Saturday, October 29, 2011

Schools play wait & watch game

Schools play wait & watch game
Posted On: Friday, October 28, 2011

Yogita Rao and Shreya Bhandary | TNN

Mumbai: The pre-primary admission season for the academic year 2012-2013 is round the corner, but it is rife with uncertainty and confusion as principals are still in the dark about whether to reserve 25% of seats in their schools for economically weaker sections of society, as stipulated in the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. With the Maharashtra government yet to issue circulars on the rules based on the Central Act after it was passed in the state cabinet this year, schools are waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict before making changes in the admission process. Many private schools have already started issuing kindergarten admission forms or will do so before the end of 2011.

The principals TOI spoke to said they plan to complete a partial admission process by January and then wait for the verdict. Rohan Bhatt, principal of Children’s Academy at Malad, said: “Though the Act covers students from 6-14 years, it also says that the rules apply to institutions with a pre-school section. It is not possible for schools to admit students in Standard I as most of the children have been promoted from kindergarten. If 25% seats have to be reserved for the economically weaker section, it has to done at pre-school.” He added that while waiting for the verdict, the school will admit candidates whose siblings are already studying in school or children of alumni. “We will wait till February to fill the rest of the seats.”

While most principals are bracing themselves for a sea change in the admission system if the 25% reservation comes into effect next year, for some schools implanting the policy will not be difficult. Sister Rani Anthony, principal of Villa Theresa High School at Pedder Road,said:“Our school already admits students from the economically weaker section. Nevertheless, we will have to wait for the government’s order. Our admission season begins only in January, so we have enough time to formulate the process.”

Holy Family High School in Andheri (E) has adopted a similar approach. “As we are a minority institute, 50% of our seats are reserved for students from the Catholic community. We also set aside 20% of the seats for emergency cases and fill them up a month before the academic year begins. Hopefully, the verdict will be out before the next academic year begins,” said principal Father Francis Swamy. Meera Isaacs, principal of Cathedral and John Connon School at Fort said, “We are yet to take a decision as the admission process will begins after the new year.”

The state’s school education minister Rajendra Darda said that the state cabinet has already passed the rules under the RTE Act and will soon issue circulars. “Schools will have to follow the Act’s policies for the admission process subject to the Supreme Court’s verdict.” The principal of St Gregorios School at Chembur, Ranjini Krishnaswamy said that the rules are not clear. “We are not sure if we need to follow the RTE guidelines for preschool as the act applies to students from 6-14 years. We will invite applications from the last week of November, but start the process only in January 2012. Hopefully, things will be clearer by then,” she said. Campion School in Colaba has already begun its online registration process for pre-primary candidates, but the principal, Paul Machado, said he will wait for the SC order as well.

Many school principals say that they haven’t been approached by students from the under-privileged section of society. Carl Laurie, principal of Christ Church School, Byculla, said, “There is a lot of ambiguity surrounding this rule. To date, we have not got a single application from candidates for seats under the 25% quota. If we do get applicants, we will follow the government’s order.”

Delhi asked to probe BJP's school uniforms distribution

Delhi asked to probe BJP's school uniforms distribution

Friday October 28, 2011 06:33:44 PM, IANS

New Delhi: India's child rights panel has asked the Delhi government to probe and report to it on a complaint that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders were distributing uniforms and satchels to students of schools run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

"The complaint is self-explanatory which may kindly be perused," said National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) member secretary Lov Verma while issuing a notice to Delhi Chief Secretary P.K. Tripathi.

"After perusing the complaint, the commission has taken cognizance of the matter and directed that the matter be referred to you (Tripathi) for investigation and report to the commission," said Verma on a compliant filed by an advocate, Ashok Agarwal, earlier this month.

"You are accordingly requested to get the matter investigated and take further necessary action. A factual report, along with authenticated copies of the relevant documents, be sent to the commission within 15 days of issue of this letter," he said. The order issued Monday was only made available Friday.

Agarwal, in his complaint, said that by their act the BJP leaders are lowering the dignity of the children and they are also violating orders of the Delhi government's directorate of education.

Taking note of the complaint, the commission also asked the Delhi government to ensure that all MCD schools comply with the directorate's orders of Feb 28, 2002, that banned the practice of free distribution of items to the students in full public view and in presence of outside officers and giving it publicity.

"Also ensure that children of the MCD schools are not taught in a manner which may affect their psychological development adversely," the NCPCR said in its order.

Young lives not shining in vibrant India

Young lives not shining in vibrant India

HYDERABAD: Though economic growth, despite the global financial crisis, is robust, childhood poverty still persists among various sections of children in Andhra Pradesh according to The impact of growth on childhood poverty in Andhra Pradesh, a report given out by Young Lives, an international study on childhood poverty.

The study was initiated in 2002 across India, Ethiopia, Peru and Vietnam. Young Lives has surveyed the lives of 3,000 children in Andhra Pradesh. The report suggests that inclusive policies be initiated to reduce childhood poverty.

Speaking to mediapersons about the report, Young Lives director Dr Renu Singh felt there has to be a better system in place to effectively implement the existing schemes for the underprivileged and to ensure that the schemes reach down to the grassroots. The report states that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan have helped enrol into schools 98 percent of children in the age group of 8. However, by the time they turn 15, only 75 percent of these children go to school, says the report. It also speaks about an increase in the number of children joining private schools, from 23 percent in 2002 to 44 percent in 2009.

Despite considerable economic growth, many children have stunted growth, especially among the ST community.

While in 2002, 28 percent of the children spoken to had stunted growth, it was 42 percent by 2009. To address these issues, government departments have to work in co-ordination with each other and involve all the stakeholders in the decision-making process, Renu Singh said.�

RTE fails to lift education in rural areas: Report

29 Oct, 2011, 01.02AM IST, ET Bureau
RTE fails to lift education in rural areas: Report


Read more on »RTE|Right to Education|education in rural area|ASER Centre
NEW DELHI: As the government gears up for a year-long campaign to spread awareness about the Right to Education, a report on teaching and learning in rural India finds that progress in learning ability of students has not been commensurate to the massive investment in primary education and increase in enrolment.

The study conducted by the ASER Centre, a network of civil society organisations led by Pratham, in collaboration with Unicef and Unesco, draws attention to gaps that need to filled for effective roll out of universal elementary education. The study, conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkahnd, and Rajasthan, focused on school organisations, teacher background, teacher capability for teaching, classroom processes and learning outcomes.

Highlighting the slow progress of students, the report said that while "children are expected to read simple words in standard I, less than 30% could read them in standard II and only 40% in standard III". Even in high performing states, the report said, "Both standard II and standard IV children have difficulty writing simple words correctly".

Similarly, talking about their ability to do maths, it said 75% of the sampled students were able to solve numerical one digit addition problem, a task they were supposed to do in standard I. It has suggested that systems must be put in place to track attendance, not just enrollment, and ensure regular reporting and monitoring of attendance.

Learning outcomes of students who attend school regularly had dramatically improved. The report stresses on the critical role of the teacher, especially as much as half the students in the rural areas come from home without effective learning support. In this context, it has recommended that teacher recruitment and training policies must assess teachers' knowledge, but more importantly their ability to explain content to children, make information relevant to their lives and to use teaching learning materials and activities other than the textbook. It has also suggested "urgent revisions" in textbooks. These need to start from what children can do and be more realistic and age appropriate in what children are expected to learn, with clear learning goals.

This is especially important in light of the RTE objective of age-grade mainstreaming for all children. The report is critical about classroom facilities, stating that most of the primary school classrooms are "not child-friendly at all" and suggested that indicators for child-friendly education be defined. It suggests that libraries, with take home books, should be monitored as part of RTE Act indicators.

Survey shows learning gap in rural primary schools across 5 states

Survey shows learning gap in rural primary schools across 5 states
TNN | Oct 29, 2011, 05.01AM IST
Read more:UNICEF|UNESCO|primary schools
NEW DELHI: A comprehensive report on teaching and learning inside rural primary schools of five states shows a huge gap between expectations and reality, when it comes to learning. It reveals that more than teacher's educational qualification, gender or work experience what matters most to students is teachers' ability to teach.

The study bursts the myth that government schools are overcrowded.

Prepared by Annual Survey of Education Report centre in collaboration with UNICEF and UNESCO, the report assesses children's learning, functioning of schools and classrooms, teachers and teaching. The survey was carried out in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand and Rajasthan for over 15 months among 30, 000 children.

Overall, less than one-fifth of the children in class II managed to read simple two-letter words. The proficiency rose to about 42% in class III. An average of almost 60% of children of the sampled schools could not do what was expected of them by the end of standard I.

There was variation among states. In AP and HP, over half the children could read words by the end of the standard II and beginning of standard III, whereas in Jharkhand and Rajasthan the corresponding figure was well below 20%. Even in the best performing state like HP, about one-third of all children at the beginning of class III could comfortably do what was expected of them by the end of class I.

By the beginning of class II, over half of all children could write letters that were dictated to them. The proficiency rose to 70% by class III. But barely more than 50% could correctly write a simple word that was dictated to them. In AP, 17.8% of class II children, Assam (9.7%), HP (11.6%), Jharkhand (1%) and Rajasthan (6.8%) could write an answer to a question from a given text. In class IV, there was a marginal increase in Andhra Pradesh, HP and Rajasthan.

