Sunday, February 19, 2012

No action taken against complaints on DoE portal

No action taken against complaints on DoE portal
New Delhi, Feb 13, 2012, DHNS:

DoE officers say grievances ‘forwarded’

The Directorate of Education’s online grievance redressal mechanism is not working effectively, allege experts. There are over 500 complaints on the website but no action has been taken against any school mentioned in these complaints for flouting rules.

Sita Ram had applied for his child’s admission in Darbari Lal DAV Model School in Shalimar Bagh, under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in January, 2011.

After running from pillar to post for almost 11 months with no explanation given by the school for rejecting his application, he filed a written complaint in December, 2011 to the school authorities and an online complaint on the Directorate of Education’s website.

The school cited three reasons for rejecting his application: “The resident proof is dated October 18, 2008 which is less than three years. Date of birth is September 15, 2007 -- the child will turn three plus on March 31, 2011 -- and income certificate is dated October 1, 2011 -- not before March 31, 2011.”

However, Khagesh Jha, a Supreme Court advocate, said the candidate meets the criteria. According to the given documents, the family has been staying in Delhi since three years.

It is not right to disqualify the child if he aged three plus, which is in accordance with the nursery admission guidelines, and the income certificate is rightly annexed as any income certificate is considered invalid after six months.

Vague response

“The school forwarded this letter to the Directorate of Education which blindly responded in favour of the school’s explanation and rejected Sita Ram’s application. The government should initiate an inquiry against DoE officers who are helping unaided schools openly violate DoE guidelines,” said Jha.

DoE officials declined to comment on the issue.

There are also complaints regarding sale of forms at inflated prices, schools charging money for EWS forms and schools not being transparent about the admission procedures.

No action

Parents allege that the DoE officers do not take action and mention on the website that the grievance has been forwarded to the concerned department.

“I had filed a complaint regarding Mount Abu School charging Rs 200 for EWS forms when they are supposed to be given for free. The DoE did not act on it. What are we supposed to do if authorities do not cooperate with us,” asked Rishi Toshniwal, who applied at several schools for his son’s admission this year.No action taken against complaints on DoE portal
New Delhi, Feb 13, 2012, DHNS:

DoE officers say grievances ‘forwarded’

The Directorate of Education’s online grievance redressal mechanism is not working effectively, allege experts. There are over 500 complaints on the website but no action has been taken against any school mentioned in these complaints for flouting rules.

Sita Ram had applied for his child’s admission in Darbari Lal DAV Model School in Shalimar Bagh, under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in January, 2011.

After running from pillar to post for almost 11 months with no explanation given by the school for rejecting his application, he filed a written complaint in December, 2011 to the school authorities and an online complaint on the Directorate of Education’s website.

The school cited three reasons for rejecting his application: “The resident proof is dated October 18, 2008 which is less than three years. Date of birth is September 15, 2007 -- the child will turn three plus on March 31, 2011 -- and income certificate is dated October 1, 2011 -- not before March 31, 2011.”

However, Khagesh Jha, a Supreme Court advocate, said the candidate meets the criteria. According to the given documents, the family has been staying in Delhi since three years.

It is not right to disqualify the child if he aged three plus, which is in accordance with the nursery admission guidelines, and the income certificate is rightly annexed as any income certificate is considered invalid after six months.

Vague response

“The school forwarded this letter to the Directorate of Education which blindly responded in favour of the school’s explanation and rejected Sita Ram’s application. The government should initiate an inquiry against DoE officers who are helping unaided schools openly violate DoE guidelines,” said Jha.

DoE officials declined to comment on the issue.

There are also complaints regarding sale of forms at inflated prices, schools charging money for EWS forms and schools not being transparent about the admission procedures.

No action

Parents allege that the DoE officers do not take action and mention on the website that the grievance has been forwarded to the concerned department.

“I had filed a complaint regarding Mount Abu School charging Rs 200 for EWS forms when they are supposed to be given for free. The DoE did not act on it. What are we supposed to do if authorities do not cooperate with us,” asked Rishi Toshniwal, who applied at several schools for his son’s admission this year.

Mr and Mrs 55: Ahujas' son was denied admission in 55 schools in city

Mr and Mrs 55: Ahujas' son was denied admission in 55 schools in city

By Suhas Munshi

Setting the alarm at 2 am and rushing to queue up in front of a school in the knuckle-crunching Delhi winter cold for that elusive nursery admission form!

That was the routine Jagdeep Singh Ahuja tenaciously followed for most of this winter for his son - who has seen just three summers of his life but old enough to begin his long academic journey. Ahuja's labour of love, however, didn't bear fruit.

Altogether 55 schools have 'rejected' his applications. Sparing no effort to get his child admitted to a school in Delhi, Ahuja applied in 55 schools. But his son has not made it to the first list of any of the schools.
The child (right) has not made it to the first list of nursery admissions of any school

The child (right) has not made it to the first list of nursery admissions of any school

The points system hasn't been any good to Ahujas. Neither his alumnus status nor the home-to-school 'distance factor' could see his son through. In fact, Ahuja lives close to several schools in south Delhi.

People who have survived the agony of the rigorous nursery admission process in the Capital sympathised with the Ahujas.

But they admit that Ahuja has made a record of sorts by applying in so many schools. The previous record was held by another south Delhi parent. He applied in 27 schools.

This time around there was an unprecedented number of applications in all schools.
Denied: Jagdeep Singh Ahuja's son has been rejected from 55 schools in the city

Denied: Jagdeep Singh Ahuja's son has been rejected from 55 schools in the city

'In a survey conducted last year, the majority of parents applied in around five schools. This time a sample survey comprising 2,500 parents revealed that more than 50 per cent of them applied in more than 10 schools,' Sumit Vohra, who runs admissionsnursery. com, said.

Vohra said for each seat there were 50 applications this nursery admission season. Several parents have complained on his portal, accusing schools of changing their point criterion midway.

'We saw new trends of firstcome first-served admissions this time along with the trend of advance booking, through which many schools accepted donations, while rejecting applications simultaneously for having already filled up their allotted seats,' Vohra said.

Ahuja, an alumnus of Cambridge School in New Friends Colony, said he was 'rejected' by his 'own school'.

He was denied the alumni points because '1991 was too old a date to seek points for alumnus status'.

'What do they want? A fresh Class 12 pass father?' he asked in sheer frustration. In other schools, Ahuja missed out for not attending the draw of lot. He said most schools did not inform him in advance.

In others where Ahuja did manage to show up on time, he was rejected for not taking his son along.

'In some schools they said the draw of lot was already over. I don't know how that happened because no information was given.

'A lot of schools partially or completely concealed their admission procedure and the points system. We never got to know how many points were awarded to us and where was the scope for a redressal,' Ahuja said.

To highlight the unintelligible points system, Ahuja cited Cambridge school where he said points were awarded for interreligion marriage of parents. But the school, he claimed, never made it clear which religion was considered valid.

Schools screen kids even after second list is out

Schools screen kids even after second list is out
New Delhi, Feb 15, 2012, (PTI):

This season has seen more violations of guidelines than previous four years

The BGS International Public School in Dwarka has come out with the second list for nursery admissions but the school authorities are still calling children along with their parents for interviews - in violation of the Right To Education rules.

Experts say rules state screening of children before or after admissions is not allowed.

After speaking with BGS International as a parent of one of the selected candidates, it was discovered the school is giving admission on first-cum-first-serve basis.

The teacher dealing with parents’ queries regarding admissions said: “Get all the documents and it will be preferable if both parents and the child are there for the interaction on February 18. If you do not get the child we might cancel your seat,” she said.

However, the principal was not available for comments. Meanwhile, Birla Vidya Niketan School in Pushp Vihar is personally calling up candidates who were not selected for personal interaction, parents alleged.

Sumanta was surprised to receive a call from the school when her daughter's name did not feature in the first list or waiting list.

The Principal’s personal assistant had called her up.

“When I visited the school, a queue of parents was being guided to a closed room for an 'interview' with the principal. Since my daughter was not accompanying me, I was denied entry,” said Sumanta.

She said, “The school authorities said the principal wanted to meet my daughter and ask a few questions. Another parent, who came out of the interview, said there was a demand for donations.”

She has not received any response to her e-mail to the principal seeking an explanation.However, the school authorities denied these allegations saying they are following nursery admission guidelines.

Sumit Vohra, who runs www.admissionsnursery.com, a portal with over 40,000 members, explained that schools can be punished for committing such violations.

“These are not the only schools as for 15 days I have been getting complaints against several schools regarding screening of children. I am amazed to see that schools are calling three and four- year-old children for interviews even after admission,” he said.

“This year a maximum number of cases of violation of admission guidelines have come up compared to last four years. I hope the Directorate of Education will take punitive action against erring schools as there are some established schools which have been following guidelines,” he added.

DoE’s apathy irks parents, shatters hope in system

DoE’s apathy irks parents, shatters hope in system
Ashpreet Sethi, New Delhi, Feb 10, 2012, DHNS:

Govt’s warning of punitive action falls on deaf ears, schools flout rules

Parents who had applied for nursery admissions this year are angry with the Directorate of Education for not taking any action against erring schools in Delhi.

