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) this year.

The proposed introduction of pre-schooling concept of the State received a boost after the Centre gave its seal of approval at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Secretary Anshu Vaishya in New Delhi.

The Centre also approved Rs 2000 crore annual grant to the State for smooth conduct of the SSA during the fiscal 2011-12.

“The emphasis of the new concept would be on to make the children know about shapes, shade of colours, and all other things familiar with play schools,” an officer said. He, however, clarified that there would not be KG (kinder Garten) like class.

'Govt violating RTE Act'

'Govt violating RTE Act'
TNN | May 26, 2011, 02.46am IST
Read more:union government|state government|State Commission of Protection for Child Rights|Modi Government|HRD|Gujarat Government|Commission
AHMEDABAD: Union minister for human resource development (HRD) Kapil Sibal came down heavily on Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for not even chalking out rules for the neighbourhood schools under the Right to Education Act (RTE).

Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Sibal said that the Centre has not been able to allocate any funds to Gujarat as allowed under the Act because the state government has not formulated the rules for setting up the neighbourhood schools. The HRD minister said that under the Act, the state government has to form a 'State Commission of Protection for Child Rights', but the Modi government was get to announce the same. This commission can look into the complaint of harassment of the students. Thus, in absence of this commission, Gujarat students Gujarat are suffering, he claimed.

Modi government was acting against the Centre when it comes to formulating rules under the RTE Act, Sibal said, adding that the allowing the school to give admissions to students on first-cum-first basis was in violation of the Act. "The RTE Act allows admissions only on the basis of draw of lots," said Sibbal. tnn

Sibal said that Gujarat was ranked 15 when it comes to providing infrastructure facilities like separate toilets for the girls, drinking water facilities and even hygienic conditions. He also claimed that there was nothing vibrant in the state when it comes to imparting quality education. There were still 1.62 lakh students in the state who were not enrolled in the schools, said Sibbal.

The minister also said that the funds allocated by the Centre were also not properly used by the state and hence they had to be returned. Under Sarva Sikha Abhiyan, the Union government allocated Rs 1,115 crore, but the Gujarat government could use only Rs 827 crore, leading to Rs 228 crore fund getting lapsed, Sibal said.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cabinet defers uniform school syllabus

Cabinet defers uniform school syllabus

May 23, 2011

The Tamil Nadu state Cabinet on Sunday deferred the implementation of the DMK proposed uniform system of school education, saying the system has “not been devised to improve the overall quality of education”.

The DMK government had in 2010 enacted a law to bring in a uniform system of school education merging all the four boards, state, matriculation, oriental and Anglo-Indian schools, and even brought the private schools under the ambit of penalties if they contravened rules and regulations under the Act.
It was introduced in Class 1 and Class 6 in 2010-11 and during the fag end of its tenure, the DMK proposed to extend the system to Classes 2 and 7 in 2011-12.

Holding that the proposed uniform system of school education has not been formulated to improve the quality of education of students, the Cabinet, which met under the leadership of chief minister J. Jayalalithaa for the first time after she assumed charge on May 16, decided to constitute an expert committee to find ways and means to improve the system.

“This will not ensure the overall improvement of education. The schools can follow the old syllabus for this year,” a resolution adopted at the Cabinet meeting said.

State nod for more English schools soon

State nod for more English schools soon
Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 24, 2011

The school education department will take a decision on the fate of the 2,100 new proposals for non-aided English medium schools in the next eight days. The decision, taken in the cabinet sub-committee meeting chaired by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, at the government headquarters on Monay, aim s at expediting the process of providing new English medium schools, under the SSC board.

Pressure is mounting on the state government to bring in more English medium schools, considering the huge influence and competition the state board faces from Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian School Certificate Education (ICSE) board schools.

"To make sure that the quality of schools that get selected is optimum, we have a two-phase scrutiny, at district and state level, where only 2,100 of the 7,000 applications have reached the final stage. The final list will go through strict scrutiny and those schools which are up to the mark will finally get a nod," said education minister Rajendra Darda after the meeting with Chavan on Monday.