Mathematics performance outcome improved by 10 percentage points in class II and by 7 percentage points in class IV, and there was substantial variation across states. There was discernible improvement in learning levels in Assam and Rajasthan. Also, in both the states there was considerable progress for both high and low performers. Jharkhand is the only state, where there was virtually no change in the distribution of test scores in mathematics between assessment of class I and III students.

The study says across five states the average enrolment is less than 30 children in each class. Attendance hovered between 0% and 60%. Other than Jharkhand, less than 10% of all sampled schools had more than 40 children in each class, whereas well over 70% of grades had less than 30 kids.

The survey looked at teacher appointment, their attendance and found that highest number of teachers was in Rajasthan and Jharkhand. There were mainly regular teachers in Rajasthan, whereas in Jharkhand they were para teachers.

Both in Jharkhand and Rajasthan substantially more teachers were present in school registers than were physically observed in school. In Assam, more teachers were observed present than were marked in the school register. About one-thirds of all teachers in the sample were women; the proportion was higher in AP and lower in Jharkhand.

Teaching quality still a concern, post-RTE

Teaching quality still a concern, post-RTE
Several students of class III were not able to read texts of class I, finds the report
Prashant K. Nanda

New Delhi: Primary education was made compulsory through a central Act a year and a half earlier, but that’s done little to raise the quality of teaching or learning in schools.

Several students of class III were not able to read texts of class I, teachers were missing from classrooms, and the government derives achievement from enrolment without factoring in attendance, found a report published by non-profit body Pratham with support from UNESCO and UNICEF.

File photo

File photo

The study focused largely on rural India and interviewed at least 30,000 students. It looked at school organizations, teachers’ backgrounds and capabilities, classroom processes, and learning outcomes, among other parameters. The report, released on Friday, holds significance as the Right to Education (RTE) Act promises to improve the quality of primary education by assuring eight years of schooling to all students in the 6-14 age group. The government expects to invest Rs. 2.31 trillion on this scheme over five years beginning 1 April 2010, when the Act became effective. “Going beyond the evaluation of inputs that are provided to schools, in terms of classrooms, teachers and textbooks, it requires an analysis of the ways in which these inputs are organized and used by schools,” said the study, adding that learning outcomes need to be mapped.

The study found that 33.87% of the standard III students it interviewed in Rajasthan and 50.92% of those in Andhra Pradesh could read only two-letter words—a level expected of standard one students.

In Mathematics, the situation was worse. “In standard IV, less than a fourth of all children could do a numerical three-digit subtraction problem,” the report said.

A key pointer of the RTE is to make learning student-friendly but the on-ground situation is far from ideal, the study said.

Also See | Report Card (PDF)

It adds that though the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry claims a student enrolment of above 95% in primary schools, attendance was low. In standard IV, for example, nearly half of the students were found absent.

“There is an urgent need to move the focus from tracking the enrolment to tracking and understanding participation in school. This includes basic measurement of who is in school and for how long,” the report underlined. An official in the HRD ministry said the government was aware of some of the problems and was working on ironing them out. “The Act has three years to be implemented and you have to make the first move someday. While we appreciate reports on the state of school education, it is unfair to expect a golden system on day one. Things are changing and the real impact can be seen few years from now,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

Vimala Ramachandran, head of ERU Consultants Pvt. Ltd, a firm that tracks the education sector, said that at the primary level “there is a cumulative burden of non-learning”.

Teachers are not properly trained and all training activities are an eyewash, she said, pointing out that according to Pratham’s Assessment Survey Evaluation Research, in a 30-minute class, teachers were absent from the classroom for at least one-third of the time. “I think the government must devise a way so that teachers training improves in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).”

The report suggests that for successful implementation of the RTE Act, school textbooks need an urgent revision with a realistic vision on teaching and learning.

“Teachers recruitment and training policies need to assess teachers’ knowledge but more importantly their ability to explain content to children, make information relevant to their lives to use teaching learning materials and activities other than the text book,” it said. The report adds that involving families in the teaching process will improve learning outcome and schools need to promote instruction in the mother tongue.

The HRD ministry official said the ministry has introduced an eligibility test for teachers to gauge aptitude. The first national test was conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education in July.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pay Rs 900 to get HS answersheets

Pay Rs 900 to get HS answersheets

Any student who wants to get a copy of his HS Board examination answerscript under the Right to Information Act has to shell out Rs 900. The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, however, has put the cost to Rs 200. This after the Supreme Court had allowed the disclosure of answerscripts of any examination conducted by any agency in India, under the RTI Act.

The argument given by both the boards for charging the fee is that the entire process of providing answerscripts is an “arduous task that involves expenses on the part of the board and considerable involvement of manpower”. “We have to collect the answerscripts from where it is stored. Then we have to get its photocopy, and then give it to candidate,” said Mukhtinath Chattopadhyay, president, West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education. Chattopadhyay, however, added that the fees could be modified if the state government wants it to be changed.

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Similarly, Chaitali Dutta, president of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, said that the board has decided to charge a fees of Rs 100 if a student wants to see their copy and Rs 200 for the getting the copy of answerscripts.

Soon after the apex court order in the second week of August, RTI applications for seeking answerscripts have started pouring. THe HS Board has received at least 50 RTI applications.

Apart from the two state boards, West Bengal School Service Commission, have also come up with its own fees structure. The agency is charging Rs 6 per page for showing the answerscripts and Rs 15 per page for providing the photocopy of answerscripts.

RTI activists have slammed the decision of charging the “hefty” fees from the students. “As per the provision of the RTI Act, other than the charge of Rs 10 in form of court fees or an IPO, Rs 2 is taken per page as the cost of stationery. The fees imposed by state board is against the spirit of the Act,” said Sabir Ahamed, an RTI activist. Others feel that the high cost of fees is being levied to prevent many students from exercising the right to see their answerscripts through RTI.

Network planned to keep tabs on RTE Act implementation

Network planned to keep tabs on RTE Act implementation
Publication: THE HINDU
Date: Fri, 2011-09-30

The Tamil Nadu chapter of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been mobilising the civil society to form an ‘informal network' to monitor the implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE Act)-2009 according to Henry Tephagne, State representative of the NCPCR.

This network would comprise non-governmental organisations, social outfits and consumer activists, Mr. Tephagne told TheHindu on the sidelines of the meeting with the representatives of the Education Department, academics and others here on Thursday. The members of the network would point out the lapses in the implementation of the Act to the Education Department and to the NCPCR. They would act as a pressure group to prevail upon the officials to take appropriate remedial measures.

The NCPCR would take up serious issues that would have a bearing on the larger student community. He had already convened such meetings in two districts and the remaining districts would be covered in two months.

During his interaction with a broad spectrum of people, he came to know that many schools were facing certain common problems such as unfilled vacancies in teaching posts, lack of basic amenities, violence against students, and non-availability of teachers in remote areas and hilly terrain.

In the private schools, the focus of the network would be to ensure that 25 per cent of the admission was provided to the downtrodden, to avert corporal punishment and to oversee that the schools follow the Samacheer Kalvi Thittam, Mr. Tephagne said. He said that adequate safeguards would be made to make the members of the network to seek redress to the problems plaguing the schools and the curriculum, and, not to throw around their weight.

Addressing the gathering. Mr. Tephagne said that the Act called for scrapping of the Parents-Teachers' Associations and the Village Education Councils and in their place suggested formation of the School Management Committees with parents constituting 75 per cent of the members (including women), elected representatives of the local bodies, academicians and senior teachers.

Mr. Tephagne called upon Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to do the needful and also insist upon the Centre to allot the requisite funds, at least in the initial stages, to create the facilities as required under the Act.


Call for review of Uniform Syllabus

Call for review of Uniform Syllabus
Liffy Thomas
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The first term of this academic year officially gets over on Saturday for government and aided schools, with students breaking for a holiday after writing their last exam. The last few months especially have been chaotic for schools, teachers, students and parents.

After the confusion over which syllabus to follow ahead of the implementation of ‘Samacheer Kalvi' syllabus for all classes to the wait for getting new set of textbooks, each of the stakeholders was party to it in some way or the other. While it is too early to review the Uniform System of School Education, educationists are planning to campaign to ensure this is continued even next year with appropriate changes to the quality of content in the textbooks.

T. Singaravel, a class VIII student of Kumararani Meena Muthiah Higher Secondary School, rushing to catch the train after his exams, agrees his textbooks are much more appealing than the previous years. But, he finds English, especially grammar, tough. While there is bound to be some level of difference in syllabus as the four streams – S.S.L.C., Oriental, Anglo-India and Matriculation – are brought together with a common textbook, there should be scope for changes and correction, experts note.

S. Muthukumaran, former Vice-Chancellor, says that errors in textbooks are not unusual, but there should be a feedback mechanism where suggestions are taken and the content, improved upon.

“The School Education Department should invite textbooks from anyone who can write one and prescribe the best for schools, which is how Universities do - they only frame the syllabus,” he said.

A consultation on the status of the Uniform System of School Education, organised by Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation, Society for Integrated Rural Development and Legal Aid for Women Trust held here on Friday.

The School Education Department has also cleared the confusion through a recent circular by clarifying that students of class VII to X can continue to learn the language of their choice.

Many parents and schools are upset as students have still not received textbooks for certain subjects.

Hectic term ahead

With unexpected holidays being declared because of the monsoon, the coming terms are not going to be all that easy. “Children had fun taking part in activities. Second term, however, will get busier and will also be more planned,” says Gowri Sivakumar, mathematics teacher, Sri Sankara Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Thiruvanmiyur.