“Violation of norms seem to be common in the ongoing nursery admissions as schools are openly flouting guidelines laid down by DoE despite the government’s warning of punitive action against erring schools. We have not seen a single reaction by the DoE yet. Parents are being forced to give donations to secure their child’s future,” said Pankaj Jain, a parent who applied in 20 schools this year.

He added that schools are still refusing to cooperate by not being transparent about their admission procedures.

Many said the DoE is not rectifying the issue due to lack of will but they would not lose hope. “What are we supposed to do when the authorities are not cooperating? I know several people who have filed complaints but nothing has been done. I am waiting for the second list and if a good number of parents are on the same platform, we will protest outside DoE’s office. We should not give up yet,” said Manu Dhawan, a parent from Model town.

However, Sumit Vohra, who runs www. admissionsnursery.com, a portal exclusively for parents, said: “I had protested last year in front of DoE’s office but no action was taken against any school. Parents are now fed up with the system’s attitude towards their issues. Even after sting operations and several news articles highlighting the failure of the system, the DoE is not doing anything. My question is why?”

Some parents believe their children will not learn anything better from such schools.

Violating laws

“Why would we want our children to go to schools such as Delhi Public School, Ahlcon Public School or Springdales even after knowing that they are violating laws. How can these school help our children become responsible citizens when they are not being responsible,” said Pankaj Pandey, a parent from Mayur Vihar.

However, the DoE had taken action against two erring schools on Friday who were trying to conduct draw of lots for economically weaker sections category without waiting for DoE’s new directive on distance criteria.

DoE finally takes action against two erring schools
The Directorate of Education pulled up authorities at Ryan International School and G D Goenka School in Rohini, north-west Delhi, asking them to stop the draw of lots for nursery admissions under the economically weaker section category, on Friday.

The DoE is supposed to issue a new directive on EWS category admissions based on the order given by the Supreme Court on distance criteria. However, the school authorities did not wait for the directive and called a handful of parents for the draw based on their own criteria on Friday.

“Many of us, who got a call, informed other parents about the school’s announcement which led to a situation where more than 150 parents turned up for the draw. We did not know that the school had called only some of us,” said a parent who got a call from G D Goenka school in Rohini sector 9.

This led to fights among parents and the school authorities for not being transparent about the admission procedure. The DoE was informed about the situation and the deputy directors, who were supposed to be part of the draw, ordered these schools to cancel the draw for violating rules.

To avoid controversies Ryan International School sent the parents away saying the High Court had issued a new notice for draw of lots. “They said the draw has been postponed because of a new order when the High Court has not issued any order on Friday but had passed one on January 31. They are misleading parents,” said Khagesh Jha, a Delhi-based advocate.

Admission over, parents caught in refund dilemma

Admission over, parents caught in refund dilemma
Nandini Thilak
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 at 0323 hrs IST


New Delhi Contrary to the Directorate of Education guidelines on refund in case of cancellation of admission to nursery classes, parents claim city schools’ policies are framed to retain most of the money that is deposited.

A parent who claimed to have paid Rs 32,000 as orientation fee and other charges to a school in Sheikh Sarai said she would lose more than Rs 20,000 if she cancelled her daughter’s admission.

“I have spent nearly Rs 5,000 just buying admission forms etc, because many top schools force us into buying their prospectus, which can cost upto Rs 500. Now we’ve been told that only 40 per cent of the orientation fee will be refunded in case of cancellation. This was not mentioned in the prospectus,” she said.

Amit Agarwal, another parent, said: “During admissions last year, I paid more than Rs 25,000 as orientation fee at Apeejay-Pitampura for a three-day programme. This year, many parents have complained at online forums that they’re not given receipts for the fee they pay.”

While DoE norms state that all charges — except admission and registration fees (one-time charges) and a month’s tuition fee — have to refunded in case of cancellation of admission, a few schools have refused refunds.

Delhi Public School-Mathura Road, for instance, has declared that of the Rs 40,000 charged at the time of admission, only Rs 500 (charged as caution money) will be refunded.

Principal M I Hussain said the school is willing to “give a patient hearing” to anyone who approached them with a grievance regarding refunds. “We have not hidden anything from parents. They have known for a month and half what the rules are regarding fees. We have not received any withdrawal requests till date,” he said.

At Apeejay-Pitampura, Principal D K Bedi said the orientation fee was justified. “The orientation fee is for year-round programmes. We have very elaborate programmes,” he said.

A few schools have published their refund policy and fee details online.

“At every stage of admissions, parents are exploited. Orientation fee is a new way of minting money. Some parents have said a few schools have asked for more than Rs 50,000 as orientation fee. Also, many have not registered their feeder school with the DoE and are not bound by the rules,” said Sumit Vohra, founder of online portal nurseryadmissions.com.

Nursery admissions: Parents in a bind over refund

Nursery admissions: Parents in a bind over refund
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, February 09, 2012

Nursery admission blues continue to haunt parents in Delhi with many schools making it clear that fees will not be refunded in case of withdrawal.
Parents have complained that many schools are refusing to refund the deposited fees in case of withdrawal. Sanjay Sharma, a
central Delhi resident, says a school in Pusa Road is asking Rs 45,000 for his son's admission which is non-refundable if he wants to withdraw from the school.

"They are asking for Rs 45,000 which is not refundable. I am in a catch-22 situation. If I pay now, it would be tough for me to afford admission if my son gets selected in any other school in the second list which is yet to come," Sharma said.

Same is the story of Ramya Shankar. "I am in a dilemma. Unable to decide whether to block the seat or to wait for the second list," says Shankar whose daughter has also been selected in the same school.

Many parents also complain that several schools have been demanding that admission fees be deposited in cash so that they can get away without refunding in case of withdrawal.

Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, has even asked parents to bring Rs 40,000 for admission of which only Rs 500 will be refundable in case of withdrawal.

"Please carry Rs 40,000 towards lump sum advance which will be adjusted towards admission fee, caution money (Rs 500) tuition fee for three months and bus fee etc. Please note that in case of withdrawal or not joining after admission, only caution money will be refunded," a notice on its website says.

"This shows that some schools give a damn to the rules laid down by the government," says Sumit Vohra, founder of online parents' forum 'admissionsnursery.com'.

"There are many new schools that are not approved by the Directorate of Education (DoE), while some old schools are not getting their junior branches recommended. The modus operandi is not to refund fees as required by DoE," Vohra points out.

There are also allegations from parents that some schools have begun admission under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category without any confirmation by the Directorate of Education about the new directive on distance criteria for nursery admissions.

The Delhi High Court had earlier this month asked schools to stress on the neighbourhood criteria for nursery admissions to EWS category and organise another round of draw of lots. The DoE has to come up with a new directive before admissions in this category begin.

The schools that have started EWS admission include Laxman Public School in Hauz Khas, Sachdeva Public School in Pitampura, New Green Field School in Saket and St Columba's School in Ashoka Road.

An official at Laxman Public School in Hauz Khas admitted they have carried out a draw of lots for EWS category, but the results have "not been announced officially, awaiting the court order".

Some schools even give a reasoning that they cannot keep parents waiting till DoE comes out with a new directive.

"If DoE gives a new directive, we will abide by it," says Meenakshi Kushwaha, principal of Birla Vidya Niketan in Pushp Vihar.

"Schools have asked two weeks time for restructuring their criteria for EWS category. The new session will begin in April, so they could have waited for the DoE's directive. I don't understand why they are in such a hurry," said advocate Khagesh Jha.

Delhi nursery admissions: Parents caught in a bind over refunds

Delhi nursery admissions: Parents caught in a bind over refunds
PTI
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New Delhi, Feb 9:

Nursery admission blues continue to haunt parents in Delhi with many schools making it clear that fees will not be refunded in case of withdrawal.

Parents have complained that many schools are refusing to refund the deposited fees in case of withdrawal.

Mr Sanjay Sharma, a central Delhi resident, says a school in Pusa Road is asking Rs 45,000 for his son’s admission which is non-refundable if he wants to withdraw from the school.

“They are asking for Rs 45,000 which is not refundable. I am in a catch-22 situation. If I pay now, it would be tough for me to afford admission if my son gets selected in any other school in the second list which is yet to come,” Mr Sharma said.

Same is the story of Ms Ramya Shankar. “I am in a dilemma. Unable to decide whether to block the seat or to wait for the second list,” says Ms Shankar whose daughter has also been selected in the same school.

Many parents also complain that several schools have been demanding that admission fees be deposited in cash so that they can get away without refunding in case of withdrawal.

Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, has even asked parents to bring Rs 40,000 for admission of which only Rs 500 will be refundable in case of withdrawal.

“Please carry Rs 40,000 towards lump sum advance which will be adjusted towards admission fee, caution money (Rs 500) tuition fee for three months and bus fee etc. Please note that in case of withdrawal or not joining after admission, only caution money will be refunded,” a notice on its Web site says.

“This shows that some schools give a damn to the rules laid down by the government,” says Mr Sumit Vohra, founder of online parents’ forum admissionsnursery.com.