Of the 2,100 applications, 1,800 are from 2010-11 while 350 applications are from the current financial year.

About 5,000 applications were rejected because they could not meet requirements of space and population around the proposed school among other things, Darda said.

Ever since Darda took over the education department in 2010, he has been stressing on the need for English medium education. He had said that when more English medium schools are started, it will generate more teachers from the state to teach in the language and there will be no need to employ teachers from other states.

The new schools, a senior official explained, will go through a tough test and will have to clear several levels of scrutiny before they get clearance.

Sibal's new booster plan: Priority sector loans to new educational institutions

Sibal's new booster plan: Priority sector loans to new educational institutions
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Hindustan Times

New educational institutions may soon benefit from softer loans to kick-start their plans, under a human resource development ministry plan to incentivise private sector participation aimed at helping India meet its higher education capacity targets. The HRD ministry plans to ask the finance ministr y to include bank loans to new colleges or universities in the priority sector that needs to repay at lower interest rates than others, top government sources have told HT.

The plan is a key component of the government’s strategy to encourage the private sector to enter higher education. HRD minister Kapil Sibal has set a target of increasing India’s gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education from 12.4% at present to 30% by 2010.

This increase in GER – identified as a priority by Sibal – is critical for India to capitalize on the demographic dividend it has earned because of its massive young population, government sources pointed out. Failure to capitalize on this advantage could equally easily lead to a demographic curse – a large, euneducated and unemployable youth.

But the government estimates that India will need an additional 1500 universities by 2020 to meet this GER target. The government has also repeatedly argued that a paucity of funds means it alone cannot start and run all these additional higher educational institutions.

The HRD ministry wanted to offer loans at ultra-low interest rates – about 4 % -- to new educational institutions through a proposed National Education Finance Corporation (NEFC) which will also act as guarantor to student education loans. But the Planning Commission has objected to the proposed NEFC offering ultra-cheap loans to new institutions.

The HRD ministry’s new proposal – for priority sector lending to new educational institutions – will, if accepted, mean loans at interest rates of about 7%, higher than the 4% the NEFC would have offered, but lower than ordinary bank rates.

To ensure quality education, India needs quality teachers: M I Hussain

To ensure quality education, India needs quality teachers: M I Hussain

New Delhi You have come a long way in your career. Tell us about your journey.

I joined Delhi Public School, RK Puram, in 1974 as a primary school teacher. I used to teach Social Studies to Class II. Soon, I became a permanent teacher there. I was appointed to several posts, including House Warden. I became the Head of the Social Sciences Department there. Till 1985, I was in DPS, RK Puram. That same year, I was sent to Bhilai in Madhya Pradesh to set up a DPS for the employees of the SAIL -- the first steel plant that was started by Jawaharlal Nehru with the support of the Soviet Union. The school did very well. I remember that the people there had just two dreams -- they wanted their children to become either doctors or engineers. And they were ready to fulfill and sacrifice anything to achieve that dream. The parents were totally devoted to the well-being of their children. Their commitment and eagerness was amazing. If we asked the parents to send their children for remedial classes, they would cooperate immediately. Neither the children nor the parents were fussy. I had never seen such enthusiastic parents anywhere. After Bhilai, I was posted to Kuwait to establish another DPS school there. This was in 1995. I went there. All the parents there — including Indians, Bangladeshis and Arabs — were keen to send their children to an Indian school. They were impressed with the Indian culture. I remember an Army officer once telling me: "The future lies in India. We want our children to go to an Indian school." Compared to other nations, Indians are fair in dealings. It was the Al-Noori Teaching Establishment in Kuwait that wanted to establish an Indian. They approached DPS and we gave them the franchise. I was in Kuwait for two-and-a-half years. Then, in July 1997, I came back to India. I became the Secretary of the DPS Society. In December 1998, I was appointed as the principal of DPS, Mathura Road.

What's the philosophy that the school follows?