Keywords: Samacheer Kalvi, Uniform System of School Education

Children above 14 can work, says ILO

Kerala | Posted on Sep 30, 2011 at 08:51am IST

KOTTAYAM: Taking up a job at a young age will make children independent in future, if it does not affect education, health and growth of the child, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Cambodia, IPEC chief technical advisor M P Joseph has said. Children above the age of 14 can take up jobs, provided the jobs are suitable to the child and they do not affect the safety, he said while delivering a lecture on the ‘International Labour Organisation and India; the past, present and the future’ at Mahatma Gandhi University here.

This will help them fund their education and help the country in solving illiteracy, he said. Joseph said the future was going to be technology-driven and that the country could not afford to have a section of population illiterate. Travelling in a metro train or using a credit card need literacy.

He said that one of the main reasons for illiteracy was the attitude of a particular section of society as it considered education as a privilege of the rich.

He said the government’s ‘Sarva Siksha Abhiyan’ was bringing about tremendous changes in society as more children are getting the facility of education. Joseph also praised the government for introducing Right to Education Act. However, he felt that the youth of the country were being deprived of getting training on improving their skills. �

It is high time we thought in that direction and making it a right for those around the age of 14, he said. Joseph felt that the government was aware of it and would come out with a programme on these lines.

Praising India for launching Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Programme, he described it as revolutionary and unique which would go a long way in removing� social injustice. Any scheme guaranteeing jobs should be encouraged and protected, he said.

Referring to the relevance of labour laws at private companies, he said that anycompany operating in a sovereign country was bound by the rules and regulations, and was committed to implementing labour laws. �

He said that Special Economic Zones were also subject to labour laws and there was no exemption for such zones to flout rules which protect the interest of the workers. He said that the ILO was committed to improving the dignity of the workers. However, labour laws should be flexible and should be in tune with the prevailing scenario, he said.

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CBSE amends bylaws in line with RTE rules

CBSE amends bylaws in line with RTE rules
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Express News Service
Posted: Sep 30, 2011 at 0125 hrs IST

New Delhi 11,000 schools including those abroad told to implement changes, screening procedure of students and parents scrapped

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has amended rules in its affiliation and examination bylaws, besides the screening process during admission, so they can fall in line with provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The board sent a circular recently to all the heads of its affiliated schools, stating: "In pursuance of the implementation of the Right of Children to Compulsory Education, which came into force in 2010, the CBSE has amended/added rules in its affiliation and examination bylaws to be in consonance with the provisions of the said Act."

CBSE has told all its 11,000 schools, including institutions in India and abroad, to make a note of all the amendments and "bring the same to the notice of everybody concerned". In rule 11.1 of the affiliation bylaw, which deals with school admissions, CBSE has made an addition.

Made in accordance with Section 13 (1) of the RTE Act, the addition deals with the issue of admissions.

The current rule says: “Fee charges should be commensurate with the facilities provided by the institution. Fees should normally be charged under the heads prescribed by the Department of Education of the state/UT for schools of different categories. No capitation fee or voluntary donation for gaining admission in the school or for any other purpose should be charged/collected in the name of the school. In case of such malpractices, the board may take drastic action, also leading to the disaffiliation of the school.”

In the amended bylaw, the CBSE has added: “The school should not subject any child or parent or guardian to any kind of screening procedure.”

In consonance with Rule17 of the RTE Act, CBSE has made additions on the issue of harassment of students, with the inclusion of mental harassment. While the existing affiliation bylaw reads “He/she will be charged with cruelty towards any student or any employee of the school,” the amended bylaw goes, “He/she is charged with cruelty/physical punishment or mental harassment towards any student or any employee of the school.”

Another amendment concerns the change of syllabi at the middle-school level. While the existing bylaw says, “the request for approval of middle school syllabus should be made only at the level of class VI,” the new rule clearly stipulates: “The request for approval of middle school syllabus should be made when the school has reached the Class V level.”

'RTE: Registration must for govt, pvt schools'

'RTE: Registration must for govt, pvt schools'
TNN Sep 30, 2011, 01.21PM IST

Right To Education Act

PATNA: HRD principal secretary Anjani Kumar Singh on Thursday said that both government and private schools have to be compulsorily registered under the Right To Education (RTE) Act. District education officers across the state have to get the government schools registered, for which the last date is November 12.

He lamented that despite the mandatory 25% quota for admission of underprivileged children in private schools under the RTE Act, only 3,500 children were enrolled in Class 1 so far. A sum of Rs 1.75 lakh has been allotted for the education of these enrolled children, he said and added that a difference between schools and shops has to be established. He said that in next five years all school teachers in government and private schools will have to be trained ones.
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He said that the Children Rights Protection Commission has been empowered to hear complaints and settle the matter relating to violation of the provisions of RTE Act.

Singh said that 243 acres of land, located seven kms away from Kishanganj town, has been made available for the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) extension centre. The state government will provide road link to this spot, he said.

He said that a State Education Quality Mission has been set up. Under this mission, a detailed guideline christened "Samajhen Sikhen" has been developed with 20 pointers to ensure quality primary education. He said that under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 19,303 primary schools had been opened against a target of 21,419. The rest schools would be opened by the end of this year. The promotion procedure for teachers has been made simple, for which new promotion regulations has been notified.

He said that 1.5 lakh classrooms had been constructed in the state and 74,000 more classrooms would be constructed. He said that Lok Shikshan Kendras would be opened in every panchayat. As many as 30,000 primary teachers have been appointed and one lakh more primary teachers would be appointed, for which an entrance test would be conducted, he said.

Bihar Diwas: Singh said the state government would get art works done by noted artists Subodh Gupta, Sanjeev Singh, Razat Ghosh and others for the Bihar Diwas function. World Cup kabaddi would be held in Patna from March 1 to 4, 2012 on this occasion. All India football tournament and All India police meet would be the other programmes to be organized. He said that National Science programme would be organized here from November 11 to 16.

Himachal does away with 10+1 board exam

Himachal does away with 10+1 board exam
TNN Oct 16, 2011, 05.01AM IST

HP Board of School Education

SHIMLA: Giving much relief to school children taking successive board examinations at Class X, Class 11 (Ten plus 1) and Class 12 (Ten plus 2) levels, the state government has decided to do away with the board examination in Class 11.

A government spokesman announced on Saturday that the state government has notified that from the year 2012 the 10+1 examination, which was otherwise being conducted by HP Board of School Education (HPBSE), would be discontinued.

NAC suggests blanket ban on child labour

NAC suggests blanket ban on child labour
Subodh Ghildiyal & Nitin Sethi, TNN Oct 22, 2011, 02.10AM IST

National Advisory Council|
ban on child labour

NEW DELHI: The Centre could impose a blanket ban on child labour below 14 years - a difficult task to carry out in view of the massive underage workforce but a significant step in the direction of pushing children towards education. Presently, the Child Labour Act permits children below 14 to work in some non-hazardous industries.

The National Advisory Council (NAC), which came back to life with Sonia Gandhi's return after medical leave, finalized the changes to be made to the Child Labour Act on Friday with a strong endorsement from the Congress chief. It will now be sent to the government for action.
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Sonia stayed engaged throughout the two-hour NAC deliberations on a clutch of issues including pre-legislative consultations and urban poverty. While the meeting opened with members wishing her speedy recovery, the chairperson thanked them and got on with the agenda.

The changes to Child Labour Act are significant since it has been difficult to crack down on the practice because of rampant poverty and massive employment of underage children.

The NAC is learnt to have concluded that there has to be a complete ban on employment of children under 14.

The discussions were piloted by Harsh Mander and saw participation of Aruna Roy, Narendra Jadhav and Farah Naqvi.

It has also been decided that there would be regulation of workforce between 14-18 years with permission only to work in non-hazardous industries.

Crucially, the suggested amendment will ensure that parents of the children are not criminalized and the onus for the malpractice is squarely on employers.

The implementation of child labour law could be shifted from labour departments to district magistrates who, it was suggested, would be more hands-on in detection and could themselves lead the rehabilitation efforts. Rehabilitation is the only way to prevent children from relapsing into their work after being rescued.

Child labour has been a sensitive issue in the Indian social milieu where poverty has often been cited for children supporting their families. However, it was argued within the NAC that the reverse was also true and as long as child labour continued, children could not get out of poverty. So, they needed to be pushed towards education instead.

The crucial issue of how effectively such a stringent law could be implemented agitated the council members with many pointing to the failure of the present liberal laws.

Govt circulars on fees, detention of students violate RTE: NCPCR

Govt circulars on fees, detention of students violate RTE: NCPCR
SPosted: Sat Oct 22 2011, 04:03 hrs Kolkata:
Two notifications issued by the previous Left Front government have been found to be in violation of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE).

Officials of National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), who were in Kolkata to attend a state-level public consultation on RTE and child trafficking, pointed out this.

The first notification was issued on January 6 this year and was on corporal punishment. It stated that punitive action against a student on extra academic work, removing a child temporarily from classroom, prohibiting a child from sports and other co-curricular activities shall not be treated as corporal punishment.

“According to the notification, children can be made to stay back after school hours, can be given extra work and fines can also be imposed on them for indiscipline. These are all violative of the provisions of Right to Education Act,” said Shanta Sinha, chairperson of NCPCR.