“There are many new schools that are not approved by the Directorate of Education, while some old schools are not getting their junior branches recommended. The modus operandi is not to refund fees as required by DoE,” Mr Vohra points out.

There are also allegations from parents that some schools have begun admission under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category without any confirmation by the Directorate of Education about the new directive on distance criteria for nursery admissions.

The Delhi High Court had earlier this month asked schools to stress the neighbourhood criteria for nursery admissions to EWS category and organise another round of draw of lots.

The DoE has to come up with a new directive before admissions in this category begin.

The schools that have started EWS admission include Laxman Public School in Hauz Khas, Sachdeva Public School in Pitampura, New Green Field School in Saket and St Columba’s School in Ashoka Road.

An official at Laxman Public School in Hauz Khas admitted they have carried out a draw of lots for EWS category, but the results have “not been announced officially, awaiting the court order“.

Some schools even give a reasoning that they cannot keep parents waiting till DoE comes out with a new directive.

“If DoE gives a new directive, we will abide by it,” says Meenakshi Kushwaha, principal of Birla Vidya Niketan in Pushp Vihar.

“Schools have asked two weeks time for restructuring their criteria for EWS category. The new session will begin in April, so they could have waited for the DoE’s directive. I don’t understand why they are in such a hurry,” said advocate Khagesh Jha.

Parents caught in a bind over refund issue

Parents caught in a bind over refund issue


Pre Schools In Gurgaon www.shriramglobalpreWe Provide Loving, Quality Care For Children. Admission Open ! Ads by Google
Share | Print
Agencies : New Delhi, Thu Feb 09 2012, 12:24 hrs

Nursery admission blues continue to haunt parents in Delhi with many schools making it clear that fees will not be refunded in case of withdrawal.

Parents have complained that many schools are refusing to refund the deposited fees in case of withdrawal. Sanjay Sharma, a central Delhi resident, says a school in Pusa Road is asking Rs 45,000 for his son's admission which is non-refundable if he wants to withdraw from the school.

"They are asking for Rs 45,000 which is not refundable. I am in a catch-22 situation. If I pay now, it would be tough for me to afford admission if my son gets selected in any other school in the second list which is yet to come," Sharma said.

Similar is the story of Ramya Shankar. "I am in a dilemma. Unable to decide whether to block the seat or to wait for the second list," says Shankar whose daughter has also been selected in the same school.

Many parents also complain that several schools have been demanding that admission fees be deposited in cash so that they can get away without refunding in case of withdrawal.

Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, has even asked parents to bring Rs 40,000 for admission of which only Rs 500 will be refundable in case of withdrawal.

"Please carry Rs 40,000 towards lump sum advance which will be adjusted towards admission fee, caution money (Rs 500) tuition fee for three months and bus fee etc. Please note that in case of withdrawal or not joining after admission, only caution money will be refunded," a notice on its website says.

"This shows that some schools give a damn to the rules laid down by the government," says Sumit Vohra, founder of online parents' forum 'admissionsnursery.com'.

"There are many new schools that are not approved by the Directorate of Education (DoE), while some old schools are not getting their junior branches recommended. The modus operandi is not to refund fees as required by DoE," Vohra points out.

There are also allegations from parents that some schools have begun admission under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category without any confirmation by the Directorate of Education about the new directive on distance criteria for nursery admissions.

The Delhi High Court had earlier this month asked schools to stress on the neighbourhood criteria for nursery admissions to EWS category and organise another round of draw of lots. The DoE has to come up with a new directive before admissions in this category begin.

The schools that have started EWS admission include Laxman Public School in Hauz Khas, Sachdeva Public School in Pitampura, New Green Field School in Saket and St Columba's School in Ashoka Road.

An official at Laxman Public School in Hauz Khas admitted they have carried out a draw of lots for EWS category, but the results have “not been announced officially, awaiting the court order".

Some schools even give a reasoning that they cannot keep parents waiting till DoE comes out with a new directive.

"If DoE gives a new directive, we will abide by it," says Meenakshi Kushwaha, principal of Birla Vidya Niketan in Pushp Vihar.

"Schools have asked two weeks time for restructuring their criteria for EWS category. The new session will begin in April, so they could have waited for the DoE's directive. I don't understand why they are in such a hurry," said advocate Khagesh Jha.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

There’s need for a reward and recognition system for teachers

There’s need for a reward and recognition system for teachers
S Giridhar, Feb 02, 2012 :

All the news in recent weeks on India’s education has been about the dismal performance of our school education.

First, the ‘Wipro – education initiatives study’ showed that we were even worse off in 2011 as compared to 2006. Government schools expectedly turned in a pathetic performance but the supposedly elite private schools were hardly better and their students did well only on questions that tested ‘rote memorisation’ and did not do well on questions that tested conceptual understanding and application. And then ‘ACER’ conducted the internationally accepted PISA test in Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and these showed that both states are right at the bottom among 70 odd nations. Before you castigate the two states, please commend the guts of their education bureaucrats who must have been pretty sure of the results and gone for it only to force everyone into action.

For this dismal scenario, explanations and reasons will be paraded, the noise will die down soon, and the shocking findings will be conveniently ignored. The other states will be suitably scared off and we can continue in our make believe world. I have good reason to say this.

Let me explain with another example. In 1996, Jean Dreze and his team conducted and presented the ‘Public report on basic education’ popularly called Probe. This report among its many findings reported that in India’s government schools, at any point of time, one will find 25 per cent of the teachers are absent from school and class.

Of the 75 per cent who are present, only 48 per cent will be found engaging the children in school work. That simply means that the government school works at less than 40 per cent efficiency. But 1996 is a long time back and we have done much since then, right? Think again.

In 2008, the same team conducted Probe II. And found that 12 years later, 25 per cent teachers continued to be absent and only 48 per cent of those present were teaching. Thus while Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had put a school in every hamlet of India and more than 80 per cent of children were being provided mid-day meals to support attendance, teaching time remained blissfully where it was. It may be news to people outside the system but certainly not news to people who know the system. Recently, I found at a government in Dehradun, about the dozen teachers knitting and sunbathing in the winter sun, while the children idled inside classrooms.

Counter intuitive find
In 2004, Michael Kremer and Karthik Muralidharan from Harvard conducted a study on ‘teacher absence’ and their findings confirmed and corroborated the Probe findings. But, one point they made, and perhaps the most significant, did not get enough attention. It is time to pull that particular piece of research and place it in front of all of us.

The finding was that, when Kremer and Muralidharan wanted to find out satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels among teachers, they found that teachers who bunked school were far happier and satisfied as compared to the teachers who attended school and did their duties conscientiously. Does it sound counter intuitive? Not at all! The reason is that the ‘bunking teachers’ love our education system. After all it pays them well, posts them in geographical regions of their choice, does not question them when they are on French leave and will also give them pay hikes as and when the Pay Commission announces their recommendations. The performing teachers are the ones who are hurt the most because they do not see their conscientiousness being recognised or rewarded while their truant colleagues of course go scot free.

If our education governance has to improve, we would have to try and rationalise the distribution of teachers across our schools to even out the lop-sided pupil-teacher ratios. Besides, if we have a system of reward and recognition, and a system of accountability, we will improve upon the 40 per cent efficiency of our schools. It is as important to reward the good teachers as it is to have a solid deterrent for the irresponsible ones.

The truant teachers will know they cannot get away while the many good teachers in the system who are sincere and genuine, will be duly recognised, thus inspiring other teachers to follow suit. Both these actions do not require finances, they require serious governance.

While the private schools must do serious soul searching on why their education is so shallow that students do well only by rote memory and have poor conceptual understanding, the government schools can make a beginning by ensuring that teachers attend school and teach when they are in school.

A recent study involving over 700 government schools showed that if teachers and head teachers are punctual, present and teach in school and if the pupil-teacher ratio is kept to around 30:1 we have a good chance that the school will be doing its job well. This for me will be an acceptable start to a journey that I think will take many years.

(The writer is registrar of Azim Premji University, Bangalore)

Teaching fraternity should be more techno-savvy: Modi

Teaching fraternity should be more techno-savvy: Modi
Press Trust Of India
Ahmedabad, February 03, 2012

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Friday stressed that the teaching fraternity should be more techno-savvy to bring qualitative changes in education sector. "A teacher's role would be crucial in bringing qualitative changes in the education sector through the usage of technology,"
Modi, inaugurating the annual conference of Gujarat Rajya Acharya Sangh in Ambaji town of North Gujarat, said.

"Considering the scale and scope of Gujarat's development, the use of technology in imparting education would increase in the coming times. The teachers would need to be conversant with the latest technology and new methods of education," Modi added.

"The state has planned to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda as a youth year. 21st century is the era of knowledge. And in this era, education and the empowerment of our youths are the best ways for India to establish its supremacy over the world," he said.

Talking about steps taken by the state government for the encouragement of innovations in the field of education, chief minister said, it has set up an incubation centre, i-Create, under the headship of Infosys founder Naranyan Murthy with a view to give shape to the innovative ideas, research and experiments of the youths.

The state government has also formed 'Gujarat Educational Innovation Commission' to push innovative experiments and research.