The first DPS school was established in 1949. The ones who came from Pakistan after the Partition wanted to give their children quality education. They wanted a school that could provide educational excellence at a very reasonable price. Back then, DPS basically catered to the middle class. The feature of DPS is secularism. We believe in a secular outlook and promotion of excellence. We want to produce all-rounder students who are smart, confident and resourceful, besides having a world vision and a scientific temperament that makes them ready to serve others. The motto of the school is 'Service before self'. There were great people involved in the growth of the DPS Society. DPS, Mathura Road, was the mother school. However, the society realised that one school was not enough. DPS, Mathura Road, was established in 1949. Then next branch to come up was DPS, RK Puram. More branches were established later.

Do you think DPS is still the best brand in education? Or is the competition from other schools changing the equation?

It is easy to reach the zenith, but it is difficult to stay there. There are many new schools coming up and they have good programmes. The World Bank, along with other organisations, conducted a survey in 1997. They wanted to know how the DPS Society is able to manage so many schools. They wanted to know how it could be done. Only the brand value cannot help. If a parent does not get what he expects, he will think twice. DPS cannot afford to sit comfortably and leave the rest to the brand name. We are working very hard to maintain our position in the field.

Being an educationist, and being in this sector for long now, what do you think are the most pressing issues that the country is facing right now? How can these challenges be tackled?

The biggest challenge we are facing today is maintaining the quality of teachers. When I talk of public schools, DPS is an educational oasis. But all around, it is not that green. I am deliberately not using the word desert (laughs). There are many areas that are not green. When we have to select teachers, it is difficult. I remember, there was once an NRI who came back to India and wanted to open a school. He acquired 100 acres of land and was willing to provide the best infrastructure. However, the problem he faced was getting teachers. As he could not find teachers who were good enough, so he decided to start a management course instead. And then, of course, the students — the raw material — are equally important. But to be able to produce good students, you need good teachers. So the most crucial thing is ensure that quality teachers are taken in, rather than infrastructure.

What do you have to say about the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which was implemented last year? It still seems to have many teething problems.

Though the RTE Act is a wake-up call, it has come quite late in the day. Education has been made a fundamental right and the education of the child is now the state's responsibility, not the parents. But there are issues. RTE is a threat to the autonomy and freedom of private schools. Private schools are independent bodies, unaided and there should be no external interference in matters concerning admissions, staff, salary and fees. These are crucial issues. The matter is still pending in the Supreme Court of India, and an order in this regard is expected to come out soon. The first thing we are asking is — why 25 per cent for children from the Economically Weaker Section? Do you have any data to prove that? Where did this magic number come from? Who will pay for this 25 per cent? According to this Act, schools cannot screen the candidates. As parents have the right to select schools, schools should also have the right to select students. But as per this Act, schools cannot do this. RTE also talks about inclusive education — which I think is the solution. But there are many parents who do not want their children to mix with EWS children. There are parents who are against this. But inclusive education is the solution. If admissions for EWS children are done at the entry level, the success rate will be 100 per cent. We have an afternoon-shift school for under-privileged children — the Ibtida Shiksha Kendra. Almost 700-800 children study in that school. Every year, a good chunk of these students is shifted to the day school on merit. Once, there was this girl who came up to me and said she was missing her friends. I told my teachers to take special care of the girl. But as she was still unable to cope, she went back to the afternoon school. But like your said, these are just teething problems. Everything will settle down in a few years.

What is the public response to Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), which was implemented in classes IX and X.

There are diverse reactions to CCE. While some have good things to say about it, others say bad things. It depends on your perception. But, overall, it has been very well-received by the students.

Why teachers are not committed?