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Sinha argued that the words used in the gazzette notification should also be changed. For instance, Sinha said, words like discipline should be replaced with engagement.

Another notification issued by the state school education department on February 14 that has not gone down well with the NCPCR is about the fees imposed on the student. The notification states that no school getting part or full aid from the state government can charge fees or expenses of not more than Rs 240 a year till the completion of elementary education. The commission said the provision of imposing Rs 240 as fees is also against the RTE provision, which clearly states that no fees can be charged from the child by the government.

She said that she will write to the state government to repeal these notifications.

The NCPCR officials expressed surprise that such notifications were issued by the state government despite the fact that RTE Act came into force from April1, 2010 across the country.

Sinha said West Bengal, which is one of the five states yet to frame rules for RTE, will have to amend the wrongs done and withdraw these notifications.

“There is no excuse why the West Bengal government cannot have a state commission for protection of child rights (SCPCR) when other states have. We will urge the state government to implement this with urgency,” Sinha added.

स्कूलों में अब होगी बायोमीट्रिक हाजिरी!

स्कूलों में अब होगी बायोमीट्रिक हाजिरी!

Source: bhaskar news | Last Updated 07:59(22/10/11)

मुंबई ग्राम विकास विभाग राज्य की छह तहसीलों के स्कूलों में अब बायोमीट्रिक हाजिरी शुरु करने जा रहा है। विभाग फिलहाल विदर्भ के वर्धा जिले की देवली और अमरावती जिले की धारणी तहसील में यह अनूठा प्रयोग प्रारंभ करने जा रहा है। 31 दिसंबर से प्रारंभ होने जा रही यह विशेष योजना शिक्षक और विद्यार्थी दोनों पर अनिवार्य रूप से लागू होगी। ग्राम विकास मंत्री जयंत पाटील ने शुक्रवार को इस विशेष योजना की जानकारी देते हए बताया कि नांदेड़ में शिक्षा घोटाले के मद्देनजर ग्राम विकास विभाग ने राज्य के सभी छह संभागों में बायोमीट्रिक प्रणाली द्वारा शिक्षकों और विद्यार्थियों की हाजिरी दर्ज कराने का फैसला किया है। प्रारंभ में प्रत्येक संभाग की एक तहसील के स्कूलों में यह योजना लागू की जायेगी। फिलहाल नागपुर की देवली और अमरावती की धारणी तहसील को इस योजना के लिए चुना गया है।

इसके बाद मराठवाड़ा की मुदखेड़, पश्चिम महाराष्ट्र की वाडवा, नासिक की संगमनेर और ठाणो की वाड़ा तहसील के स्कूलों में इस योजना का शुभारंभ किया जायेगा। ग्राम विकास सचिव सुधीर ठाकरे ने बताया कि इन तहसीलों के करीब 1100 स्कूलों में बायोमीट्रिक प्रणाली से हाजिरी दर्ज करने की प्रक्रिया शुरू की जाएगी।

ये है योजना
> शिक्षक और विद्यार्थी दोनों पर अनिवार्य रूप से लागू होगी।
> प्रत्येक संभाग की एक तहसील के स्कूलों में लागू की जायेगी।
> 1100 स्कूलों में बायोमीट्रिक प्रणाली से हाजिरी दर्ज करने की प्रक्रिया शुरू की जाएगी।

Child rights body criticizes police inaction

Child rights body criticizes police inaction
TNN Oct 22, 2011, 02.09AM IST

social welfare department|

KOLKATA: A 16-year-old girl goes out of home to visit her aunt and goes missing on May 25, 2010 in Joynagar's Chandaneswar. Her father Gobindo, exasperated at police inaction, decides to seek help of an NGO. "It is my daughter I want back," Gobindo says. While police probe drew a blank, Gobindo traced a possible suspect and his cell-number. Giving it to the police elicited no response. Just five days back, Joynagar police wrote to the cell-phone service provider seeking call details and tower location. The reason isn't hard to gauge - police had to attend a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) hearing in Kolkata on Friday morning.
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The NCPCR hearing at Town Hall on Friday was aimed to identify what ails South 24-Paraganas police while probing cases of child trafficking. Initially, 50 such cases from the district were reported to NCPCR. A fortnight later 15 cases were "solved" after the Rights body shot off a missive seeking detailed report. Among the remaining 35, NCPCR decided to hold a "public hearing" for 18 cases where no headway was made in spite of available evidence. And it was during this hearing that the district police drew came in for flak. The "public hearing" wasn't only about lambasting police, it also spotted a few lacunas on why some three districts in Bengal - Malda and Murshidabad being others - are slowly becoming the country's biggest child trafficking source.

Dr Shantha Sinha, NCPCR chairperson, said, "There are far too many gaps observed. On a case-to-case basis we gave directions to take action. There has to be a far greater seriousness involving cases against children. This is completely lacking." Sinha said, "There is a lack of coordination among the various state departments particularly the juvenile justice board, child welfare committee, state welfare department and police. Anti-trafficking cells should be more active. We hope that since a new government has taken charge, they will review and monitor these cases with due seriousness and work with states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan where most of these children are being trafficked." There are far too many gaps."

Social Welfare Department principal secretary Tuktuk Kumar , who has recently taken charge, said, "This effort by the NCPCR will go a long way to identify the problems and then redress those." ASP (Headquarters), South 24-Paraganas, Nupur Prasad, whose colleagues came in for much faced criticism by the NCPCR jury, also mentioned a few genuine problems. dogging investigation to the jury. Prime among them was a complete lack of coordination between NGOs and police. In some cases, proper facts were not represented to the jury even drawing a remark from retired justice Samaresh Banerjea that in some cases even parents could be involved (in selling of their children). Joynagar police station officer-in-charge Ram Mondal referred to a specific case where police had arrested the accused based on the complaint but wasn't informed that the victim had been rescued by an NGO and handed back to her parents. In a Diamond Harbour case, it was mentioned to a jury that a teenage girl was missing in Kamarpole, Sarisha on May 5, this year. An FIR was lodged and the accused Bakkar Molla was also arrested. The victim's family, however, gave three petitions to police asking them to drop the case claiming their child was "happily married" in New Delhi. Once police did so, they complained to the NCPCR saying their child is still missing. But then barring these two few cases, Mondal's usual refrain in the other cases lodgedin Joynagar, was "the case is under investigation and a report has been sent to CID's Missing Person Bureau." But he chose not to reply to questions on why no follow-up was done with the CID., which infact has an anti-child trafficking cell.
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An NGO member s as well. It drew remarks like, "Why are you so insensitive? Would you have the done if it were your own child?" from the jury.

Rishi Kant member of an NGO Shanti Vahini, said, "Police are not treating these cases seriously." In one case (among the 18), a few FIR mentions prostitution when the complaint only says the girl has gone missing. How can the police jump to such conclusions without even investigating? Their opinion is already made." Satyagopal Dey, AGM CRY, said, "The state has to show more intent. There are ample provisions laid down which are yet to be implemented here. Mere criticism of police isn't the solution, the infrastructure and manpower issues need to be addressed first." Dey said, "Instead of having dedicated officers, if every second officer in a police station is appointed a child welfare office - something which even the officer isn't aware of - there is little hope," he said.

West Bengal pilloried for dismal educational record

West Bengal pilloried for dismal educational record

Friday October 21, 2011 10:14:23 PM, IANS

Kolkata: A public hearing conducted by National Commission Protection Child Rights (NCPCR) unveiled a horrific picture of the rampant violation of the right to education act in West Bengal's government schools.

The two-day-long hearing that concluded Friday dealt with Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, besides the issue of child trafficking in South 24 Parganas district.

"We heard many cases of violations of the right to education act," NCPCR Chairperson Shanta Sinha said. "We have seen cases were students in government schools have been charged money in the name of development fees and school fees."

She termed this a total contradiction. "The act provides for free and compulsory education between the age group of 6-14 years," Sinha said at a press conference here.

"The teacher-student ratio was also not maintained according to the act," she said. "There were no proper bathroom facilities for girls, no proper drinking water in many schools. There has also been discrimination on the basis of caste and creed."

Sinha mentioned a case study were a tribal student was given a seat in a tribal hostel against a fee of Rs.1,000.

"It is really astonishing that there is such corruption," Sinha said. "A tribal student was given a seat in tribal hostel against a fee, although the tribal hostel is free for tribal students."

Sinha also pointed out the lack of coordination and lethargy among social welfare departments and investigating agencies. She also said that coordination between various states should be done properly to bring back children trafficked to other states.

"We have heard numerous child trafficking cases, where parents face lot of problems in lodging complaints about missing children. Even if the complains are lodged, a lot of time is taken in starting investigation. Effective coordination is needed between both the police and social welfare department," Sinha said.

Over 50 non-judicial cases of child trafficking were lodged from South 24 Parganas district and brought to the notice of police stations and, subsequently, 15 days were given to them. A few cases were solved within this period but most remained unsolved.

The commission mandated that all laws, policies, programmes and administrative mechanisms were in consonance with child rights, as enshrined in the Constitution of the India and also the UN convention on the rights of the child.

Sinha demanded the immediate withdrawal of two state government orders passed in January and February: one listing alternative punishment to corporal punishment and another legitimising the levy of development fees on students.

"It has been said that a school can impose fine and penalties on a child. You can remove a student who is disruptive from the classroom. It has also been said that a child can be stopped from participating in sports and extra curricular activities," she said.