Gujarat is the only state, which has received a full-fledged 36 MHz satellite communication transponder. This will enable the state government to provide long-distance education to even the remotest parts of the state, he said.

With a view to train teachers, Gujarat government has set up Teachers' University, the chief minister added.

Earlier in the day, Modi prayed at the famous Goddess Jagadamba temple of Ambaji.
On the side of the children
USHA RAI

Across five states, Bal Bandhus fight for child rights, often standing up to Naxals in the process.

In nine remote, conflict-ridden blocks of five states, a cadre of young people specially selected and trained for their leadership qualities and commitment to child rights are ensuring that children go to school as mandated by the Right to Education Act, anganwadi centres nurture infants, teachers actually teach and food meant for mid-day meals is not siphoned off. One of them, a 19-year-old tribal girl in Andhra Pradesh, stood up fearlessly to the Naxals when they were stopping distribution of food to children.

They are the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights' (NCPCR) defenders of child rights or Bal Bandhus (BB) and their work is supported by the Prime Minister's Office. A three-year pilot programme, the Bal Bandhu scheme was launched in December 2010 in Naxal affected blocks of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. In charge of the 20 Bal Bandhus in each block are their mentors — two resource persons, who have worked in Naxal affected areas on child rights issues or with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Just 19 to 30 years of age, BBs work closely with the community and have been able to form groups of Bal Mitras (friends of the child) as well as mahila sangathans (women's groups) to help them reach the community. It is this collective of people from the community who are able to talk to headmasters when schools don't function properly or uniform money is not distributed to students. They are able to cut through the corruption and red tape to get admissions and procure transfer certificates without paying a bribe.

They have an awesome range of responsibilities and maybe just a cycle to take them around from village to village. It is they and their supporters who are able to persuade parents to allow their children to study and not be pushed into work. They get the community to write letters to the mukhia for allotment of land for school buildings and ensure that caste and community barriers are overcome and children eat midday meals together.

Different challenges

For Ashok Singh, 19, Bal Bandhu of Rohtasgarh panchayat in the heart of Naxal affected territory in Bihar, the biggest challenge was in providing a school for girls. Ashok met community members and created awareness on child rights. When Sunita Kumari, a 14-year-old who had never been to school, met Ashok and expressed interest in education, he met her parents and tried to persuade them to send her to the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya which had residential school facilities. They, however, were keen to get her married. Along with Bal Mitras and influential members of the community, the parents were told about the illegality and hazards of an early marriage. After persuasion, the parents relented and she was sent to a Residential Bridge Course facility for upgrading her knowledge so that she can join a regular school. Though just 19 years, after just 13 months as a Bal Bandhu, Ashok is confident and loves the new respect and status he has in the community.

The 177 Bal Bandhus have so far been able to enrol 8,633 children into schools, made 594 schools and 458 anganwadis functional, and registered 1,797 children into residential bridge courses and Kasturba Gandhi Ballika Vidyalayas. In addition, 7,539 academically weak children have been provided coaching support.

There are innumerable examples of the efficacy of the Bal Bandhus. There is the story of the seven children from Chhattisgarh who were working in a juice factory in Andhra Pradesh and were reunited with their families thanks to the sarpanch who became proactive after interaction with the Bal Bandhus. Mohammed Wazir Ansari, another Bal Bandhu of Nunpharwa panchayat, was also able to rescue a dozen children from child labour and send them to school. Five of them were employed by a shopkeeper for packing tobacco. When Mohammed spoke to the shopkeeper, he maintained the children were all members of his family and he was merely utilising their services. The children would hide every time he approached the shop. Finally he managed to speak to the children and got the names of their parents and their villages. He then spoke to the parents and rescued the children.

Improving the system

Even while motivating parents to send their children to school, the Bal Bandhus have directed their attention to making schools fully functional and ensuring all teachers took classes. In Khaira block, Jamui, Bihar, an informal teachers' forum has been formed and meets every month to discuss how to take the programme forward. According to Sunil Kumar, assistant teacher at Goli Primary School, Goli panchayat, “It always helps to discuss the problems. When I joined, only 24 of the 75 students enrolled would attend school. Now with the help of the Bal Bandhus, this number has increased to 50.”

Another equally important benefit of the Bal Bandhu Scheme is that in an area where Naxals are active, these young and highly motivated defenders of child rights are preventing children from going astray and joining the Naxals. Understanding the power of education, many of them are opting for higher education. Others, encouraged by the respect they are getting as Bal Bandhus, want to become teachers!

Nursery blues over fee refund

Nursery blues over fee refund
Neha Pushkarna, TNN | Feb 6, 2012, 01.44AM IST

NEW DELHI: With the first admission list out, it's time for parents to secure a seat for their child. However, many parents are in a fix as different schools are toeing different norms for fee refund, in case the admission is withdrawn.

"My son has been selected in a school that is 5 km away from our home. Therefore, we are more interested in finding him a seat at a nearby school. We are just wondering if it will be wise to book a seat in the first school and wait for the second list in the other school to come out. However, the management of the school is not coming clean on how much money will be refunded," said Anjana Bhardwaj, a parent from Vasant Kunj.

Another school, DPS Mathura Road, has specified on its website that if the child is withdrawn later, only the caution money will be refunded. "Please carry Rs 40,000 as advance which will be adjusted towards admission fee, caution money (Rs 500), tuition fee for 3 months (April-June 2012) and bus fee. Please note that in case of withdrawal or the student not joining after admission, only caution money will be refunded," states a circular posted on the school website.

This means that the school will refund only Rs 500 out of nearly Rs 40,000 paid as fee under various heads. According to the school principal, M I Hussain, such a policy is being followed to discourage students from withdrawing admission later.

"If people have applied for admission, they must have taken a conscious decision. They should think twice before paying the fee. Why should they withdraw after document verification and securing a seat?" said Hussain. "This has been our policy. However, if the directorate of education has any guideline on this, we will abide by it," he added.

According to DoE guidelines issued last year, a school can retain only the admission fee, registration fee and the tuition fee of only one month if the child withdraws within one month of the date of admission. Same guidelines are being followed this year too.

"DoE guidelines on fee refund are quite clear. If a child withdraws admission before March 31, only admission fee of Rs 200 and Rs 25 as registration fee can be retained by a school," explained L V Sehgal, principal, Bal Bharati Public School, Ganga Ram Hospital Marg.

Nursery admission: HC tells DPS Rohini to apologise to parents

Nursery admission: HC tells DPS Rohini to apologise to parents

For four-year-old Ruhani, the anxiety of her parents as they await a letter from the Delhi Public School (DPS), Rohini, is puzzling.

The letter will bear an apology to her parents for the agony and trouble they were made to go through after their child’s educational journey hit a roadblock because of a “mistake” committed by the school in assessing her nursery admission form.

The Delhi High Court has asked the school to write an apology letter to her parents— Rahul and Shelly Arora— expressing in unequivocal terms their extenuation over the “regretful episode” that had led to her parents being keyed up due to the issue.

Ruhani’s parents faced much difficulty after the school, having included her name in the list of selected candidates for nursery admission, did a turnaround and said her name was mistakenly published.

According to the school, Ruhani was also given points under alumni/sibling criteria, but it was later discovered that neither of her parents came under the category and scrapped her admission.

Her father alleged malpractices on part of the school and contended that if his application was incorrect, it could not have been sent for the draw of lots. Rahul, a resident of Vijay Nagar in Northwest Delhi, lodged a complaint with the deputy director of education concerned, seeking an inquiry into the entire episode.

While the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) took suo motu cognizance of the issue, he also filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).

The CWC, by an order in April last year, held the school guilty for wrongfully denying admission to Ruhani and directed the school to admit her after completing the necessary formalities.

Challenging this order, the school moved a petition in the High Court and claimed that the Commission exceeded its jurisdiction in passing the order and it did not hear it’s version. The plea stated that since Rahul’s complaint was also pending with the DCPCR, the CWC should have waited for the outcome of the inquiry.

Subsequently, the DCPCR also came out with its findings and held that the “school authorities committed an error by declaring Ruhani as having qualified for admission.” It further noted that the school ought to have gracefully accepted its fault and apologised to Rahul for their mistake.

Meanwhile, the parent informed the court that he could not have waited for a final order on the matter in Ruhani’s interest and, hence, she secured admission in a different school.

“In view of the fact that the counsel for the school states that an apology letter shall be dispatched by the school directly to Ruhani’s parents within one week, it is deemed appropriate to dispose of the petition with directions to the school to be more vigilant in future and ensure that no such incident is repeated,” held the court.

Talking to Newsline, Rahul said, “I am committed to take this matter forward since I will not want any other parent to undergo the agony like my family. I have conviction that it was not a case of simple human error and, hence, an in-depth inquiry into the affairs of the school is called for. I will be filing a separate petition into these issues.”

ICT: a revolution in teaching-learning process

ICT: a revolution in teaching-learning process
Srikanth B Iyer

Interactive classrooms allow the group activity of the blackboard to be merged with PC content for a powerful teaching-learning platform.

Education has always been accorded an honoured place in the Indian society. The recommendations of the Education Commission (1964-66) marked a significant step in the history of education post-Independence. Since then there has been a considerable expansion in the educational facilities all over the country at all levels.