Why teachers are not committed?
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Nowadays it is believed that the teachers in the State of J&K lack commitment towards their profession and their contribution for nation building is timid. The educational institutions are the places where the mission of nation building is accomplished and so they need a sound backing in terms of money, resources and infrastructure. The talented and qualified youth of the state should feel attracted towards the profession of teaching and they must choose this profession by choice and not by compulsion. It is painful to note that in this era of knowledge our youth detest to offer themselves for the profession of teaching and reasons for this trend have not been addressed till date by the respective Governments and by the well meaning personalities of our society. Even the richest man and tycoon of computer technology Bill Gates has felt the importance of teachers when he said on 12th of October, 1997 in an interview to Independent that, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” The teachers need to be encouraged and institutions of learning need to be developed on priority.
The sector of education in America and European countries is a priority and more investments are done on this sector and consequently, the Colleges and Universities of those countries serve better than ours. In the United Kingdom, the system of education enjoys much liberty to spend money on educational projects and matters, and the result is that they are advanced than us. The dissemination of education is very important for them and they have developed the institutions of learning from Primary level to the University level and they provide teachers a lot of facilities which keeps their interest alive in teaching profession. They respect the profession of teaching and teachers and teachers there are not treated as non –entities and small mortals but are ennobled in such a manner that qualified and talented youth of their countries prefer to be teachers and contribute in the nation building. In those countries the respective Governments do not adopt wrong policies and saunter in giving weight to the educational sector. They believe that it is only through education and teachers that they shall be able to glorify and hallow their nation and also believe that great scientists, engineers, doctors, politicians, officers, economists could be produced by making the institutions of learning strong and teachers discernible. The teaching profession is the most revered and adored job in those countries due to the conducive and civilized political and social environment present there. In contrast to this reality in our State our politicos and officialdom undervalue the educational sector and teaching and teachers are disparaged and those persons and departments are germaned and aproposed where graft and money taking is easy for everybody. Here the system of education is on rocks from school level to the University level due to the awry and erroneous policies of the Policy makers. In School education askewed and unjustified policies are adopted and the result of these is that teachers working in schools feel suffocated for opting the profession. The department of school education proclaims that it has brought education on the rails and has made it qualitative by providing better facilities and infrastructure in schools and has also recruited talented and trained teachers in the department to come up to the expectations of the society.. But when one tries to introspect and investigate these claims, one finds that teachers serving in this department remonstrate that their diligence and hard work which they put in obtaining their degrees and training to serve as teachers is of no use when untrained and unqualified laboratory Assistants with matriculation and Hr. Secondary part second degree holders are promoted as teachers and put at par with those who burn their midnight oil in passing B. Ed, M.A; M.SC and Ph. D, degrees. They feel that these unjustified policies are rampant in the department and by such initiatives education in schools gets deteriorated and not elevated. They feel that this kind of approach is beyond ones understanding that on the one hand the Government advertises the posts of teachers through JK SSB and after Short listing invites meritorious and qualified applicants to face interview and after rigorous test a talented and highest degree holder is selected, a fact evidenced in the recently conducted selection procedures / interviews for teachers, but it is surprizing to find that through in service quota, a fourth class below average employee with no acumen for knowledge is promoted as teacher to guide the destiny of our children. It has been also seen in the School education department that in the name of Education Voluntary Schools (EVS), the promotion of Matriculates as teachers is ordered and those teachers are posted in regular Government Schools to teach. It is usually complained by the people that these EVS’s hardly exist and this has become a source of recruitment for the blue-eyed candidates and also a source earning money for those who pretend to establish these voluntary schools. For Gods Sake, tell us how have a qualified teacher will show commitment to the profession of teaching in this kind of atrocious and inexorable educational system! The schools in villages and also in urban areas are without basic facilities and infrastructure and the teachers serving in these institutions are dejected on their assortment. The State Government sooner or later will have to realize the visionary unimplemented decision of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah who as Chief Minister in 1975 had declared that the rotten lot of unqualified teachers shall be relieved from the Education Department and posted in other Departments like R&B, Forest and PHE etc. so that Education Sector remains a concern and domain of talented and qualified persons and a great nation of Kashmir is built. But it was very unfortunate that the vested interest of certain people did not allow the then Chief Minister to succeed in his great and imaginative course of action. In spite of incoherent policies adopted in School and Higher education sector, teachers still teach and deliver for this society which criticizes and dithers them, we have a lot of talented teachers in schools, colleges and universities who put their hard work into the studies of the students and we have thousands of post- Graduates and Under Graduates being produced every year. Our young boys and girls are able to qualify Combined Services Examinations and Medical Entrance Tests and other professional related tests only because teachers teach them. Our soil has given and continues to give birth to talented doctors, engineers, scientists, leaders. Poets, politicians and lawyers etc. and who has been behind their making, it is the underestimated teacher of our land. If teachers are not teaching, how the system of education is running and performing and how our students of the state are able to excel at the state and national level? The fact of corrupt teachers can not be denied and one agrees that a large number of teachers are not aware of their social responsibilities but this has become possible because the last three decades have witnessed unprecedented expansion in respect of education at all levels and due to this a good deal of employment generated in the education sector and since these teachers had no other options of employment, they may have opted for it. It is to mention that in showing performance teachers may not be implicated only because during the past turbulent years students as well as their parents have been responsible for the rot in educational sector. It has been witnessed that every year admissions are made in colleges for three year degree courses and at least 100 students are enrolled for every class and throughout the session hardly 30 students appear regularly in the class of hundred and the rest stay away for either they are admitted at other places or remain in other kinds of money earning engagements and sadly speaking, the parents never bother to verify the antecedents of their children and instead approach with excuses.
The teachers need to be respected and encouraged so that the profession of teaching becomes graceful for them. But the teachers also need to improve their academic record and performance. It is the responsibility of the Government to better the development and infrastructure of the schools, colleges and universities so that our future generation is benefited and a glorified nation is built. The teachers stand as Abraham Lincoln says, “With malice toward none; charity for all; with firmness in the right ,as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.”