"Then money is being charged in many government schools," Sinha said. "This is a total violation of the right to education act."

Asked how West Bengal would be rated for preservation of child rights, Sinha said, "I won't make any comment now as I don't have the data but I can only say that child rights needs to be prioritized."

She also mentioned that newly formed West Bengal government should set up a state commission for the protection of child rights.

Positive development for education, social sectors

Positive development for education, social sectors
Although India’s Human Development Index (HDI) rose 21% between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008, the report has cautioned that health, nutrition and sanitation remain challenges for the country

The India Human Development Report released by the Institute for Applied Manpower Research of the Planning Commission on Friday indicates positive developments in education and the social sectors. Although India’s Human Development Index (HDI) rose 21% between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008, the report has cautioned that health, nutrition and sanitation remain challenges for the country.

Also See | Positive Development For Education, Social Sectors (PDF)

The report, which places Kerala at the top for achieving the highest literacy rate, quality of health services and consumption expenditure, shows the HDI of SCs, STs and Muslims are converging with the national average, a positive development that is attributed to good governance and massive social mobilization by various state governments.

Graphics: Ahmed Raza Khan/Mint

Compiled by Aswathy Gopalakrishnan

Orissa: Public Hearing highlighted gaps on RTE Implementation

Orissa: Public Hearing highlighted gaps on RTE Implementation
Friday, October 21, 2011
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Report by correspondent; Nimapara: Mamata Jena, a student of class 6th of Kamasasana village demanded that we don’t have separate classroom. Seven classes are controlled only by three teachers. Therefore, Classes are not conducted properly. Like Mamata, around 200 children and parents along with SMC Members from different villages of Kakatpur, Pipli, Delanga, Nimapara and Satasankha block attended the hearing and uttered various loopholes on the implementation of RTE Act.

The programme was organized in partnership with OJKSS, Care India, SIKSHASANDHAN and other local organizations.

Children, parents, members of SMC, social workers and volunteers put cases like school conducting examination, school in far distance, teachers vacancy, corporal punishment, dysfunctional of SMCs, school infrastructure, discouraging role played by local authorities before the panelists which were responded by panelists, Mr. Ambarish Rai, Board Member , NCE, Mr. Kamalakanta Tripathy, Secretary: AUPTF, Umesh Gupta and Haya Noor of NCE,Ms. Namrata Chaddha, Social Activist, ,Anil Pradhan, Secy. SIKSHASANDHAN, Digant Mohanty, Care India, and Nimapara Block Chairman Mr. Pradipta Khatoi.

The hearing programme was moderated by Naba Kishor Pujari and Subhashree Das of NCE. Among others, representatives from International NGOs like Save the Children, Oxfam India and other organizations and media peoples were present.

Many schools to stop screening KG students & parents

Many schools to stop screening KG students & parents
Shreya Bhandary & Yogita Rao, TNN | Oct 26, 2011, 07.11AM IST
Read more:screening KG students & parents|Right to Education|KG students|IQ
MUMBAI: This time of the year is usually a harrowing period for parents , especially those of the helicopter ilk, who prefer to map out their children's pre-primary education right up to their choice of career . But from this year onwards, the competitiveness of getting admission into kindergarten may ease as many schools are adhering to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The Act stipulates that schools cannot lay down conditions or screen or test parents and potential students . This year, a majority principals are following the directive.

But while principals say they will be unable to gauge whether a child can keep up with the curriculum without a screening process, parents have praised the rules. "The process of sitting through sessions of interviews at various schools and talking about our own education background just to my son into a school is irrational. How does interviewing me determine my son's IQ?" asked one parent whose son is already in kindergarten.

From brushing up on their English skills to drilling their children to "perform well" during the interview /test, parents have been known to go to great lengths to get their child into a prestigious school. Schools, too, have been known to lay down bizarre conditions such as asking parents for character certificates from the police and income statements to determine if they can afford "international trips" . Others have been known to deny a child admission on the grounds that the parents don't have an internet connection at home.

But the principals that TOI spoke to said that the majority of institutions should not be judged by the few schools that have imposed such "bizarre rules" . "Though we do not impose preconditions, we do look at the personality of potential students. We prefer accepting students whose parents are well-educated and working in profession fields as then we are assured of their role in helping the child cope with his/her studies outside class hours," said Rani Anthony , principal of Villa Theresa High School at Pedder Road.

Jose Kurien, principal of DAV High School, Nerul, said: "We give first preference to the siblings of our current students as well as children of our alumni. The next preference goes to students from the neighbourhood as per the rules, and the remaining seats are given on the basis of a lottery system."

A few schools, however, are not doing away with the screening process. The principals, who spoke to TOI on condition of anonymity, said that they will continue to conduct interviews for children as well as parents to judge the potential of a candidate. The website of a south Mumbai school, for instance, clearly states that the admission procedure involves parents being invited for a panel discussion and that students will be asked to attend a 'student interaction' program.

Non-Cong states against PM’s letter to students

Non-Cong states against PM’s letter to students
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 26, 2011

Students across several non-UPA ruled states will witness politics over education on Children's Day, November 14, when the school headmasters will read a note by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and another by the state chief minister in the morning assembly. The HRD ministry had decided to
mail a speech by PM Singh to over 13 lakh elementary schools all over the country to create awareness about Right To Education (RTE).

The PM's speech, Siksha Ka Haq (right to education), is intended to encourage children, parents and 60 lakh teachers in elementary schools to make more efforts to realise the right to education.

The HRD ministry wants to make all schools RTE compliant by March 2013, a daunting task considering the fund constraints and a huge shortage of teachers.

But, the non-Congress ruled states are not enthused and have described the PM's letter as politically-motivated.

"School education is a state subject and we were not consulted before taking a decision," said Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, during the National Development Council meeting. He would be writing to school children of his state on importance of education and efforts taken by the state government to promote school education.

Gujarat, another BJP ruled states, has also decided that CM Narendra Modi would be sending a letter addressed to children on Children's Day. "Education cannot be used for politics," a state government official said, reiterating that the HRD ministry cannot take a unilateral decision.

Punjab, which is going to polls early next year, has also told the HRD ministry that CM Prakash Singh Badal will also be sending a message for school children.

Sources said other non-Congress ruled states may follow suit.

To have maximum impact, the HRD ministry had decided to mail the PM's speeches in regional languages. A decision in this regard was announced at a recent meeting of state education ministers with HRD minister Kapil Sibal to create awareness about RTE.

Right to Education Act may face hurdles in Tripura

Right to Education Act may face hurdles in Tripura

AGARTALA, Oct 25 – The Right to Education Act would be difficut to implement in totality because of a few of its conditions, Tripura School Education Minister Tapan Chakraborty said.

The Minister, who spoke at the National Advisory Council meeting at New Delhi on Wednesday, said factors like infrastructural gaps, teacher-training and no-detention policy were likely to lead to serious problems in the days to come.

“In the schedule of the Act, there is specific mention of infrastructural requirements for all schools at the elementary state. For States with resource constraints like Tripura, it will be very difficult to make provision of all infrastructural requirements within the timeframe fixed by the Act,” Chakraborty said.

Stating that Tripura supported education guarantee for each child, he said, “to meet the requirement of minimum 45 teaching hours per week, we will have to fully segregate the classrooms for elementary stage from secondary sections. For this, a large number of additional classrooms will have to be constructed.”

In such a situation, availability of land in urban and semi-urban areas would be a very serious problem, he said.

Challenge would also be posed in creating permanent sources for providing safe and adequate drinking water to all children particularly in the hilly areas and playgrounds in urban areas, he said and sought funds from the Centre for assistance. – PTI

Despite HC order, state yet to notify right to education rules

Despite HC order, state yet to notify right to education rules
TNN | Oct 26, 2011, 06.22AM IST
Read more:Right to Education Act 2009|Madras High Court|Kapil Sibal|AIADMK government
CHENNAI: It's been nearly four months after theMadras high court directed the state government to notify the rules of the Right To Education Act 2009. Notification will effectively set the state moving towards achieving the objectives of the act . But the Tamil Nadu government , while issuing a few government orders after the act was passed in 2009, is yet to notify the rules .

Human resources development minister Kapil Sibal had recently named Tamil Nadu as one of the big states that have not notified the RTEAct yet .

The government has issued orders to enforce certain features of the RTE Act. For instance , it has directed that that no child is detained till Class 8, and schools abstain from corporal punishments . Recently , the AIADMK government issued an order to introduce the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation system in schools from the next academic year. The order said that the CCE was being brought in as it was a mandatory provision in the act .

But some child rights activists are not convinced that the state government is doing enough to implement the Act before the deadline in 2012. "Since the beginning of the year we have been hearing the same thing from the officials that the draft rules were submitted to the government and that the notification should be done by them . But nothing has happened even though a full assembly session has gone by . I condemn this delay . Even if the act is not notified right away I think the school education secretary could issue orders to set up an appropriate environment for the implementation of the act . The government could ensure that the school committees are set up , that there is no selection during the admission process , and that schools reserve 25% of the seats for under privileged children ," said special representative for TamilN aduin theNational Commission for Protection of Child Rights , Henri Tiphagne .

Others are hopeful that the state government will soon get into the action now that the local body elections areover .