However, it is in the last few years that education has been the prime focus in India. The essential driver has been the shortage or lack of skilled workers in several sectors of the economy due to a weak higher education system. It is difficult to sustain the growth momentum of the country and maintain competitiveness unless problems with higher education are fixed. To address the issue, the Government of India has taken serious steps in the Eleventh Five Year Plan to increase opportunities in higher education.

India recognised the importance of ICT (interactive classroom technique) in education as early as 1984-85 when the Computer Literacy And Studies in Schools (CLASS) Project was initially introduced as a pilot with the introduction of BBC micro-computers. A total of 12,000 such computers were received and distributed to secondary and senior secondary schools through State governments. The project was subsequently adopted as a centrally-sponsored scheme during the 8th Plan (1993-98). The budget for this programme has been substantially increased in the last 10 years and implemented via the education departments of the State governments and the SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) chapters in States.

The new age teaching through interactive technology is an initiative by the government to incorporate interactive classroom technique in a teaching scenario. In recent years the blackboard has given way to the pairing of short throw projectors with interactive whiteboards, allowing the group interactivity of the blackboard to be merged with the content of the PC to form a powerful learning and teaching platform.

Interactive classrooms offer tremendous potential for improving the learning process. It is a complete technology-enabled classroom solution that revolutionises teaching and learning of subjects like mathematics, science, social sciences and English. It allows the teacher to not only make the teaching process interactive but also engaging by using visual means which enables them to create question papers and analyse students' performance. Furthermore, it gives the teacher the flexibility of bringing a virtual science lab right into the classroom. Lesson plans may be easily captured and shared online enhancing the interaction with students and engaging them with a visual component to the intellectual stimulus. This helps the students of higher classes to firstly get motivated, logically think, collate and learn with interest.

For engineering students, it ushers the desired potential to enrich and deepen skills, and helps them to research and document better. Seen on a larger canvas it helps to create economic viability for tomorrow's workers, contributes to radical changes in the learning sphere thus strengthening teaching, and provides opportunities for connection between the school and the world.

However, there is another side of the coin wherein access to ICT is still limited to many places in the country because of lack of physical infrastructure, economic constraints such as extreme poverty; lack of educational limitations such as illiteracy and lack of relevant content in the local language. Ensuring strategies to combat these obstacles will allow us to explore the true potential of ICT in near future.

The author is COO, Pearson Education Services

SSA to open free residential schools to avoid dropouts

SSA to open free residential schools to avoid dropouts
Sandhya C D’Souza, Mangalore, Feb 6, 2012, DHNS:

New building in Belthangady to accommodate 100 students

Poverty, distance, family problems, difficult traveling conditions due to geographical limitations are some of the many reasons why children drop from schools.

However, the State government under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is all set to avoid school dropouts by opening free residential schools which provide all-round development along with studies in various parts of the State.

As per the Right to Education Act, as many as five residential schools are set to come up in Bangalore South, Dharwad, Mysore, Shimoga and Dakshina Kannada on the lines of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGVB) model.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, SSA DK District Coordinator N Shivaprakash said that the residential school will be established in Belthangady as it is a Endosulfan and naxal prone region. The school will start off on temporary basis within 15 days at Government Higher Primary School in Belthangady.

However, the residential hostel will be constructed in the campus of the same school, due to the availability of one acre land.

The toilets will be constructed first in the school campus and Rs 4.8 lakhs has been allotted for the purpose. The building will be constructed at the cost of Rs 55 lakhs and the budget will be allotted in 2012-13, said Shivprakash and added that Rs 41.32 lakhs will be allotted for other amenities.

As many as seven children have been identified, who are interested in joining the school this year. The children will be accommodated in the vacant rooms present in the school. The new building will be able to accommodate 100 students. “We have been directed to enrol students studying in classes 6 to 8,” said Shivprakash.

An in-house warden will be appointed. The government plans to spend approximately Rs 40,000 on each child per year. A doctor will be appointed on consultancy basis, he s

All-round development
The residential school will not be limited to studies. The government will allot funds for purchase of bi-cycles so that children can learn riding. Children will also be trained in singing, karate, yoga, swimming, theatre, dance and other skills.

The children will also be taken to NIITs to learn various courses which will help them in learning maths.

Arrangements will be made to teach the students Kannada, English and Sanskrit, he said and added that the students will have a library and will be given training in using computers.
Provisions will be made to have at least three vocational training courses such as stitching, preparing candles, repairing electrical appliances, computer hardware training and others.

Transit homes
“The SSA has started temporary transit homes for children at Prajna Counseling Centre. The permanent home will come up at Kapikad and will counsel orphans, child labours and other children in need. With residential schools, we can mainstream these children into the portals of school, hence giving them a good future,” he said. “The residential schools will enhance the social, psychological and educational concept. It will develop students’ personality, making them better citizens of tommorrow,” said DK ZP CEO Dr K N Vijayprakash.

Private schools unhappy with fees for BPL kids

Private schools unhappy with fees for BPL kids
Rageshri Ganguly, TNN | Feb 7, 2012, 05.03AM IST
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BHOPAL: Even as the state's school education department was finalising the fees to be reimbursed for the BPL (Below Poverty Line) children admitted under RTE (Right to Education Act) in private schools, the principals of some of the private schools in Bhopal expressed their dissatisfaction.

The meeting was later postponed for Wednesday. The department is considering reimbursing about Rs 2500 to 3000 per child but the principals of some of the prominent private schools were far from happy. Sister Reji, principal of Carmel Convent BHEL differed, "The format of reimbursement for private schools has not been uploaded on the state school education portal yet. Till date we have not been able to login to the portal." She added, "The photocopy of all the forms have been submitted to the RSK. Still we are being harassed about documents when everything has been provided." Dr Shikha Rastogi, principal of World Way School agreed, "We have been asked by the school education department to submit the details of the children, but the online option for the same is not available yet."

On the subject of reimbursement of fees of around Rs 3, 000 per child, the principals voiced their dissent unanimously.

Ajay Sharma, principal DPS School said, "At least 25% of the total cost incurred by the schools per child should be reimbursed. Otherwise, the government shouldn't reimburse anything and the schools should completely waive the fees of the child. At least then we would have the satisfaction of saying that the children were taught completely free of cost, under social obligation."

He added, "Also not just fees, the government should bear in mind additional expenses borne like the teachers' salaries, building maintenance etc." Public Relations Officer of St Joseph's Co-ed School Vasundhara Sharma opined that the since fees of different private schools were different, a uniform amount of reimbursement was not reasonable. "Also Rs 3, 000 is less than the school's admission fees per child," she said.

Dr Rastogi added, "If such an insufficient amount is reimbursed, then the additional burden would have to be on the schools, leaving them with no other scope than to raise the fees of the other children from unreserved category." The school education minister Archana Chitnis had announced last week that the state government would compensate for the fees of the children being admitted in non-aided private schools under RTE Act.

For this the schools should register themselves and provide relevant information like number of children admitted under RTE etc on the state school education portal and their attendance.

Ministry mulls investor education in school curriculum

Ministry mulls investor education in school curriculum
Our Bureau
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Mumbai, Feb. 6:

Financial regulators in India are working with the Centre to develop a policy framework aimed at investor education and financial inclusion. The HRD Ministry is working with all financial regulators to introduce financial education in the school curriculum of the Central Board of Secondary Education.

“A draft has already been prepared,” said Mr. U K Sinha, Chairman-SEBI, inaugurating the two day international conference on investor education in Goa jointly hosted by SEBI and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Mr. Sinha observed that investor grievance redressal should be taken up as a matter of priority and that the mechanism should contain features such as uniformity, predictability and consistency.

SEBI had done various investor oriented initiatives such as introduction of a uniform KYC to be done through KYC registration agencies, a toll free helpline for grievance redressal and introduction of the resource person concept to spread investor education.

The conference discussed issues related to policy framework for investor education, role of stakeholders and public private partnership, global trends and best practices and how to deliver an effective investor education programme.

The conference was attended by nearly 200 delegates from 45 countries and comprised securities market experts, regulators, central bankers, academicians, civil community and NGOs.

Madurai school asks HIV positive boy to stay away

Madurai school asks HIV positive boy to stay away
Padmini Sivarajah, TNN | Feb 7, 2012, 02.27AM IST

MADURAI: A primary school in Keela Sandhaipettai on Monday resorted to the extreme step of stopping a 12-year-old boy from coming to school after one of the teachers discovered that he was HIV positive, his distraught mother has claimed.

The incident came to light after Valli (42), (name changed), the boy's mother went to the drop-in centre run by Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) to seek help from B V Babu, president of the Madurai Network of Positive People.

Speaking to TOI, Valli (42), who is also an HIV+ said, "I fell sick about two years ago and blood reports revealed that I tested positive for the deadly virus. I have been on medication ever since," she said. Surprisingly, her husband Kaliappan, a tricycle puller, elder daughter Easwari (18) and youngest son Parameswaran (10) have tested negative. Valli said that she never underwent any major blood transfusion or surgery and has no clue as to how she contracted the virus.