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Bringing out-of-school kids back to classrooms

Bringing out-of-school kids back to classrooms
Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 10:26 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

To attract the out-of-school children to regular schools, the state department of public instructions has started a special training programme in association with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

The programme, which began in April 2011, will be held for another three months and will conclude on July 14. Under the programme, the department has identified over 16,000 out-of-school children based on the census report of January 2011.

According to the statistics available with the department, 6,953 students are getting trained at residential centres and about 9,487 students are receiving training at non-residential centres.

“Before admitting the students for special training, they must be admitted to a class at the nearby school according to their age,” said an official from SSA.

According to SSA and education department officials, this training will help the students learn the basics of alphabets, grammar and simple mathematics. “It is difficult for such children to cope with classroom studies if they are admitted directly to schools. To train them in basic knowledge, we have designed this programme under Chinnara Angala project,” an official said.

The age limit to train the students under special training is between 7 and 14.

“We have designed this programme based on the Right to Education Act. So we have decided to consider only those who belong to the 7 to 14 age group,” added the official.

The teachers at the each training centre need to prepare an individual education plan (IEP) for students. Following that, students should be reviewed once in 15 days and the subject-wise remarks should be entered in IEP.

“After the completion of the training programme, if any student is found to be a slow learner or not fit to attend the regular class, the training for such students must be extended for three months. The learning capacity of students depends on teachers too. So we have been directing the teachers to be more responsible while teaching,” the official said.

Girl students, who successfully complete the three months’ special training programme and are eligible to attend regular schools, should be admitted to Kasturba Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV). KGBV is a residential school for girl students from economically backward families.

We need to build more classrooms, say schools

We need to build more classrooms, say schools
Shreya Bhandary, TNN | May 24, 2011, 12.55am IST
Read more:TPB College|SVP School|Sangeeta Srivastava|RTE|Narsee Monjee Management Institute|Kandivli Education Trust
MUMBAI: Educational institutes always welcome extra space, because they say they have many reasons to expand their buildings. Schools and colleges say that additional classroom space is always sorely needed.

The Kandivli Education Trust was recently granted additional Floor Space Index (FSI) for their already existing building, but lack of funds has kept them from making the best of the extra space. "One section of our school is aided and we don't have the extra funds to invest in building more classrooms. At the same time, our management also wants to give the best to our students and build more classroom space for them. We are still debating over how to utilize the extra FSI to the students' advantage," said Sangeeta Srivastava, principal of SVP School and TPB College, which are run by the trust.

The Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal (SVKM) is another educational trust that got permission for extra FSI in the past few months. The trust is using this space for the Narsee Monjee Management Institute. "We only have an extra FSI of 4 and we are planning to build extra classrooms for the college so that more students can avail of the course," said A Patel, one of the trustees of SVKM. "We want extra FSI for our school so that we can use some space for a playground for our students, but we still haven't got that permission," he added.