K Shanmughavelayudham , convenor of the Tamil Nadu Forum for Creche and Childcare Services , said , "The state government has recently called for applications for the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights .This givesusthehope that the rules will soon be notified , then systematic implementation of the act will follow , because the rules will give guidelines on what steps oughttobetaken ."

No way to run schools

No way to run schools
Leah Verghese
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October 24, 2011:

The recent amendments to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Rules in Andhra Pradesh show that the state is embracing a model of high stakes assessment for schools, in order to ensure teacher accountability in primary education.The Rules provide that at the end of the academic year, wherever the performance of children in a subject/class falls below 60 per cent of the standards prescribed by the Academic Authority, the class teacher/subject teacher will be recommended by the local authority for penalty for committing a serious misconduct. If the performance of children in a subject/class, is above 90 per cent of the standards prescribed by the Academic Authority, the class teacher/subject teacher will be recommended by the local authority concerned for the best teacher award at the district/state level.
Failed model

The state government is on the verge of making the same mistakes as was made by the No Child Left Behind Act in the US (NCLB) . The NCLB Act passed in the US in 2001 mandates remedial action against schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress toward subject proficiency and graduation goals as defined by their respective states. The accountability requirements of the Andhra Pradesh RTE Rules will impact schools in rural and poorer areas. The targets are defined as absolute levels of performance in tests and are uniformly applied across the board to all schools. Thus irrespective of what a school's baseline is, it is expected to meet standards of class-level performance, in this case defined as 60 per cent in the test administered by the administrative authority.

Such high-stakes testing leads to a scenario where teachers will concentrate their energies on borderline children, those perceived to be close enough to the required test score that they can be pushed up if they are given some extra attention. There is no incentive for teachers to pay attention to and work on the children far below the required standard. As a result, such children will get neglected and in extreme circumstances, forced to drop out of school.

Another fallacy lies in measuring teacher and school effectiveness solely through test scores. Test scores fail to account for differences in socio-economic backgrounds of students. Inferences about school and teacher quality must account for the differences in students' socio-economic background, for example gender, caste, the income and educational levels of the parents, especially the mother and whether the child gets supplementary help from tutors or parents.

Research points towards the efficacy of adopting a more nuanced, flexible and value-added measure of student assessment that measures growth as well as achievement. In this approach, schools track the progress of each student year on year. Furthermore, differences in student background characteristics are controlled for, thereby isolating the contribution of schools and teachers to student learning. Such a system encourages teachers to pay attention to the lowest-performing children.

Accountability is crucial to improving learning achievement levels of school children in India and the fact that state governments are putting into place accountability systems is laudable. However, a poorly designed system focused on high stakes testing will hit the poorest and educationally backward students the hardest.

Keywords: Free, complusory education, assessment for schools, primary education, student assessment

India education: The chain school

India education: The chain school

Can a business model made famous by McDonalds revolutionize Indian education?
Jason OverdorfOctober 24, 2011 17:17

NEW DELHI, India — In a typical Delhi slum, sewage overflows from the drain alongside the street and scraps of colored paper and empty bottles tumble in the foul wind. Here and there, a spindly boy in threadbare briefs fetches water from the hand-pump and a baby, her eyes blacked with kohl, plays happily in the grime.

It's not an easy place to live. But even here, Ramesh Singh, a bicycle rickshaw driver, opted to send his son, Dhiraj, to a bare-bones private school when a pilot program for school vouchers gave him the chance several years ago.

“You saw when the teacher tested him,” Ramesh said. “He finished class three in government school, and he can't read anything!”

Read more: India gets kids to school but fails to teach

Rich or poor, Indians are abandoning the country's disastrously managed government-run schools in droves. Only about two-thirds of India's school-age children attend classes at all, and the fierce competition for places at private institutes means that waiting lists are enormous and it's difficult to win admission to any without pulling strings.

More discouraging still, because of its demographics India will need to build another 250,000 schools to meet its goal of universal enrollment by 2015. But that means there's a big opportunity, as well, some investors believe: India could well be the first country in the modern world where the business of educating kids from kindergarten through high school is, well, a business. Meet the would-be chain store of education: the Indus World School (IWS).

The school that Ramesh chose for Dhiraj, called R.S. Public School in homage to the legacy of Eton and Harrow, was not part of IWS or any other big corporation. When I visited the place, the paint was crumbling off the concrete walls. Its barred windows give it an aspect more penal than pedantic, and the children in the courtyard were forced to squint and shield their eyes against a fine grit whipped across the compound by the wind.

More: India's own Ivy League?

Still, at $6 a month, it cost less than the voucher that Ramesh received as part of a pilot program run by the Center for Civil Society, and the teachers actually showed up for work. Corporation-run chain schools would institute higher standards — perhaps even pioneering the franchise model in education.

"India needs entrepreneurs and organizations who are willing to build a scalable execution model of schools," said Satya Narayanan, chairman of Career Launcher. "In terms of numbers, these could translate into a chain of hundreds of schools over a five to seven year period."

With 14 schools in operation, mostly in second-tier cities but also including five rural schools, Indus World School has made a good start.

More: In India, plagiarism is on the rise

Earlier this year, the company secured second round financing from Gaja Capital Partners and sold an additional, undisclosed stake to Housing Development Finance Corp. for around $10 million — suggesting that the snowball is beginning to roll downhill. According to Narayanan, IWS hopes to operate 75 schools with over 40,000 students in five years time, which could pave the way for a wave of followers.

According to the entrepreneur, at least a dozen of India's large corporations are discussing similar ventures or investments. But the blue ocean market — 250,000 schools! — means he won't need to worry much about competition for bodies.

Nevertheless, Narayanan aims to make sure innovation isn't limited to the business model.

The company is steadily developing its own intellectual property for the curriculum, with a focus on age-appropriate linkages to career aspirations and higher education goals — music to the ears of middle-class Indian parents.

And the connection with Career Launcher — a test prep and college admissions advisory company that serves 100,000 from 225 outlets — ensures that IWS understands its target customers and their goals.

Can for-profit chain schools really step in where the state has failed — especially for students like Dhiraj Singh, whose parents can't afford to pay more than a pittance?

Studies of tiny, grassroots private schools and school vouchers suggest that the answer may be yes. So far IWS, like most elite Indian schools, offers scholarships for only a few hundred students. But the gathering momentum of the country's recently passed Right to Education law (RTE) could free up funds for private players.

"The RTE needs to be given an operating framework from the current 'intent' state," said Narayanan. "We can contribute immensely to [uplifting the poor] in just a generation if we can implement RTE smartly!"

An agenda for privatization of education?

Views | An agenda for privatization of education?
Cutting across much of the document is the assumption that resource gaps even in elementary education would continue and need to be met through private investment
Ambarish Rai & Anjela Taneja

A lot of hope rested on the 12th Five Year Plan. It was pitched as a peoples’ plan with inclusion as its byword. There was hope that it would finally allot sufficient resources for implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act and correct the historic neglect of the education sector. After all, the passage of the RTE Act itself took a 100 years with the legislation mired in the reluctance to invest commensurate with the scale of the problem. The coming plan period will be the deadlines to ensure that basic infrastructure is available in schools (2013) and that all teachers are trained (2015). The next plan is critical since several of the deadlines have so far been missed. Eight states, including the capital, Delhi, not yet as much as notified the rules necessary for its implementation.

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Let us not forget that, by the government’s own admission, India currently lacks toilet facilities in half its schools. Only a third of our schools are electrified. Over a million teacher vacancies exist, 55.8% schools fail to adhere to the revised pupil-teacher ratio norms and 12% of the teachers’ time is in any case spent on non-teaching activities in the absence of clerical support staff in schools. While education in government schools is nominally free, fees continue to be charged in several states and out-pocket expenses on education are disproportionately high in a poverty-ridden country like India. The education system falls far short of the vision of a common school system, with a high standard of education for the rich and a low standard for the poor and marginalized sections of society.

A resolution to these problems is unfortunately not reflected in the approach paper. To be fair, there are positive features. The intent to universalize secondary education by 2017 is welcome. The emphasis on teacher education is long overdue. Addition of physical education, games and sports in schools backed by adequate infrastructure in elementary education should ensure a more congenial environment. The intent to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms whereby social audit for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and mid-day meals (MDMs) with web-based monitoring for transparency and periodic and sustained third-party evaluations can be a critical positive feature, if implemented properly.

Having said that, there are several critical concerns. Cutting across much of the document is the assumption that resource gaps even in elementary education would continue and need to be met through private investment. This assumption in a time of 9% growth and in the face of a constitutional mandate to ensure universalization of education is difficult to comprehend. After all, given that the state is legally bound to ensure provision of the RTE to every child up to the age of 14 years, it is likewise bound to find the resources for the same. It is also not as if the amounts involved are so terribly huge. As a simple comparison, the funds lost to the national exchequer through the 2G scam equal the total amount needed for the Act’s implementation. Allocating a minimum 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for education is a long standing commitment reiterated in every government education policy and manifesto but looks to be on the way to remaining unfulfilled. Given the multitude of issues for which the government does manage to find resources, it is not that it cannot educate its young citizens; it simply does not consider it high enough priority.