Valli said she had borrowed Rs 30,000 from a local papad manufacturer to meet the cost of her treatment two years ago. "Today, this amount has increased to Rs 1 lakh. The only way I will be able to clear my debt is when my sons finish their education and get good jobs. But now, my elder son's future hangs in balance," she said.

Her brother, who had promised to get his son married to her eldest daughter, has now changed his mind, on coming to know of his sister's HIV status. "I fear that my children may not be able to lead a normal life because of my disease. All I want is the society to treat them as equals," she said.

Her son Kathir (name changed) used to fall sick frequently and a blood test done last year had revealed that he was HIV positive. But he was not put on the ART drug as his CD4 count was 475 and the drug is given to patients only when their CD4 dips below 350, said Babu.

Kathir looks puny and thin compared to his younger brother who also studies in the same school. "We were asked to pay Rs eight each for a blood test to identify our blood groups for the ID card. The teacher asked me if I was under treatment for any specific disease and asked me to bring my booklet," he said.

Babu says that this is a clear violation of human rights. "I think the laboratory, which tested the boys may have suspected something and asked the school to verify details," he said. The boy said that the teacher started discriminating against him soon after perusing the tiny notebook which contained details about his treatment.

Meanwhile, the boy's younger brother also stayed away from school as one of the teachers had allegedly told him to ensure that his brother did not come to school from Monday onwards. "My brother had been sitting alone in one corner of the classroom and the boys in my class are asking me why," he said.

When The Times of India contacted the district elementary education officer M K T Subhashini, she said that the issue had been taken up with the school's administration. However, the school authorities had denied the allegations and had told her that he did not attend school as he was sick.

Overall student performance dips in Gujarat, Bengal: Study

Overall student performance dips in Gujarat, Bengal: Study
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
February 06, 2012

India’s school education success story has a big bloomer -- overall student aptitude has fallen in four states, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Tripura.

The National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) tested ability of over 10,000 students of class II, V and
VIII across India for languages, mathematics, and environment sciences. The students were tested for 40 topics in each subject in the schools.

The national average performance of students in the three subjects ranged between 40 to 70%, slightly better than the results of a similar NCERT study a few years ago, said a presentation made to HRD ministry last week. The best performance was in languages and worst in mathematics, which witnessed a slight fall in learning levels.

Four non-Congress ruled states Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Tripura witnessed a fall in performance of students in three subjects tested by the body under the HRD ministry.

Gujarat's fall in standards came as a surpirse as the state is considered economically and educationally forward. The biggest fall in performance was recorded in environment sciences of 3.18% followed by mathematics (-2.44%) and languages (-0.75%).

The Gujarat government is planning to revamp the school curriculum. "An exercise has been undertaken by the State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) and we can hope better results in the next round," an official said.

The naxal affected Jharkhand, the state with uncertain governance, had seen the maximum dip of about six percent in student learning ability. Students there were among worst performers in mathematics and environment sciences. However, girls performed better than boys in mathematics.

The maximum improvement in learning levels was recorded in Uttar Pradesh, but the officials attributed it to poor results in the last NCERT survey of 2007. The best learning ability is still among students of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh.

Fact box

Languages: Performance of 14 states improved, of seven fell and others was almost same as last NCERT survey. In four states boys were better and in seven girls outshined them.

Maths: 13 states reported better results, 12 showed a decline and no change in performance was recorded in five states. Girls did better than boys in six states and children in rural schools did better than those in urban areas.

Environment sciences: Students performance in 22 states improved, in five dipped and remained unchanged in three. Girls did better than boys in more than half of the states.

Over 600 high schools to be upgraded

Over 600 high schools to be upgraded
TNN | Feb 7, 2012, 05.22AM IST

BHOPAL: More than 600 high schools would be upgraded in the state in the next financial year, according to a Cabinet decision held on Monday.

At a meeting of Madhya Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan Samiti and chaired by chief secretary Avani Vaish, the decision to upgrade 603 high schools in the next financial year was taken.

For this, the the chief secretary ordered that initial preparations should be made by the administration so that the budget for the same could be sanctioned from the Centre in the month of April and the development work could be commenced. At the meeting, 14 developmental works of Rs 50 lakh each were approved. It was also agreed that the works would be evaluated by a third party. For the 603 high schools, the posts of same number of principals, 3015 teachers and 9665 additional teachers have also been approved .

Sibal to launch national vocational training plan

Sibal to launch national vocational training plan
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 06, 2012

HRD minister Kapil Sibal will unveil National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) that will allow seeking a degree from a school or a college while on work.

The new framework to be jointly adopted by the Central Board of Secondary Education and All India Council
for Technical Education will help school students who are unable to complete higher education or the students who are not academically bright but have other skill sets.

The 10 level vocational training programme will start for students who have class VIII degree and would be upto graduation level.

AICTE chairperson SS Mantha said that a student will get up to two years to complete a level. The first level will be equivalent to secondary and the last to graduation.

The students will have flexibility to enter or exit the programme after obtaining a certificate for higher secondary level. They will be able to join a stream of their choice for skill upgradation.

The government plans to run the programme in 25% secondary schools and half of the technical education institutions in India with the help of private sector, which will have an important role in curriculum development.

The AICTE has already tied up with automobile, hospitability and media industry to conduct vocational training in these educational institutes.

"The institutions running the programme will have flexibility to have a tie-up with private sector," Mantha said.

Apart from enhancing skills of youth, the programme is aimed at increasing the higher education Gross Enrollment Ratio to 30% by 2020 from about 17% in 2009-10. About 220 million children go to school, but only 14 million reach college.

Karnataka regulates private schools’ fees

Karnataka regulates private schools’ fees
It has fixed a 30 per cent profit margin for private schools on tuition fees and no charges except it upto class V
Submitted on 02/06/2012 - 11:42:05 AM

Bangalore: As school admission fees are becoming a burden on the parents, the Karnataka government has fixed a 30 per cent profit margin for private schools.

Ashok Kumar Adiga President of the Parents' Association last year decided to fight against the abnormal fee structures of the private schools.

Kumar's efforts led to the circular from the Karnataka Education Department and the circular says tuition fees should not exceed a profit of 30 per cent and schools cannot charge any non-tuition fees up to class five. Schools are upset with the diktat.

Karnataka Unaided School' Association President GS Sharma said, “Education means not mere reading and writing, you have to provide libraries, AV, sports, laboratory and other facilities, innumerable requirements.”

But the government is firm and says that it is high time schools are brought in line.

This government order was actually issued after parents gave a representation that they're being forced to buy books and uniforms at huge rates from schools - some schools charged as much as Rs 3,500 for one set of uniform - higher than what you'd pay perhaps for branded shirts.

But with schools set to move court next week, the issue is headed for a tough legal battle.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Haryana govt constitutes body to ensure compliance of RTE

Haryana govt constitutes body to ensure compliance of RTE

Source: PTI | Last Updated 00:24(06/02/12)
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Chandigarh: The Haryana Government has constituted a Right to Education and Protection Authority (REPA) in order to ensure compliance of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009.

A spokesperson of the School Education Department said that students or their parents or guardians could lodge complaints relating to child's right to free and compulsory education on toll free number or could forward their complaints by e-mail or by post to the REPA in the Department.

Pvt schools treating BPL kids differently

Pvt schools treating BPL kids differently
Rageshri Ganguly, TNN | Feb 6, 2012, 12.13AM IST

BHOPAL: The state school education would be taking action against the private schools that are discriminating against the Below Poverty Line (BPL) children in the schools, under Right to Education Act (RTE) for free education.

"It has come to our notice that many private schools are discriminating against BPL children, who have been admitted to their neighborhood schools. Such schools will stand to lose their recognition," a spokesman of Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK) said.

Sources said that the RSK of the school education department would soon issue a circular to all the private schools where BPL admissions were held on January 31 under the RTE. The circular would forbid the schools to mistreat or discriminate from other students admitted in the unreserved category. In case of any complaints registered, schools authorities will have to face prosecution.

Recently, during the BPL admissions in a prominent convent school in BHEL, students from the Hindi section were seen sitting outside the ground as the admission procedure was going on in the enclosed area where classes for V to VIII are generally held.

Also in the past, Rajya Shiksha Kendra had received complaints against a school in Arera Colony and another prominent public schools that students admitted under RTE were being treated differently.

According to the RTE Act, complaints of violations and discrimination would be settled at the school and School Management Committee (SMC) level itself, through the intervention of civil society groups.

If that does not happen, the next step would be for the complaint to be filed with the local authority. The complainant could appeal to the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) if the action of the local authority does not redress the complaint satisfactorily.

Schools to be inspected for RTE compliance

Schools to be inspected for RTE compliance
TNN | Feb 6, 2012, 05.56AM IST

PANCHKULA: Schools will soon be inspected to verify compliance of parameters provided under the Right to Education, said Jagat Singh, representative of the education department, to the court on Saturday.

The officer said a meeting was held with all the school heads on February 1, 2012, regarding the inspection of schools under Rule 15(3) of the RTE Act. The principals have been asked to inform the district education officer (DEO) after fixing a date with the concerned sarpanch or the ward municipal councillor for inspection of the respective school.