However, the norms of the Right to Education (RTE) Act say that extra classrooms as well as playground space are important for all schools.

With RTE making playgrounds compulsory for students, schools are now realizing the importance of extra space. While a lot of schools in the city lack a ground of their own, some who have this feature are fast using them to build more buildings, claim certain educationists. "We have observed that there are a lot of schools in the city that are now constructing new buildings and, in this process, eating into the playgrounds. Students anyway have very little space for recreation between and after school hours, now they will have none left," said the president of an NGO in the field of education.
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A plumber is as important as a doctor

A plumber is as important as a doctor
Albert Joseph
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The myth and greatness attached to professional courses can be broken only with purposeful efforts from parents and at school level

India is a skill deficit nation where 12 per cent of its population is skilled and only two per cent receive any formal skill training in any employable trade. A young nation with 52 per cent of its population aged below 25 years and where 88 per cent school dropout rate exists, one can only imagine the way they are deprived of a dignified life for no fault of theirs. With June 2011 projected as the month when the seven billionth child will be born in India, it is going to be the illiteracy capital of the world along with other undesirable indices on many other fronts.

The first window in the life of a young person is the school and that is shut to them for reasons of access, poverty and tradition as planners put it. The second window that could be opened in the lives of young people is through a ‘skill window' which has a dignity, equaliser and currency role as the person takes on in life.

There is no perceptible effort done at the lower educational level to sensitise and orient the young understand that it is a stigma that prevents them from entering the ‘skill world' and thus save them from the aimless pursuit of higher education. The myth and greatness attached to professional courses could be broken only with purposeful efforts from parents and at school level in today's highly polarised and diversified world. Only 25 per cent is employable out of the six lakh engineers who come out every year is a sad pointer in this context.

Thus stigmatised, India's 9,000 ITIs and polytechnics with 10 lakh seating capacity can only expect students to enter these premises with a frustrated mindset, as being not otherwise useful. Australia, where this stigma existed 15 years ago, is now rid of it. A plumber is the most sought after person there than a medical doctor.

A recent incident in London showed that an Indian medical doctor changed his profession to plumbing, realising that a plumber there earns much more. China has started giving Ph.D. for plumbers who excel in their line of work. Are these jobs not dignified enough? The celebration of skilled manpower has to be the order of the day as we celebrate people who sing well, dance and act. Everything done well contributes to the growth of the comfort that we enjoy as like an electrician, carpenter, driver or sweeper without whom no life is possible.

The archaic teaching curricula in the ITIs, poor infrastructure, and the fossilised teaching methods will become a thing of the past if young dedicated minds start entering these premises and the governance feels the heat to improvise the infrastructure, curricula and expertise. Proportionate improvement of enrolment and services will be felt vertically and laterally at all erstwhile defunct institutional levels.

For that to happen a ‘skill movement' should take place from school education and at plus-two level onwards..

(The writer is executive director, Functional Vocational Training and Research Society, Bangalore. His email is

The new caste system of free India

The new caste system of free India
Sunday, May 15, 2011

By Ashok Nanda

The enactment of Right to Education Act, 2009 has generated a nation-wide debate on the school and mass education. There are various aspects of this act which needs a proper discussion and debate. One needs to see how relevant this act is in the context of Odisha. More than this, one should also see the present condition of the school education system prevailing in Odisha as well as in India to understand the effectiveness of the education reforms.

No doubt, education is key to individual and societal prosperity. Education includes development of all human faculties like logic, memory, emotions, behavioural patterns, cultural and aesthetic faculties, perceptions and values. Knowledge, skill and attitudes carry the society forward or backward.
A society will be a cohesive one and be in harmony when it helps individuals to maximise their capacities and creates opportunity for them to utilise their talents. But when a society promotes inherent inequalities, it is bound to meet serious social holocaust.