This reluctance to invest in education leads to remedy of entering into public-private partnerships (PPPs) to leverage additional resources. There is no real reason to believe that partnerships with for-profit bodies would actually save costs for the state or significantly enhance quality. Further, worldwide historical precedent shows that only a public system of education can provide universalization of education. The assumption that private is better ignores the thousands of successful examples of government-run schools. Whole strands of educational systems like the Kendriya Vidyalaya schools exist that are as good as the best of the private, fee-charging expensive schools, belying the impression that all government schools are bad. These examples need to be learned from and replicated, instead of handing of schools to the private sector or seeking answers in the magical panacea of private engagement. There is enough evidence to show that private schools are usually exclusionary to the poor, the dalits, the muslims, the adivasis and children with disability. There is no real reason why PPP schools would be any different. Let us not forget that over 70% of India lives on less than Rs. 20 a day. The fees-charging private sector is unlikely to ensure equitable, quality education for this majority of the population. This emphasis runs counter to the spirit of the RTE, which holds the state accountable for ensuring education. Indeed, it is our hope that the immediate future would see a rational, fair and transparent mechanism of regulation of private providers of education to ensure inclusion of children from marginalised communities in schools and to minimize malpractice. For existing PPPs too, accountability systems require review, stronger regulation and transparency of agreements.

Overall, the approach paper also sees inadequate stress on inclusion and overcoming inequalities in the educational system.

Universalization of quality cannot be ensured without ensuring equity, given the fact that the most significant resource gaps are in areas with marginalized populations. An equitable quality public education system should be ensured for every child in India. The document claims that “it is not unreasonable to state that access is now more or less universalized”. A random look at any large city intersection would show that children are out of school and many of them are working. India continues to lack a minimum age of employment with the last census recognizing 6 lakh children under 6 as being employed. The labour ministry is still reluctant to impose a blanket ban on child labour, despite the passage of the RTE Act that mandates these child labourers should in full time schools. A strong public education system wherein all children receive quality and equitable education is the only solution that history has given for bringing all children into school. The large numbers of children out of school, especially at secondary level, is a direct consequence of the high rates of privatization. Let us not forget that India’s education system is already among the most privatized in the world. There is no need to accelerate this trend.

While the approach paper is committed to universalization of secondary education, it lacks the rights language, recommending that “PPP in secondary education be vigorously explored” instead. At the heart of the discussion is the matter of approach -- is secondary education going to be seen as a right, or a commodity outsourced to a wide range of providers? Several civil society activists hoped that the plan would push the boundaries of the delivery of education for excluded groups and include an upward revision of the RTE standards that most people would agree are rock bottom basics. Instead we got a document that does not even reflect the work that the government is already doing.

Almost half the chapter on education looks at higher education. Hopefully, this massive expansion would not be at the expense of the as yet incomplete agenda of school education. Unfortunately, here, too, the intent appears to be to further extend privatization and deregulation of an excessively privatized and corruption-prone sector. Reliance on for-profit, fees-charging institutions is likely to continue to exclude representatives from marginalized groups. The chapter goes as far as intending to reconsider the “not-for-profit tag” in higher education. Let us not forget that the best colleges across the world (including institutions like Harvard), are not-for-profit ones. There is no reason to assume that for-profit higher education providers in India would have a different experience. The intent to expand the vocational education net from the secondary level and effectively form yet another tier in the educational system whereby children are streamed into vocational education in school and stay there carries the risk of creating a discriminatory education system.

In conclusion, the approach paper fails to address the actual issues on the ground and lay down a vision for eradicating the educational inequalities of society. Indeed, it even fails to reflect the work already initiated by the government and constitutes a step back from work already undertaken towards strengthening the school system, choosing instead to opt for a wholehearted endorsement of privatization. Such a strategy would be dangerous in the long run. Let us not forget that India’s perceived demographic dividend of a young population can potentially turn into a demographic time bomb unless they are truly empowered through meaningful education.

Ambarish Rai and Anjela Taneja represent the RTE Forum, a network of networks and agencies on the Right to Education. Ambarish Rai is also the Convenor of the Peoples’ Campaign for Common School System, while Anjela Taneja is the lead specialist on education in Oxfam India.

RTE campaign is politically-motivated: non-Congress states

RTE campaign is politically-motivated: non-Congress states
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 24, 2011

Flaying the governments unique the Right to Education (RTE) Act awareness campaign which will be launched on November 11, non-Congress ruled states are calling it a "politically-motivated" move.
The HRD ministry has decided to mail a letter from the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
over 13 lakh elementary schools across the country to generate awareness about the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Called 'Shiksha ka Haq' (Right To Education), the awareness drive is intended to encourage children, their parents and the 60 lakh teachers in the elementary sector to make extra efforts to realise the right to education.

The HRD ministry wants to make all schools RTE compliant by March 2013, a daunting task considering the funds constraints and huge shortage of teachers in schools.

However, the non-Congress ruled states are not enthused about the campaign and describe the PM's letter as politically-motivated move. "School education is a state subject. But, we were not consulted before taking a decision," said Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, during the National Development Council meeting. He would write to school children of his state on importance of education and efforts taken by the state government to promote school education.

Gujarat, another BJP ruled states, has also decided that the state chief minister Narendra Modi would be sending a letter addressed to children on occasion of children's day. "Education cannot be used for politics," a state government official said, reiterating that the HRD ministry cannot take a unilateral decision.

Punjab, which is going to polls early next year, has also told the HRD ministry that the state chief minister Prakash Singh Badal will also be sending his message to school children.

Sources said other non-Congress ruled states may also follow suit.

To have maximum impact, the HRD ministry had decided to mail the PM's speeches in regional languages of the school going students. A decision in this regard was announced at a recent meeting of state education ministers with HRD minister Kapil Sibal to create awareness about RTE.

It would mean that the head masters in non-Congress rule states would have to read two messages during the morning assembly on the Education Day.

20 rural schools to get Class IX from next year

20 rural schools to get Class IX from next year
Vinobha K T Oct 24, 2011, 02.54PM IST

Mangalore: The school upgradation programme, introduced by central government through Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), will be a blessing for many students in rural areas of Dakshina Kannada.

Students and parents of 20 schools in the district need not go searching for educational institutions to the nearest towns, as Clas IX will be introduced in their schools under the upgradation programme from next academic year.

RMSA has decided to upgrade 20 government schools in rural areas by sanctioning additional funds to commence Class IX. If everything goes as per plan, those schools which have classes from standard one to eight only, will get Rs 60 lakh each for infrastructure development.

In fact, RMSA already upgraded three government schools (Sadashivanagara in Mulki of Mangalore, Saralikatte and Naravi in Belthangady) in 2010-11 and one school (Mullakkadu in Mangalore taluk) in 2011-12 on a pilot basis. With the upgradation of 20 more rural schools in 2012-13, more than 1,200 students studying in Class VIII will be able to continue their education in their same schools.

RMSA district assistant project co-ordinator Geetha Devadas told TOI that schools were identified based on a set of guidelines issued by the Central government. "As per guidelines, schools should have a minimum of 60 students in Class VIII. Further, the schools should have a minimum of two acres of attached land. A proposal with a list of 20 schools is sent to RMSA. Schools will be able to start the new classes in 2012-13, if central government approves the proposal," Geetha explained. "The schools may utilize the sanctioned amount for construction of additional classrooms and other infrastructure required for upgradation," she added.

HRD ministry approves upgradation of 49 junior high schools to high schools

HRD ministry approves upgradation of 49 junior high schools to high schools
Written by Imphal Free Press | October 24, 2011 | 0 Comments and 0 Reactions

IMPHAL, October 24: Under the initiative of the Union ministry of human resource development, the state education department has decided to upgrade 49 junior high schools to high schools and to further create 294 posts for graduate teachers, 116 posts for laboratory attendant and another 116 post for librarian cum assistants under Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

According to an official source, the central ministry has also approved the up-gradation of the said schools during its public advisory board meeting.

The central ministry has also approved for sanction of six posts of graduate teachers for each upgraded schools at two arts graduate teacher, one Science graduate teacher, one Mathematics graduate teacher and one English graduate teacher and one language graduate teacher.

Further according to the source, the ministry of HRD had approved up-gradation of 67 junior high schools in the year 2009-10 and 2010-11, for which RMSA has already completed the recruitment of graduate teachers. The concerned central ministry has also approved for sanction of one post of laboratory attendant and one post of librarian cum office assistant for each of the up-graded 166 Junior high schools since 2009-10.

The source further mentioned that, among these 67 schools, the state government in a recent cabinet meeting has approved creation of 67 posts of language graduate teachers including 18 for Manipuri, 1 for Bengali, 12 for Additional English, 2 for Nepali, 17 for Tangkhul, 6 for Ruangmei, 3 for Hmar, 2 for Paite and 6 graduate teachers for Thadou Kuki. Subsequently many tribal communities have submitted their representations to the state government for not including their language posts, the source added.

The source also mentioned that, out of the languages approved by the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur in HSLC examination, the languages left out in the last posts creation by the department are Hindi, Mizo, Zou, Vaiphei, Kom and Mao.

In the meantime considering the shortages of language teachers of different recognized communities, the state government has recently approved for the creation of 297 posts of graduate teachers which include 98 posts for Arts graduate teachers, 49 posts each for science graduate teachers, mathematics graduate teachers, English graduate teachers and language teachers respectively.

The 49 posts for language graduate teachers include three graduate teachers each in Hindi, Mizo, Zou, Vaiphei, Kom and Mao, 11 posts in Manipuri and 30 posts in Additional English are approved officially the official source added.