The three-member school inspection committee comprises the concerned district elementary education officer, the concerned block development officer and concerned village sarpanch (in case of rural area) or municipal councillor of the ward concerned (in case of urban area), according to a letter issued by state RTE co-ordinator, Haryana.

Pankaj Chandgothia, advocate-petitioner, who has filed the case for compliance of RTE provisions, pointed out that the department had failed to put the self-declaration forms submitted by 114 schools, in the public domain. Chandgothia said this was compulsory under Rule 15(2) of the RTE rules.

The government pleader submitted that the last date for submission of forms had been extended up to January 31 and therefore, the process of putting the information forms in the public domain would be started within this week.

The court asked the representative of the department to verify the status of two defaulting schools, National Primary School, Raipur Rani, and Saraswati Primary School, Kharak Mangoli, and file a written report within 7 days as to whether these schools are functioning or closed.

After hearing the arguments, the court asked the department's representative to take steps to implement sub-rules 2, 3 and 4 of Rule 15 of the RTE rules and report on February 10, when the case will be taken up for the next hearing. The court has already passed orders to the effect that 25% seats in each school will be filled exclusively through RTE quota.

Education sector in Goa takes a leap from '98 to 2009

Education sector in Goa takes a leap from '98 to 2009
Gauree Malkarnekar, TNN | Feb 6, 2012, 03.51AM IST

PANAJI: From 1998 to 2009, Goa attained figures that brought it in the bracket of the best in the education sector in the country.

Goa took the biggest strides when it came to universalization of education between 1998 and 2009, according to the latest research survey of the Union government's National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development.

"About 23% children aged 6-14 years never attended school (in the country). The percentage of children attending school was above 90% only in five states, namely Mizoram, Manipur, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Goa. More than 5% children dropped out in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Assam and Andhra Pradesh," states the study, observing improvement in school attendance attained by Goa from the late '90s onwards.

Abstracts in the research included from a study conducted in 2000, states, "Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry have achieved more than 90% gender parity at the primary stage."

The increase in female enrolment in the states was attributed to increased educational facilities in rural areas and a rise in the number of female teachers. Making available free text books, free uniforms and attendance scholarships also indicated a positive association, the study observed.

"A provision of 12.46 crore was made for loans for the education sector by the education departments of all states/UTs taken together (from 2005 to 2008). The highest percentage was in the case of Goa (27.14%) and lowest was in UP (0.98%). No provision for loans were made in states other than Goa and UP," states the study.

By 2009, Goa displayed huge improvement in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) of the Union government which evaluates the education situation in India. The ASER focused on basic reading, comprehension and arithmetic. ASER 2008 assessed the curriculum in early grades as well as indicators like time, school time-table, maps, famous people and currency tasks.

"The states that report the greatest improvement in ASER 2008, in decreasing order are Nagaland, Kerala, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Karnataka," states the research study.

Bill to address minorities' RTE concerns in next session: Sibal

Bill to address minorities' RTE concerns in next session: Sibal
TNN | Feb 5, 2012, 02.37AM IST

NEW DELHI: Human Resource Development Minister, Kapil Sibal, assured that the government is committed to address the concerns of the minority institutions with regards to the provisions of Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 infringing on minority institutions. The already introduced RTE Amendment Bill will be passed in the forthcoming budget session, the minister said.

Addressing at an event organized by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) at the India Islamic Cultural Centre in the city, Sibal said: "We have discussed these issues and let me assure that I will try to clear them with utmost sincerity."

AIMPLB has been critical of the RTE Act which provides establishing school management committees to prepare school development plan, and its provision states that such committees of minority institutions shall function only in an advisory capacity. AIMPLB alleged minority institutions, including madrasas, will lose their identity on account of it.

On the allegations of Muslim children facing difficulties in seeking admission to private schools, Sibal said "this is injustice and attention has to be paid to address the issue." I will discuss and seek explanations from schools in this regard, he said, adding 14 crore Muslims cannot be kept away from education and highlighted initiatives for promotion of education among the minorities.

Corporation pulled up for flaws in Chennai schools

Corporation pulled up for flaws in Chennai schools
Special Correspondent
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Finding several shortcomings in safety and infrastructure aspects in Chennai Schools, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has charged the Chennai Corporation with flouting norms, thereby failing to ensure the safety of the schoolchildren.

The CAG report tabled in the Assembly (for the year ending March 2010), in its performance review of 281 schools run by the Chennai Corporation between 2005-09, has revealed that none of the schools had obtained licence from competent authority for buildings under the Tamil Nadu Public Buildings (Licensing) Act, 1965, which stipulates that public buildings like schools should be used only under a valid licence for structural stability. The government's argument that they were government buildings and so exempted from such licence was not tenable as the Act clearly stipulates the schools, frequented by public, had to be certified by competent authority, the CAG report said.

No fire extinguishers

Audit also noticed that in 26 out of 79 (33 per cent) sample schools, the fire extinguishers were not refilled for periods ranging from two to three years.

In two schools, fire extinguishers were not installed. As fire and collapse of old buildings could be life-threatening accidents, the corporation, by flouting norms, has failed to ensure safety of school children, the report charged.

The CAG report also charged the corporation with not executing civil works in seven test-checked schools left to function from dilapidated buildings with 1,505 students for periods ranging from two to five years when there were instances of roof collapse and electric shocks due to damaged wiring.

Fund diversion

According to the report, only 47 to 53 per cent of Elementary Education Fund (EEF) was utilised during 2005-09 and Rs.35.05 crore was diverted to other works not authorised under EEF.

Besides, the Corporation spent only five to eight per cent for maintenance of buildings from education tax collected against the permitted percentage of 25 during the years 2005-10.

The report further detailed the shortcomings in sampled schools of lack of sanitation facilities, playgrounds, shortage of teachers, of even failing to provide nutritious noon meal to nearly 2,000 students in eight high and higher secondary schools and constructing kitchen platforms in 40 schools for a pollution free environment.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mid-day meal to be extended up to secondary level

Mid-day meal to be extended up to secondary level
Chetan Chauhan Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 05, 2012

World biggest meal scheme may be extended up to secondary level but the poor enrolled in private schools will not get government sponsored food owning to distinction it will create. Over 12 crore children up to upper primary level in 12.65 lakh schools across India are entitled to get hot
cooked meal once a day, a probable reason for over 10% jump in enrolment in schools in less than a decade.

The success has pushed HRD ministry led by Kapil Sibal to seek funds from the Planning Commission to expand the programme to the secondary level in a bid to retain students. "We expect the expansion in the 12th five year plan," Sibal said.

The idea is to reduce drop-out rate of children from upper primary to secondary level while improving the nutritional value. Less than 50 % of children taking admission in upper primary level enroll for secondary level.

Various studies have shown that food is an incentive for many parents to send their children to schools. "But the quality is food in many states is still a problem," a ministry official said.

The annual midday meal budget is about Rs 10,380 crore and the HRD ministry estimates an additional burden of about R2,000 crore for the expansion. For every child in upper primary level, the ministry provides R3.75 plus the cost for bringing food grains to the school. The ministry has, however, ruled out providing midday meal in private schools where 25% of admissions are reserved for children from economically weaker sections (EWS) saying it will create a class distinction.

It will take 100 years to revamp education!It will take 100 years to revamp education!

It will take 100 years to revamp education!
indianexpress Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: Revamping education system in a country like India will take 50 to 100 years of hard work, believes Professor Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, he was in the city as part of his six-city tour in the country.
The professor of cognitive psychology emphasized that for India, “there are no quick-fix solutions for changing the education system.” Speaking to the media at the Indian School of Business, the educationist spoke of the narrow framework in which educational institutions and learning are judged.
“The observation that if it is not quantified, it is not useful is a fall out of neoliberalist policies of the US and India. Quantifying intelligence does not take into account only school tests. If a child is doing well in school, do not spare a milli-second trying to quantify his abilities. Quantifying the various forms of intelligence helps when a child suffers from learning disabilities,” said the professor whose hypothesis of various forms of intelligences has been adapted across schools in the US to mentor students in a specific skill from a young age.
The professor pointed out that in India, where education is more about competition and less about understanding, the evaluation criteria has its drawbacks.
“There is a funnel problem in India where a large number of students are competing to get into a few elite schools such as the IITs. The admission process in universities in the US is much better as intake is not based on a single test score. It takes into account the candidate’s hobbies, interests and other aspects,” explained Gardner who visited IIT Chennai before his stop in the city.
He also underlined the importance of social capital a child brings to the school.
“Schools cannot foster creativity if they believe in error-free learning,” opined Gardner introducing his hypothesis which talks about five different minds and seven types of intelligences.
Among the five different minds which cover the psychology of an individual, the ‘synthesizing mind’ will be respected in the coming years, observed the cognitive psychologist.
“The ability to correlate information and connect relevant information is the function of a synthesizing mind. But there is also the need to develop an ethical mind,” he said. Sharing an anecdote, he said if students at Harvard were asked to read only one book in their life, he would recommend to them Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography, My Experiments With Truth. “It is not the most elegantly written book but captures best the ethical dilemmas an individual faces,” he said.