Why should a young man feel grateful to the society or the nation when it has no significant contribution in making him? When the growing adult feels that he is what he is, because of his parents, then he will be provoked to think of his family only. When he realises that he is down trodden because his poor parents could not provide him good opportunities to improve his knowledge and skills, he will rather develop a grudge against the society. He cannot accept that someone is a doctor or an engineer because his parents were rich. He will have hatred towards a decadent society which worked for hereditary elitism controlled through HRD systems.

In decent communities , the government provides quality and free education to all children according to their needs and capacities. In fact, responsible governments enforce its universal application. We need to see the kind of education system the advanced countries have and a comparative study is required to understand the education system in the global context.

In France, kids from the age of two and half years have access to free Early Childhood Education Centres close to the child’s house. Then, they go to primary schools for five years. The upper primary education is for four years after which one has to face a national examination. The marks play a significant role in entering into choice of high schools which is for three years. Most schools provide education free of cost.

The private schools may charge a nominal amount for extra services. But most schools except a few , get funded by the government and work under a national programme. National here also means provincial governments. A few special schools that have religious or other choices are not funded by the government since they do not come under national programme. Quality of education is same in the government or private owned schools. The head master plays a key role in maintaining the quality.

In Germany, early child Education is not provided by government but all parents do arrange it for their children. At the age of six all the children join the government primary schools where besides the obligatory classes there is opportunity for learning painting and music etc. Intelligent children can skip classes and join higher classes. At secondary level starting at ten , the children enter specialised schools. The teacher, counsellor, parents and the child choose the type of school to join.

Germany has three to four types of secondary schools. The general schools are called main schools. The children with special interest to work with their hands join the real schools, which have strong vocational components. The children who are to be groomed for higher education join the gymnasiums. But, it is possible to change the schools depending on child’s progress and aptitude. At the age of ten they start learning English and when they are twelve they have the opportunity to learn another language. All the schooling is free and most often are under government.

If a child does not attend school, then the counsellor visits his house. If all persuasion fails then the police visit the parents and ensure child’s attendance in the school.

In Slovakia, similarly education of children is free and compulsory till sixteen. If the children do not attend the school then the parents immediately are vulnerable to lose their social benefits. There is provision for food in the schools and the children can stay in the schools under teacher’s attendance after the school hours.

In Europe, early childhood centres and primary schools are near the child’s house. Since high schools could be a little far, the children get transport scholarship proportionate to their parents income. Books are available for each child in the library. Quality and compulsory schooling is available to all the children.

When we compare with India, we have five types of schools at present. They are like (i) Very expensive schools for the rich (ii) Quality and expensive private schools and government financed public schools (like Central/ Sainik) for the elite executives and the neo rich (iii) private low grade schools with lowly paid teachers and bad infrastructure for the lower middle class (iv) regular government schools for the lower middle class in small towns and for poor households (v) regular government aided schools with very poor quality teaching in rural areas or government schools without teachers attending it in remote tribal areas (Vi) the government funded EGS centres. The great Indian nation guarantees education by opening education guarantee centres which exists in papers to be a unit to spend the millions of rupees.

Only a selected few children have access to quality education. Even the rich children are forced to one system of education during their high schools. We do not have different types of schools suiting to child’s needs. Government be it officials or politicians believe that “Government cannot run good schools”. Most of the senior leaders are forgetting that they are products of government schools and colleges. Without shame and with ignorance they have accepted governments inefficiency as a matter of principle.

What a vulgar nation we are creating? The personality of children are groomed and developed based on not their own ability, but on the basis of education they got from their schooling. The various kinds of schooling system develop children in different ways. The children attending the class one schools are being mentored to be the rulers of the economy. The students from the second grade schools will join the club of grade one executives. Similarly, students from the grade three schools will mostly join the class two or three jobs. As the story goes on children from the last two grades of schools will join the bandwagon of unskilled workers not coming within any class. It’s a new way of creating the lowly serving class to do the soiled job, like the one created by brahmanic society (vernashram) where the untouchables were not kept out of the society and system. The Brahmin led upper caste were having monopoly in every sphere of life.

The present education system looks very savage to the sensible citizens. But, this is how perhaps the ruling class finds a way to maintain a balance in the Indian society.

The writer is a thinker. Please send your comments and suggestions at .