The 49 junior high schools which were approved for up-gradation to high school are eight Junior High schools under Imphal East including Y Tampha Junior High school at Sawombung, Kongpal Imphal Morning Jr. H/S, Tokhok Mapal Jr. H/S, Porompat Sabal Leikai Jr. H/S, Huikap Jr. H/S, Thamchet Jr. H/S, Jirighat Jr. H/S and Uchiwa Junior High School in Imphal west district.

Sora Junior High school and Chandrakhong Phangjangkhong Jr. H/S in Thoubal district, Tollen Jr. H/S and Lamlomg Khullen Jr. H/S in Chandel district, Kalhang Kuirei Jr. H/S, Kharasom, Jr. H/S, Chadong Jr. H/S, T Hundung, Jr. H/S, Sorbung, Jr. H/S, Maokot Jr. H/S, Kasung, Jr. H/S, Mawai, Jr. H/S in Ukhrul district, Nguylzapum, Jr. H/S, T. Kaizakhup, Jr. H/S, Lungchin, Jr. H/S, and Ningthiching Jr. H/S in Churachandpur district, Bhalok Jr. H/S, Thingra Jr. H/S, L. Sonpram Jr. H/S, Lenglong Jr. H/S, Lamlaba Jr. H/S, chaton Jr. H/S, Takou Jr. H/S, Oinamlong Jr. H/S, Thuilong Jr. H/S in Tamenglong district, Chalwa Jr. H/S, Makhan Jr. H/S, Yangkhullen Jr. H/S, Maiba Govt. Jr. H/S, Koide Govt. Jr. H/S, Gallam Jr. H/S, Chaningpokpi Jr. H/S, Mapao Keithelmanbi Jr. H/S, Mongbung Jr. H/S, Zalenphai Jr. H/S, Awang Longa Koireng Jr. H/S, Saitu Jr. H/S, Bungte Chiru Jr. H/S, Tingkai Khullen Jr. H/S, and Ponlen Jr. H/S in Senapti district, the official source added.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sibal holds talks with MPs over key pending bills

Sibal holds talks with MPs over key pending bills
Last Updated: Sunday, October 23, 2011, 18:29
Views 22 Comments 0
Tags: Kapil Sibal, Congress, Parliament
New Delhi: Concerned over delay in enactment of key bills relating to reforms in higher education, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has held discussions with several MPs, both from Congress and its allies, for smooth passage of these legislations in the Winter Session of Parliament.

"He (Sibal) held discussion last week with as many as nine MPs over the weekend to clear any doubts in their mind about the bills and the impact the legislations will bring about in the higher education sector," said a HRD Ministry official.

As many as 12 bills are pending in Parliament at present. The meeting assumes significance in light of the fact that MPs including those from ruling Congress itself have raised doubts over certain provisions of key bills which led to their deferment.

The Government had to face embarrassment in the Monsoon Session during the passage of IIIT D&M, Kancheepuram Bill, 2011 in Rajya Sabha after Congress MP J D Seelam demanded reservation for SC/ST and OBC students in the institute.

This had prompted the BSP, RJD and LJP along with the Left parties to seek proper discussion on the Bill.

The Educational Tribunals Bill 2010 was also deferred in the Monsoon Session last year after Sibal's colleague Keshav Rao wanted Sibal to honour parliamentary committee recommendations.

Officials said in the light of these objections, Sibal reached out to his own party colleagues. He also intends to hold discussions in this regard with the opposition parties before the Winter Session expected to begin next month.


A childhood in peril

A childhood in peril
Srinagar, Sat, 22 Oct 2011 ANI

Srinagar, Oct 22 (ANI): The startling political unrest in the Kashmir Valley in the summer of 2010 had prompted the Central Government to appoint a team of interlocutors to prepare a broad roadmap for the state. For over a year since their appointment in October 2010, the three members, Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M.

M. Ansari, have attracted much attention with their extensive interactions, culminating in their report submitted to the Government last week.

A lesser known step towards improving the situation, also taken during the long months of agitation, was a direction by the High Court to the J and K State Government in June 2010 concerning the detention of youngsters involved in the agitation, including the stone-pelters. The Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act(JJCPA), passed by the J and K State in 1997, has provisions for the setting up of juvenile courts and observation homes. Entangled in "official intricacies" since, the provisions of this Act are yet to be implemented. As a result, children continue to be jailed with adults under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978, which permits up to two years of preventive detention.

Social activists in Srinagar say it is unfortunate that the State has not implemented the JJCPA. "There is no Juvenile Court to hear the cases of the children and even after 14 years of propagation, the act still has not been implemented," points out Abdul Rashid Hanjoora, Advocate and renowned social activist. "In April 2009, I filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court. In 2010, the Division Bench directed the State Government to implement the JJCPA Act in letter and spirit in three months' time. Till date, the Government has failed to do so." He paused before adding, "Due to the unrest, I couldn't file a contempt case; I plan to do so shortly."

Though the rules are framed and approved by the Legislature, young boys are being booked under PSA and even normal offences are charged under the Ranbir Panel Code (RPC); applying the same procedures for children's cases as apply to adult offenders. "After arresting the delinquent children, police treat them at par with adults. They are kept with other prisoners and forced to undergo the same court procedure as other criminals. The experience rattles them," said Hanjoora.

During the unrest in 2010, many youth below the age of 18 were lodged in Central Jail, violating not just the provisions of JJCPA but also those of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India became a signatory in 1992.

"If established, Juvenile Courts could give proper hearing to the children who commit crime. If they are detained with adult criminals, they can inherit the same traits," warns Hanjoora. Juvenile courts would also strive for rehabilitation of such children. "They would be given special care so that their thinking changes. Their needs are fulfilled and their criminal tendencies minimized," he explained.

The purpose of the legislation was to protect children from exposure to the criminal culture and to rehabilitate them, which is often forgotten in the discussion. Unemployment and modern lifestyle have led to increase in the crime rates among the children, he believes.

As per the provisions of the JJCPA Act, special home/care homes are required to be built. Child Welfare Committees in each district must be constituted and the children tried in special Juvenile Justice Courts. These courts should have 3 members: one Presiding Officer who should be a Judicial Magistrate and two other members who are social workers, with one necessarily being a woman. There is not a single Juvenile Court in the state today.

Citing an example, Hanjoora shared that he has data to show that nearly 56 cases of juvenile dequilency under different laws are presently recorded in Baramulla District alone. "The numbers may well have gone up since" he mused.

Even if implemented, the JJCPA Act has inherent flaws that need to be corrected. The Act covers bail, custody and inquiry (trial) of juveniles suspected of committing an offence, but is silent on administrative detention. Worse, it defines juveniles as boys under the age of 16 and girls under the age of 18. This is in sharp contrast to the national Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, which defines a juvenile as anyone below the age of 18. The issue of minors' detention under Public Safety Act and then putting them in lock-ups instead of juvenile homes here since 2008 has evoked sharp criticism from the national and the international rights groups.

The right to life as enshrined by the Constitution of India makes the State responsible for ensuring that all the needs of children are met. The right to fair trial and, more recently, the right to free and compulsory primary education for children below the age of 14 are some of the rights of children violated due to the non implementation of the JJCPA Act.

Over a year after the High Court directive, the State Law Department cleared the draft for framing the new legislation on juvenile justice in Jammu and Kashmir in September 2011. The draft recommends a change in the definition of juvenile from the present 16 years to 18 years. It also incorporates the obligations of the State towards protecting child rights as mandated by the Central Juvenile Justice Act 2000 and the UN Child Rights Convention.

In August 2011, the Supreme Court took a step further to ensure the protection of child rights by directing the National Legal Services Authority to examine the availability of legal aid to children in Juvenile Justice Boards, specifically setting up Legal Aid Centres where pending cases are particularly high. The Charkha Development Communication network feels that the wait for justice should not get longer in the Kashmir Valley. By Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil(ANI)

PIL seeks commission for protection of child rights

PIL seeks commission for protection of child rights
Published: Saturday, Oct 22, 2011, 17:33 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

A division bench of the Gujarat high court comprising acting chief justice AL Dave and justice JB Pardiwala on Friday issued notices to the state government and others, regarding a PIL seeking the constitution of a commission for protection of child rights in the state.

The PIL has been filed by an NGO, Dalit Hak Rakshak Manch, through the lawyer, Bhushan Oza. According to the petition, the NGO had submitted a memorandum to the state Governor, Dr Kamla, mentioning the alarming number of child labourers in the state. In its memorandum, the NGO had also stressed on the need to constitute a commission under Section 17 of the Protection of Child Rights Act-2005.

The PIL states that a large number of children are currently engaged as child labour in the state in violation of the legal provisions against this. "The NGO had pointed out in its memorandum to the Governor that as per Census -2001 report, the number of child labourers in Gujarat was 4,85,530," the PIL says.

The petitioner has further stated that because of lack of effective rehabilitation policy, the rate of rehabilitation was extremely slow in Gujarat. Further, a survey sponsored by Unicef and covering the last 10 years, has reported that Gujarat is behind 21 other Indian states in immunisation coverage to children in the age group of 12-23 months, the PIL states.

The state government has already entrusted the task of commission for Protection of Child Rights to the Commission for Protection of Women's Rights. However, there are many impediments and obstructions in entrusting a single commission with two tasks, the petitioner said.

The women's commission is overburdened, and the infrastructure available with it is inadequate to deal with the magnitude of issues and problems. Hence, a separate commission for children should be constituted, the PIL stated.