Nod to fill posts of 12k principals

Nod to fill posts of 12k principals
TNN | Feb 5, 2012, 03.44AM IST

BHOPAL: Around 12,000 posts of headmasters for primary and middle schools have been approved by the school education department of Madhya Pradesh under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

In a circular issued on Friday by commissioner Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK) Ashok Varnwal, around 12,000 posts of headmasters for primary and middle schools have been approved across the state.

Of these, 6,383 are of primary schools while 5,547 are of middle (high) schools. tnn

The number of head masters sanctioned for the Bhopal district is 140 for primary schools and 53 for the middle schools, while for Indore is 46 for primary schools and 27 for middle schools respectively.

Existing school teachers would have to be promoted to the post of headmasters by the respective District Education Officers (DEOs). This process would have to be completed by March 31.

Minorities' Concern About RTE Will Be Considered: Sibal

Minorities' Concern About RTE Will Be Considered: Sibal
PTI | New Delhi | Feb 04, 2012

Seeking to allay apprehensions about RTE provisions infringing on minority institutions, the government today said it is committed to address the issues and pass a bill for its amendment in the ensuing session of Parliament.

"We have discussed these issues and let me assure that I will try to clear them with utmost sincerity," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said at a function organised by All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).

In this regard, he said the RTE Amendment Bill has already been introduced in Parliament and "we are committed to pass it and will pass it in the coming budget".

While the Right to Education Act provides for establishing school management committees to prepare school development plan, the Bill states that such committees of minority institutions shall function only in an advisory capacity.

AIMPLB has been strongly criticising the Act alleging that minority institutions, including madrasas, will lose their identity on account of it.

AIMPLB Secretary, Maulana Muhammad Wali Rahmani had earlier told PTI that while on one hand, the Centre is talking of minority education under Article 30 of the Constitution which clearly says minorities can choose education of their choice, but contrary to it the Act defined everything including place of education, age of education, what to read and where to read.

On the demand for recurring grants to the institutes, Sibal said the demand has some problems because then such grants has to be extended to all other institutes.

Sibal expressed "serious concerns" about allegations of Muslim children facing difficulties seeking admission in private schools, saying this is "injustice" and attention has to be paid to address this issue.

The HRD Minister said he can discuss the issue with the schools and seek explanation in this regard.

"We are ready to do this. Students have the right to admission," he said, underlining that 14 crore Muslims cannot be kept away from education.

The government is extending all possible support for promotion of education of the minorities and has awarded 44 lakh pre-matric scholarships to them during 2011-12, Sibal said.

60 industrial training institutes have been set up in minority concentrated areas, he added.

About the concerns of AIMPLB with regards to direct tax codes and its impact on the minority community, Sibal said he will do his best to address the issue.
Filed On: Feb 04, 2012 19:21 IST

Out of course books' buying set in motion

Out of course books' buying set in motion
TNN | Feb 5, 2012, 03.41AM IST
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Read more:Right to Education|Rajya Shiksha Kendra|AK Dixit
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BHOPAL: School going children can hope to lay hands on books outside the school curriculum. Books for library in every school would be finalised by the Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK) by February-end. There are more than 1.5 lakh schools in the state.

The RSK has begun process for procuring books from December last year by inviting tenders from publishers. After inviting tenders by December-end last year, more than 650 publishers were chosen to supply books.

AK Dixit, additional director (Academic) RSK said, "These books have been selected to develop reading habits of primary school children. We are committed to creating a library in every school in the state under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Schools which do not have any library currently would get a priority."

According to the RTE Act, all schools are directed to have libraries both in letter and spirit. It enables students from classes I to VIII hailing from humble families to read books outside their syllabus.

The selection of books will be over by February-end, and work for setting up libraries would be taken care of by the year end.

Many schemes like 'Room to Read' for developing reading habits of school children like are in existence and being run in collaboration with the RSK. It works in two districts of Betul and Tikamgarh. Room to Read is working towards strengthening of school libraries by providing children's books to them.

The current scheme is being undertaken by the Reading Development Cell of the RSK. After the selection of books, the State Library Committee's approval will be sought.

47 Kids sick after midday meal

2 years on, students still await uniforms

Don’t revise EWS nursery lists already published: HC

Don’t revise EWS nursery lists already published: HC
Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Fri Feb 03 2012, 04:04 hrs

With new guidelines for nursery admission seekers from the economically weaker section (EWS) confusing schools and putting on hold lists of such applicants, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said schools that had already published selection lists before the court order were not required to revisit these.

“We have been reading in today’s newspapers that there is some confusion regarding admission under the EWS category. Those schools, which have already have published their lists, also have doubts. We think these admissions should not be disturbed. Otherwise, many children who have already been granted admission will be out,” said a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

Taking cognizance of the media reports, the court said it did not want to raise a “hue and cry” over its directive.

The court’s observations came as Ashok Agarwal, counsel for NGO Social Jurist, prepared to argue another matter regarding dismal conditions at a school in New Jafrabad, East Delhi.

Since Agarwal had intervened on January 31 in the EWS admission matter and brought to the notice of the court a 2007 judicial order on the basis of which distance criteria was re-defined, the bench put forth its opinion to him.

But Agarwal did not seem to agree with the court’s observation and said he favoured a uniform policy for all private schools so that no EWS child feels disadvantaged.

The court, on Thursday evening, issued its detailed order on the EWS “neighbourhood” criterion.

“Yes, the court’s observations are significant considering that some schools had already published their EWS lists. Ideally, all schools should now restructure their lists in terms of the court order. Complete clarity can come only if the court passes a formal order on this issue too if a petition reaches the bench,” Agarwal told Newsline.

Govt apathy ensures that right to education remains on paper

Govt apathy ensures that right to education remains on paper
Niranjanaradhya V P, Jan 30, 2012:

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (in short, the Right to Education Act) seems to have remained on paper in most states, including Karnataka.

This is not because of the fact that the Act was criticised since inception by the right to education activists due to its inherent flaws but because of the apathy and lack of political will of the states to implement the Act in letter and spirit.

The half-hearted response of the government of Karnataka from day one after the law was given effect to on April 1, 2010 is an indication of deliberate abdication of responsibility to implement the law. It is important to examine the implications of the non-implementation of the law as against the legitimate responsibility of the state to do so.

It is an established fact in the judicial procedure that unless we have well defined rules formulated by the state (appropriate government) none of the statutes can be implemented effectively and meaningfully to achieve the intended goal of legislation.

The Right to Education Act is no exception to this. Though the Right to Education Act was to come into effect from April 1, 2010, till now no rules have been framed to implement the Act. The Karnataka high court had also passed an order directing the state to notify the rules in response to a public interest litigation, but nothing has been done so far.

Firstly, the operational part of the Right to Education Act under section 3(1) to provide ‘Right to Free and Compulsory Education’ to every child in the age group of 6 to 14 years in the neighbourhood school remains non-operational in the private unaided schools.

As per section 12(1)(c) of the legislation, the private unaided schools are legally bound to provide at least 25 per cent of the seats in class I to children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the children residing in the neighbourhood of such private schools have been deprived of this legal entitlement for the last two years. This is an injustice done to the children belonging to marginalised sections and gross violation of their rights under the law.

Secondly, the most disheartening part is that though the Act provides for banning capitation fee and all forms of screening procedures while admitting the children in schools, the private institutions are blatantly collecting huge capitation or donation and openly conducting the screening procedure for both children as well as parents while admitting children to school.

Long queues for application
It is a common phenomenon in the city in the last two to three months that long queues were formed overnight before many private schools to obtain application forms for admission. This is simply because there are no rules to implement the corresponding provision under section 13 of the Right to Education Act that bans capitation fee and screening procedure.

More interestingly, the state itself is conducting the entrance exam for admissions in the residential schools run by the state government .The Karnataka State Residential Institutions Society is happily conducting the entrance for admission by violating the law of the land.

What is worrisome is that there is no sign of implementation of the law even in the third consecutive academic year (2012-13) after the law came into force. Prestigious private unaided institutions in the city have already finished the admission and other institutions are in the process of completing the new admission for the academic year 2012-13. It is a clear indication that the law in all probability will not come into effect even in the forthcoming academic year.

The story of free and compulsory education in the state does not end here. The state itself is violating the law. Under section 8 of the Act, the state has an obligation to provide free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the age group of 6-14 years. The Act further made it clear through an explanation saying ‘compulsion’ means obligation on the state.

But contrary to this, the educational manual prepared for primary schools by the department of public instruction and Sarva Shikshana Abhiyana Mission for the academic year 2011-12 has violated its own obligation under the law. The state has prescribed fee under various heads in the manual to be collected in all government schools for the year 2011-12. As per the manual, the children in class VI and VII need to pay Rs 38 and children in class VIII need to pay Rs 185 (page 41 of the manual). This defies logic as the state itself is in violation of the law, which it is duty-bound to uphold.

it is ironical that instead of the children having the right free and compulsory education, they only have an arbitrarily-fixed fee-based and non-compulsory education, making a mockery of the legislation passed with high intention, but little commitment to implement it.

(The writer is a fellow and programme head for universalisation of school education at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore)