Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan raises funds for special kids

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan raises funds for special kids

TNN Dec 16, 2012, 04.46AM IST

MANGALORE: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has joined hands with various cooperative societies in the district to raise funds to aid special children.
The funds will be used to provide free education and necessary equipment like wheelchairs, artificial limbs and other aids to these children.
SSA has identified 5,186 poor special children here and raised Rs 4.61 lakh from cooperative societies. Of the 5,186 children, SSA has identified 602 children who are severely mentally and physically challenged.
N Shivaprakash, deputy project coordinator of SSA, told STOI that for the upliftment of these special children, in the first phase, SSA has chosen 315 children. "Using these funds we will help children with disabilities to purchase books, medical aids, and other things," he added.
As many as 378 volunteers will conduct home-based education for physically challenged children who can not come to school, said Shivaprakash, adding that volunteers will conduct classes for two days in a week at respective homes of physically challenged children.
"Funds will be used to help children aged between 6 and 14. They will be given free transportation facility to travel from home to school every day. The motto is to make special students to come to schools regularly and provide good quality education and necessary services," he added.

Allow Section 25 companies to offer teacher training: CABE panel

23 Aug 2012
Against the backdrop of acute faculty crunch in the country, the Central Advisory Board of Education committee has suggested that Section 25 companies must be allowed to offer teacher training courses and run institutes offering these courses. The committee has been set up to develop framework and processes of the National Mission on Teachers and Teaching. The HRD Ministry is learnt to have indicated it has no objection in permitting such companies into the teacher training sector.
Headed by Dr D Purandeswari, Minister of State for MHRD, the CABE Committee has many state education ministers, academics and stakeholders from the education sector on its panel.
A Section 25 company is described as one formed as a limited company for promoting commerce, art, science, religion, charity or any other useful object, and intends to apply its profits to expand its institute. Profits cannot be shared among members in the form of dividends.
“Section 25 companies actually provide better governance and have high financial probity. There is generally a higher level of compliance to rules in these companies. Siphoning of funds is far more difficult under this set up. There is definitely a case for them to enter teacher training sector,” an official said.
Section 25 companies are able to attract more funds and loans owing to financial and administrative transparency. The All India Council for Technical Education and University Grants Commission already allow Section 25 companies within the education system.
[Source: Indian Express]

Nursery admissions from Jan 1

Nursery admissions from Jan 1

Shreya Roy Chowdhury, TNN Dec 14, 2012, 01.40AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has announced a fixed schedule for this year's nursery admissions to more than 1,200 private, unaided schools in the city, unlike the more flexible calendar last year that could be changed at the request of individual schools.
The admission process begins on January 1 and ends on March 30, 2013. The last date for submission of forms is January 15 and schools have to post the first list latest by February 15. The second list should be declared by February 28, according to a Directorate of Education release.

The other change is the inclusion of 'orphans' in the disadvantaged category, which makes such students eligible to apply for the 25% reserved quota. Other guidelines remain the same.
"Earlier, the admission dates were only indicative. Schools could write to the department and change dates and that would lead to confusion," said Amit Singla, director, Education.
The guidelines also state that schools will have to ensure "admission applications are made available to all applicants till the last date of submission of applications". This will benefit parents as they will have more time for the application process. There were schools that had distributed forms for less than a week last year.
The EWS admissions will take place the way they did last year with a common form and schools submitting the number of vacancies after the first round of admissions to the directorate by April 6.
Candidates applying under the 'orphans' category would need to produce a certificate declaring them orphans. Till recently there was no agency authorized to issue such a certificate. That has been fixed.
The department of women and child development has, through an order dated December 11, 2012, authorized all child welfare committees (CWC) to "issue certificate declaring a child orphan...under Delhi Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2009 after necessary inquiry".
Ajay Singh, chairman, CWC Dilshad Garden, welcomed the move to include this category but objected to the term 'orphan' which, he felt bore an %"negative connotation". He preferred "child without parental support".
The guidelines remain the same in practically every other respect. A February notification directing schools to have as many seats at the entry level as the highest number in the last three years still remains applicable. And schools are free to adopt any system - draw of lots or points system - for admitting and are also free to decide on the criteria that'll be awarded points.
Schools welcome status quo
School authorities are pleased the nursery admission guidelines remain unchanged but parents and education activists are unhappy for the same reason.
"I am glad the schools will have autonomy with respect to the parameters for admission. If an old school wants to give more points to children of alumni, there's nothing wrong with that. This flexibility has to be allowed," says SK Bhattacharya of the Action Committee for Unaided Recognized Private Schools.

The point-system has been the bone of contention between schools and activists. Social jurist Ashok Agarwal considers it discriminatory and "for the benefit of the institute, the school management and not child-centric". He had filed the PIL against it in the high court that made it touch-and-go for the points system. "They are only perpetuating the dynasty system," he continues, "helping a minority of kids through points for alumni and siblings."
Schools have welcomed the increase in time allowed for registration. "There is enough flexibility available to the school. It gives managing committees the freedom to decide on the criteria and we understand that they have to be completely transparent," says L V Sehgal, chairman, National Progressive Schools Conference and principal, Bal Bharati School, Pusa Road.
Parents who were expecting a change, given hope by PILs, have been disappointed. "I am a little disappointed because the criteria haven't changed this year," says Kavita Chawla from Srinivaspur who will be applying for her daughter, a first child. She feels that an unchanging points system means her daughter's chances will reduce — they'll lose the points for alumni or sibling. Nitin Goel, 30, a finance professional based in Dwarka, too, is disappointed. "There has been no improvement. I went to schools in Dwarka and they straightaway asked for donation. This is their only criterion," says Goel.

"These aren't really guidelines," says Sumit Vohra, founder, admissionsnursery.com, "This is just a calendar. Schools have once again been given the autonomy to do what they please. We are afraid the result will be even worse than last year when many parents failed to admit their kids despite applying to over 20 schools each." But he also admits that the fixing of the last dates will help. "Last year, one school gave forms for only four days, another for six days," he says, adding, "the notification directing schools to keep as many seats at entry-level as the highest number in the last three years will not allow schools to reduce their seats."

The inclusion of orphans in the "EWS-disadvantaged groups" category is probably the only move that's welcomed by everyone. The certification will be the responsibility of Child Welfare Committees.
Parents unhappy with new admission norms
The admission guidelines issued by the Directorate of Education on Thursday have, in retaining last year's guidelines, disappointed the parents, who were expecting a change in at least the points system.
They had hoped a limit will be imposed on points allotted for categories such as alumni and siblings and more weightage will be given to distance criterion. A batch of PILs over the points system and talks of centralized system had gotten their hopes up.
However, the fact that the guidelines have left the schools to decide on the parameters has come as a relief to school authorities.
"This is as per expectation," says Manika Sharma, principal The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar.
Meanwhile, the hearing on the PIL, for which DoE was waiting, has been postponed to the middle of January.
Parents and activists were also hoping the guidelines would fix an upper limit on the age of eligible candidates. "There is a mass confusion every year because there is no upper limit on age. While in some schools candidates get points for being older than four, in others they will be denied admission into nursery altogether," says Sumit Vohra of admissionsnursery.com.
Guidelines governing EWS admissions into minority schools on government land were also expected. Amit Singla, director, Education says they will now be given in a separate order which is "in the process".
Moreover, as lawyer and social jurist, Khagesh Jha points out, that despite discussion on the subject, no provision for grievance-redressal has been mentioned in the guidelines

Schools in strife areas need to be re-defined: National Consultation on Education

Schools in strife areas need to be re-defined: National Consultation on Education

Manash Pratim Gohain, TNN Dec 14, 2012, 12.10PM IST

NEW DELHI: "Schools in strife areas need to be re-defined to meet the multiple and complex needs of children in affected areas, schools need to become inclusive spaces and examine the violence within the schools, community participation and role of school management committees and gram panchayats critical in ensuring schooling for children and need to build a cadre of community mobilisers/facilitators who can work both with community and the system."
These are some of the key recommendations suggested at the two-day National Consultation on
The consultation was inaugurated by the minister of human resource development, M M Pallam Raju. The deliberation was jointly organized by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR), National University of Educational Planning and Administration(NUEPA)and UNICEF. The consultation discussed the issues and challenges of implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education enacted in April 2010 in areas affected by civil strife with a particular focus on advancing quality education with equity.
"Although there have been challenges, it is heartening to see the efforts made by the community, government and civil society organizations in enabling children to continue schooling. There is much to learn from the field experiences, the importance of community participation, making schools as 'Zones of Peace' and focused attention on special groups like orphans and internally displaced children are some lessons that need to be shared and scaled," said Urmila Sarkar, chief of education at the concluding session.
Focusing on the critical need for quality education in these areas, Dhir Jhingran, RTE national coordinator, RTE Monitoring Cell, NCPCR said: "There is a need of having a different cadre of teachers to engage with children affected by strife. We need to prepare this cadre that will understand the children's particular needs and promote learning through quality teaching. We need to review and revamp preand in-service teacher training for teachers in these areas."
Over 100 representatives from central and state governments, civil society organisations, media, UN agencies, academicians and community members came together for the key consultation. Some of the key recommendations to re-configure schools in conflict areas are schools in strife areas need to be re-defined to meet the multiple and complex needs of children in affected areas; schools need to become inclusive spaces and examine the violence within the schools, that comes from discrimination in various forms; focus on quality of teaching learning fundamental - review the quality of teaching learning practices to ensure comparable attainment amongst children in strife affected areas; focus on teachers - harmonise different teacher cadre, ensure appropriate remuneration and facilities, security, psycho-social care for teachers is also essential; there is an urgent need to review the pre and in-service teacher training programs for teachers working in these areas.
Other recommendations include issues of child protection, health and psycho-social care need to be addressed to enable RTE implementation; inter- agency, inter-department planning, coordination and review essential; effective multi-layered child tracking system a must.
The consultation also recommended deriving strategies from the field such as role of community; community participation and role of school management committees and gram panchayats in ensuring schooling for children; the need to build a cadre of community mobilisers/facilitators who can work both with community and the system; promote engagement of youth as mobilisers, role models and champions.

Learning from South Asia the deliberation suggested schools as zones of peace; free schools and children from conflict, establish code of conduct within and outside school; ensure conflict free class rooms and ensure that schools work uninterrupted for the RTE stipulated number of days.
Specific Category of Children need responsive programming like, orphans, internally displaced children, tribal children and girls.
The consultation is a culmination of a year-long work of a National Steering Committee convened by NCPCR, NUEPA and UNICEF with, Dr.Shanta as Chair and comprising of representatives from the relevant ministries, academia, UN and civil society.

New nursery rules give poor kids helping hand

New nursery rules give poor kids helping hand

New Delhi: Dec 14, 2012 DH News Service
Govt releases admission guidelines for 2013-2014
Much to parent’s disappointment, nursery guidelines for 2013-14 academic session do not have many changes for the general category compared to last year.

However, more relief has been given to students who will apply under the Economically Weaker Section category.

Since the High Court refused to urgently hear a public interest litigation that challenged the points system followed by private schools, the Directorate of Education decided to release the guidelines, which were prepared in advance, as the next hearing is on January 23.

One of the most prominent additions is that of including orphans under the disadvantaged category who will be required to produce a certificate issued by the Department of Women and Child Development, Delhi.

Also, the neighbourhood distance criteria devised by the HC in the January order for EWS admissions has been included in the guidelines. Schools will have to provide 25 per cent seats to EWS students across entry level classes like pre-school, pre-primary and even class 1.

Similar to last year, a common registration form for admission under EWS has been uploaded on DoE’s website.

After reports on schools charging for these forms, the DoE has given specific instructions which state, “Every school shall ensure that the registration forms in the prescribed performa are made available free of cost to all applications under EWS and disadvantaged group without any barrier or hindrance.”

Guidelines also specify that the number of entry level seats should not be less than the highest number of seats in the entry class “during the previous three years.” “Even children who did not get admission last year will benefit as seats will be increased. But there are no specifications on the criteria for students from the minority community,” said Khagesh Jha, advocate and Right to Education  campaigner.

Schools have been directed to send details about the number of vacant seats under EWS at the end of the admission procedure to the area deputy director of education by April 4, 2013.

The collated information will then be forwarded to DoE’s main branch to ensure that vacant seats are filled before the academic session starts.

School principals said they are relieved to see the guidelines.
“The guidelines should have been given much earlier as it would have helped us start the procedure in a better manner. We are happy that the department has specified the dates as well,” said Ameeta Wattal, principal of Springdales School, Pusa Road. “We will follow the same admission criteria as last year’s.”

Parents who plan to apply under the general category are still demanding online forms.
“What is there in the guidelines for parents? Parents were expecting some change in the guidelines where neighbourhood and first child will be given preference. Considering last year’s admission process, we are not hopeful that this year it will be smooth,” said Sumit Vohra, founder, admissionsnursery.com.

He added that parents should not focus on brands but go for neighbourhood schools.

UP teachers protest against non-payment of 6th pay commission arrears

29 Jan 2013
Thousands of teachers of various colleges in Uttar Pradesh went on mass casual leave demanding payment of arrears as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, thereby crippling the teaching activity in the state. Teachers have been demanding for payment of their arrear for the period from January 1, 2006 to November 30, 2008.
Lucknow University Associated Colleges Teachers’ Association has blamed the state government for not releasing the arrear amount. “Welfare of teachers seems to be the last priority of the state government,” said, Manoj Pandey President of LUACTA.
Teachers are also demanding Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav to immediately intervention in the matter to resolve their problems.
Federation of UP Universities Teachers’ Association also participated in the protest and said that even after the state is facing acute shortage of teachers, the state government has not extended the retirement age of teachers from 62 to 65 years, while many of the states have done that, reported Times of India.
Teachers have also threatened to boycott the annual examinations to be held in March if the government does not pay attention to their needs. LUACTA has appealed to the teachers to abstain from all examination work including paper setting, conducting practical examinations and evaluation.

Now, common admission schedule for all schools in Maharashtra

Now, common admission schedule for all schools in Maharashtra

Swati Shinde Gole, TNN Dec 5, 2012, 05.16AM IST

PUNE: The state directorate of education will issue a common admission schedule for all schools in the next 10 days. Schools will have to set their admission dates and deadlines as per this schedule, announce dates for the issue of application forms and the last date for receiving them. The state will also make it mandatory for all schools to declare the total number of applications they have received and the number of admissions they have granted.
However, the common admission schedule will not be applicable to standalone pre-schools that have classes only up to senior kindergarten (KG). Anil Kale, state project director, Maharashtra Prathmik Shikshan Parishad, clarified that the right to free and compulsory education Act (RTE) is not applicable to such schools. Also, the common schedule will not apply to schools such as unaided minority institutions, which are exempt from RTE as per an SC ruling in April this year.

Kale told TOI on Tuesday that the common schedule is one of the steps towards regulating the admission process in schools across all boards. He warned that action will be taken against schools which conduct admissions at their own convenience.
Kale said the common schedule will tentatively start in January, with the first date being that for the issue of application forms. Parents will have to submit the forms at a particular date set by the state education department and schools will scrutinise these forms for the free and general categories. After scrutiny, schools will have to declare the number of applications made under the 25% reservation rule of the RTE. This list should be put up by the schools on their websites as well as on the school notice boards.
Kale said that if the number of applications at the entry level exceeds the number of free seats (25% reservation) available, admissions will be conducted by a draw of lots. A three-member committee — one from the Parent-Teacher Association, another from the school management committee and an education officer — will be present when the lots are drawn.
However, if the number of applications under the 25% reservation is less than the number of reserved seats, then all students seeking admission under RTE must be admitted. After this, schools must once again declare the list of students who have been granted admissions under the general and free categories.

48 educationists among 108 Padma awardees

28 Jan 2013
The highest civilian awards in the country, Padma awards has as many as 48 educationists featuring in all the three categories - Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri announced for the year 2012.
Out of the four Padma Vibhushan announced this year, two have gone to noted educationists Prof Yash Pal and Prof Roddam Narasimha. While out of 24 Padma Bhushan announced, nine have been bagged by educationists both Indian and NRIs, and of the total 80 Padma Shri Awards, 37 have been given to educationists from various institutions in India as well as abroad.
Prof Yash Pal and Prof Roddam Narasimha have been honoured with Padma Vibhushan for their contributions in the area of Science and Engineering.
Prof Yash Pal is a noted scientist and educator and has also held several key positions in various bodies of higher education. He has served as Chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC) from 1986-91, before joining UGC; he was Secretary in Department of Science & Technology 1984-86. Prior to that he was Chief Consultant of Planning Commission from 1983-84 and has recently retired from the post of Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which he held from 2007 to 2012.
Prof Roddam Narasimha is an Aerospace Scientist and fluid Dynamicist and is presently serving as Chairman of Engineering Mechanics Unit of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR). Prof Narasimha also holds the Pratt & Whitney Chair in Science and Engineering at the University of Hyderabad.
Nine educationists have been named for the Padma Bhushan award for their contribution in three areas Science and Engineering, Medicine and Literature & Education.
People who have been awarded Padma Bhushan for contribution in the area of Science and Engineering are Dr A S Pillai, Dr V K Saraswat, Dr Ashoke Sen, Dr B N Suresh, Prof S N Atluri (USA) and Prof Jogesh Chandra Pati (USA).
Prof Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (USA) and Dr Mangesh Padgaonkar have been awarded Padma Bhushan for their contribution in the area of Literature & Education. Dr Nandkishore Shamrao Laud has been awarded for his contribution in the area of Medicine.
Padma Awards are country’s highest civilian awards, given in various fields of activities, like art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. The awards are conferred by the President of India at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhawan sometime around March/ April.
By Abhay Anand

WB govt to give second thought to CET

22 Jan 2013
The proposed Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission into post graduate streams might not get implemented from this year, as the West Bengal government is planning to give a second though to it. Many of the universities are facing showdown by the student and academic community on the issue.
State government last year, came up with this proposal of introducing CET for admission into post graduate courses. The test is to be held on June 25 this year.
Sugata Marjit, Chairman West Bengal Higher Education Council said, “The government is not in a hurry. It is taking note of the reactions at various levels among the academia, from teachers to students, and is trying its best to arrive at a consensus on CET. Let everyone appreciate the principle of social inclusion instead of opposing a policy framework by raising the university autonomy flag. Opposing CET may sound elitist but it actually promotes mediocrity and social discrimination.”
The government is also planning to bring a bill in the assembly, to make sure that state universities adhere to CET, said a higher education official, reported Times of India.
“We are not going to compel universities to admit students solely on their CET scores,” Marjit added.

MHRD launches National Vocational Education Qualification Framework

17 Jan 2013
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF), to be implemented from 2013-14. The scheme will be implemented in educational systems throughout schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities starting from Class IX onwards.
Through NVEQF, Ministry aims to develop the skills and competencies of students opting for vocational courses. Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked its affiliated schools to offer as an additional compulsory subject by rationalising the existing content for classes IX and X, on pilot basis.
Under the NVEQF, various domains have been identified for implementation in schools starting from class IX from the session 2013-14, which includes retail, security, information technology and automobile technology, reported Times of India.
Under pilot programme, 42 school affiliated with CBSE have introduced these courses from the academic session 2012-13. The competency based curriculum package would consist of syllabus, student manual, trainers guide, training manual, teacher qualifications and multimedia packages and e-material to facilitate the successful implementation of the courses.

Former Haryana CM convicted for 3,206 illegal teachers recruitment

16 Jan 2013
A special CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) court has convicted former Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala and his son and MLA Ajay Chautala and 53 others for the illegal recruitment of over 3000 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in the State.
The CBI had framed charges against the Chautalas and others in connection with the scam relating to appointment of 3,206 junior basic teachers in the State during 1999-2000, on June 6, 2008.
CBI in its chargesheet, had said that the probe established the manner in which the second lists were made by calling the chairpersons and members of the district-level selection committees of 18 districts to Haryana Bhawan and a guest house in Chandigarh, where the modalities were worked out.
CBI, in its chargesheet, had also said that the father-son duo had used forged documents to appoint 3,206 teachers, reported The Hindu.

8 states have underperformed in Saakshar Bharat mission: MHRD report

02 Jan 2013
The functioning of the programme, Saakshar Bharat in Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh has been found to be below par, states Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Year End Review for the Department of School Education and Literacy.
96 per cent of 2,14,561 Primary and 1,76,361 Upper Primary schools sanctioned under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have become operational by 2012, Central government has also approved setting up of model schools in 2,266 blocks covering 22 States.
Against the budget allocation of Rs.550 crore, Rs.1500 crore and Rs. 2512.45 core during 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 for Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) respectively.
Since the launch of Saakshar Bharat, the new variant of the National Literacy Mission, in September 2009, the Mission has been sanctioned in 372 districts and its functioning is reviewed periodically. 
The centrally sponsored scheme to set up 6,000 model schools at the rate of one school per block was launched in November 2008. Out of these, 3,500 schools are to be set up in educationally backward blocks (EBBs) through State/UT Governments and the remaining 2,500 schools are to be set up under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode in blocks which are not educationally backward.
The Planning Commission has recommended that the mandate of existing programme structures, including the National Literacy Mission Authority at the apex level, the State Literacy Mission Authorities at the State level and the Lok Shiksha Samitis at the District, Block and the Gram Panchayat levels, as well as the resource support bodies, would be remodelled, strengthened and aligned to lifelong learning and literacy.
In addition, the active involvement of public authorities at all administrative levels, civil society, the private sector, community and adult learners’ organisations in the development, implementation & evaluation of adult learning & education programmes would be obtained.
473 model schools have so far become functional in eight states. Implementation of the PPP component of the Model School Scheme has been initiated from 2012-13 and proposals have since been received in response to the Request for Qualification (RFQ) to pre-qualify the private entities for this purpose.
Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan established its seven new regional offices at the following locations during the year 2012-13 after necessary approval of the MHRD and Ministry of Finance, Government of India. The regional offices have been set up at, Agra (UP), Varanasi (UP), Sirsa (Haryana), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Ernakulam (Kerala) and Tinsukia (Assam).

Transparent framework essential for private education: Pranab Mukherjee

28 Dec 2012
“The objectives of reform and change in our higher education system must be expansion, excellence and inclusion. It is essential that a transparent framework for better service delivery be established in the field of private education,” said, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
The President added, “Universities must satisfy the citizens that they are taking up the cause of education not for private profit but in public service. There is a clear view that higher education needs a systematic re-look, so that India can educate much larger numbers without diluting academic standards.”
“Universities need to provide quality education that meet international benchmarks. With unlimited demands and limited resources, it is important that the private sector also contributes its best to the provision of higher education in India. The private sector has played a key role in higher education in other countries across the world. Many top universities including Harvard, Yale and Stanford are the result of efforts of the private sector. There is no reason why Indian private sector cannot achieve similar results,” Pranab Mukhrejee said at the Convocation of Sri Ramaswamy Memorial (SRM) University.

Quality of Indian education lower than Bangladesh, Nepal & Bhutan: Amartya Sen

24 Dec 2012
“The quality of education is very low in our country. Even countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan are much advance than us. It is just because they give more importance to education. Many people cannot attend school, numbers of teachers are less and there is lack of mentality to get education. Even political wills are not so strong here,” said, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.
Dr Sen expressed his deep concerns on the ongoing fall in the quality of education in the country. Dr Sen said that quality of education has fallen down dramatically in India. He revealed that India was the second last country in quality of education. “Pakistan is the only country behind us,” he added.
Giving examples of China and Korea, he said that whether its Communist-ruled China or market-oriented Korea, all are very advance in education as those countries have given importance in quality of education.
Prof. Sen said that he does not support the withdrawal of examination system and is also opposed to the “demands” of increasing marks of those students who get low numbers.
[Source: Asian Age]

Central Govt sanctions Rs 2100 Cr to set up model schools

17 Dec 2012
The Government of India has approved setting up of model schools in 2,266 in educationally backward blocks (EBBs) covering 22 States in the country.  The financial sanctions of Rs. 2,110.80 Crore have been approved for setting up 1,880 model schools, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resource Development said in Rajya Sabha.
The scheme was launched by the central government in 2008 and under this plan 6,000 model schools were to be set up at the rate of one school per block. Out of these, 3,500 schools are to be set up in educationally backward blocks (EBBs) through State/UT Governments and the remaining 2,500 schools are to be set up under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode in blocks which are not educationally backward.
Under the State sector component of the scheme, proposals to set up model schools in 2,973 blocks have been received from 24 States/UTs. Out of these, model schools in 2,266 blocks covering 22 States have been approved. Financial sanctions amounting to Rs. 2,110.80 crore have been accorded for setting up 1,880 model schools in 21 States. 473 model schools have so far become functional in 8 States. Implementation of the PPP component of the Model School Scheme has been initiated from 2012-13 and proposals have since been received in response to the Request for Qualification (RFQ) to pre-qualify the private entities for this purpose.

Odisha Teachers' Eligibility Test held successfully on Sunday

Odisha Teachers' Eligibility Test held successfully on Sunday

PTI Dec 3, 2012, 12.35PM IST

CUTTACK (ODISHA): More than one lakh school teachers on Sunday appeared Odisha Teachers' Eligibility Test (OTET) conducted by State Board of Secondary Education ( BSE). Board sources said at least 1,45,065 teachers had wished to take the one-day examination and accordingly 392 examination centers were set up across the State.
"The OTET scheduled for two sittings on the day went off smoothly at all the designated centers and there was no untoward incident reported from any parts till evening," the Board President D P Nanda said adding that the district administrations, including the local police extended all help for the smooth conduct of the examination.

The eligibility test conducted for the teachers was held for the first time in the State as it was an essential eligibility criterion for any teacher under National Council for Teachers' Education. The State government had earlier decided to hold this test in July this year but it was deferred to this month following an order of Orissa high court.

Expansion, equity, excellence priorities in 12th Plan: MHRD

14 Dec 2012
Union Ministry for Human Resource and Development has spelt out its priorities in the 12th Plan. As per the draft of the 12th Plan it builds on the momentum generated during the Eleventh Plan and continues the focus on the ‘Three Es’—expansion, equity and excellence, informed Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha.
The total Plan allocation of the Department of Higher Education for the Twelfth Five Year Plan is Rs.1, 10,700 crore. In the first year of the Twelfth Plan i.e. Annual Plan 2012-13, an allocation of Rs.15,458 crore has been made for the Department of Higher Education, of which an amount of Rs.7974 crore has been spent so far.
The 12th Plan adopts a holistic approach to the issues of expansion, equity and excellence so that expansion is not just about accommodating ever larger number of students, but is also about providing wider choices of subjects, levels and institutions while ensuring a minimum standard of academic quality and providing the opportunity to pursue higher education to all sections of society, particularly the disadvantaged.

Relax RMSA norm to improve school-education: Punjab CM

Relax RMSA norm to improve school-education: Punjab CM
05 Dec 2012
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has urged HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju to relax the '5-km distance' criteria under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan to boost school-level education in the state. The scheme is shared initiative of the Centre and state government to achieve universalisation of secondary education.
The scheme aims to provide a secondary school within a reachable distance of any habitation, which should be 5 km for secondary school.
Badal asked that the 'distance condition' should be made 3 km instead of 5 km subject to village population of 1,500 and above, and availability of at least 20 students to be admitted in Class IX and X under the scheme, reported Business Standard.
"Henceforth, for many schools 'distance condition' was not being met for up-gradation from middle to secondary schools whereas these schools were located in villages with large population," he said.
Consequently, the state government is not getting its due share from the Centre under RMSA which amounted to penalising the state for the good work done in the past, Badal said.
Raju said he would soon take up the matter for relaxing the norms under RMSA.

Teachers protest against delay in increasing retirement age in Jharkhand


Around two lakh school teachers in Madhya Pradesh went on a strike demanding equal pay for equal work. The strike would be held till December 5th, 2012.
The Adhyapak Sanyukta Morcha spearheading the protest held demonstration to protest against the school education department. More than 50,000 schools remained closed in the state though the bandh did not have much effect in Bhopal as December 3 was a local holiday in Bhopal in memory of gas victims.
On the other hand, schools at places near Bhopal like Berasia and Phanda blocks were also closed, reported Times of India.
Coordinator of Adhyapak Sanyukta Morcha, Murlidhar Patidhar said, "There has been no communication from the government's side regarding our demands. Education minister's PA Girish Shinde said the officials were instructed to fulfill their demands. However, officials deny any such thing."
"Teachers are receiving lesser wages for their work. Previously, the government was forewarned that in case the wages were not increased, strike would continue. In case there is no action till December 5, then teachers would stage protests in the state capital," he added.

700,000 teaching posts vacant under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

26 Nov 2012
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development is facing faculty shortage of over 700,000 posts. The teaching posts are vacant across the country, the ministry said.
"Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a total of 1.98 million teacher posts have been sanctioned till 2012-13 since inception, against which 1.25 million teachers have been recruited by states/UTs, leaving 734,000 vacancies," Minister of state in the HRD ministry Shashi Tharoor said.
"In addition, the states/UTs have reported 5, 65,905 vacancies up to March 2012 against teacher posts borne on the state budget," he said in response to a question in Rajya Sabha.

CABE approves recommendations of the Justice Verma Commission

15 Nov 2012
The CABE (Central Advisory Board on Education), the highest advisory body to advise the Central and State Governments in the field of education in its 60th meeting has approved the recommendations made by Justice Verma Commision on teacher education.
 Union Human Resource Development Minister, Dr. M. M. Pallam Raju speaking during the meeting said that the purpose of education should be to build an inclusive, fair and just society. In a country as diverse and as large as India, the task of developing national policies while at the same time respecting and incorporating regional aspirations and an inclusive agenda of growth is indeed a real challenge. 
The Minister emphasized on a participatory approach in which Central Government and State Governments, academics, autonomous institutions, private sector and all other stakeholders, should work together. He also emphasised the importance of Teachers’ education as also the need to prohibit unfair practices in schools and need for close cooperation in implementation of the RTE (Right to Education) Act.  
Talking about Higher education Dr. Raju said that the consolidation of the initiatives undertaken during XI Plan period, strengthening of the State Institutions, Faculty development, strengthening Research and Innovation in Basic Sciences and Social Sciences, Skill Building and Vocational Education should be the critical focus areas.
The meeting discussed on various issues such as recommendations of Justice Verma Committee on Teacher Education, CABE Committee on prevention of unfair practices adopted by schools, Review of implementation of RTE Act, on expanding RTE up to Class X and to include preschool education
The meeting also discussed several key issues for higher education sector such as issues relating to higher and technical education, CABE Committee on university reforms, national framework in higher education, role of states in mandatory accreditation and all India higher education survey.
After detailed discussions, the following resolutions were adopted, first, CABE discussed the recommendations of the Justice Verma Commission and endorsed it, and it also approved the suggested Action Plan for implementation of the recommendations. Second, need for extending the RTE deadline for completion of school infrastructure by March end 2013, while some other members of CABE did not support such an extension. 
Third, CABE reiterated the need for the initiative to curb prevalent unfair practices in the school education sector including charging of capitation fees, misleading and non-transparent processes adopted by schools for admission of students in higher classes, appointment of ineligible and unqualified teachers and unanimously endorsed the proposed legislation.
Fourth, the report of the CABE Committee on University Reforms was discussed.  CABE accepted the recommendation to incentivise the state universities and institutions and endorsed in–principle the proposed Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan. CABE decided that the other issues such as National Higher Education Framework, role of States in mandatory accreditation, and reform in polytechnic sector be discussed in the next meeting.
By IER Staff

Tamil Nadu govt. to create 8000 new posts to strengthen school education system

15 Nov 2012
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa has ordered creation of nearly 8,000 new posts, including that of 1,591 PG teachers, and allocated Rs 152.73 crore for infrastructure facilities in 131 schools as an effort to strengthen the school education system.
Chief Minister ordered creation of 1,591 post-graduate teacher posts to meet the requirement of government higher secondary schools, which will cost at an additional annual expenditure of Rs 63.94 crore to the government.
She has also ordered creation of 1,764 posts of junior assistants one each for as many schools, which would cost the state exchequer an additional annual burden of Rs 109.03 crore. Last year, a total of 1,590 PG teacher posts were created, besides 544 lab attendants and 344 junior assistant posts had also been filled already.
[Source: Zee News]

E9 ministerial review meeting ends with adoption of New Delhi Commitment

12 Nov 2012
The review meeting of Ministers of Education and heads of delegation of the E-9 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan) ended in with the adoption of the New Delhi Commitment.
They decided to work together on five key issues, first, curriculum reform and development of teaching and learning materials; second, strategies for making schools inclusive; third, professional development of teachers to impact learning for all; fourth, use of ICTs for enhanced access and learning; fifth, develop institutional capacities for assessing learning outcomes.

The 3-day meeting took stock of the progress towards the Education for All (EFA) goals and to renew cooperation in consolidating the gains and addressing remaining challenges. The member-states reaffirmed the central role of education in all development endeavours and in promoting peace and social cohesion.
They affirmed the changing political and economic balance in the world, where the E-9 countries are in a position to play a pivotal role in global debates about the future development and education agendas. In this context, they recognised the importance of the E-9 group being a full member of the new global EFA Steering Committee.
They decided to expand their cooperation in the area of inclusive, relevant quality education for all. They recognised relevance and equity as key dimensions of quality in their future efforts and resolved to address the same by making their education systems more flexible and responsive.
They further decided to adopt a systemic approach to addressing the challenges of education quality, relevance and learning effectiveness. In this context, they welcomed UNESCO’s efforts in developing an instrument for diagnosis and analysis of education systems.
They decided to make education more relevant to the social and cultural context and to people’s lives,     engage with local communities to ensure that all children, youth and adults, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity, language, differential ability, economic background and location, receive quality education. Focus on capacity building of teachers to adapt learning and teaching processes to the diverse needs, capabilities and contexts of learners. To improve the work conditions of teachers and the issue of attracting, retaining, supporting and developing a high quality education workforce should be central in the E-9 cooperation agenda.
They also decided to strengthen assessment systems for measuring learning outcomes in a contextual and culturally sensitive manner, design participatory educational management systems involving learners, teachers, families and local communities.
Dr M M Pallam Raju, Union Minister for Human Resource Development addressing the media, said some of the most notable outcomes of education have been drop in population growth and higher enrolment especially for girls. Referring to China’s spectacular success in opening educational avenue for migrant workers, the Minister said platforms like E9 are a forum to share best practices in the field of education. The Minister of State for HRD Dr Shashi Tharoor informed that during the deliberations Nigeria was appreciative of India’s success at getting children into school. He said there’s a direct correlation between increase in education and decline in population.
IER Staff

Every Indian must have access to education of good quality: Dr. Pallam Raju

12 Nov 2012
Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, Union Minister for Human Resource Development speaking on National Education Day said, “India has emerged as a global leader and a strong nation at the turn of this century. Education is the key to the task of nation building as well as to provide requisite knowledge and skills required for sustained growth of the economy and to ensure overall progress. Maulana Azad, as independent India’s first Minister for Education, had laid the foundations of the education system of our country and his ideas and ideals continue to guide us for achieving quality education to all our children. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) is indeed a major step forward in concretizing Maulana’s vision of free and compulsory education for all. We are now moving towards universalisation of secondary education through Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan. Maulana had also emphasized on technical and higher education and we are working relentlessly in that direction.”
“India, as we all know, is an emerging economy with a very favourable dependency ratio. If we wish to earn the demographic dividend, then we must provide education and skills to all our youth so that they can develop themselves into human resources, not only for the development of our nation but also for the world. Thus, we need to take a holistic view of development of education for empowerment of our children and youth,” said the Minister.
“In my view, there are certain contextual realities that we need to consider while considering the importance of education and skill development in the present state of globalization and emergence of knowledge societies. Firstly, there has been the tremendous advancement in technology which has transformed the nature of delivery systems in education. Secondly, the global economies are becoming increasingly integrated. Cross border manufacturing processes and global transactions in services sector have created a demand for education not only of “national quality” but also which helps further this process of globalized economy,” he said.
“Thirdly, in a knowledge economy, the wealth of a nation will not be measured in terms of its natural resources but in terms of its human capital. Thus, we need to promote research and innovation in our institutions and create an eco-system of excellence right from the elementary level up to the institutions of high-end research and innovation,” Dr. Raju added further.
Dr. Raju said, “we need to ensure access to quality education for all so as to create an environment whereby the fruits of development and growing opportunities are available to all sections. Apart from expanding access to elementary and secondary education we have opened a number of new institutions of higher learning in our quest for access to education with equity and quality. Several new initiatives such as setting up of Meta—Universities, design Innovation centres, research parks, focus on research and innovation are also underway.”
“Technology Enabled Learning through the National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT) is being implemented by my Ministry to leverage the potential of ICT in providing high-quality, personalized, and interactive knowledge modules over the internet in a any-time, any-where mode. IIT Bombay, along with the Ministry of has created several useful educational applications for the Aakash tablet. Teachers and students in the remotest corners of our country can join a classroom and benefit from lectures delivered by the best teachers,” said the Minister.
“However, even with all the tremendous advances in technology, it is important to have good teachers for providing quality education. The teacher education system needs to be integrated with higher education institutions and university system to provide opportunities for growth. Our vision is that India should become a knowledge power in the coming decade. This will mean that every Indian must have access to affordable education of good quality.

Government sanctioned 19.82 lakh teacher posts up to 2012-13 to improve Student-Teacher Ratio


Report by India Education bureau, New Delhi: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 has become operative with effect from 1st April, 2010, and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) norms have been revised to conform to the Student-Teacher Ratio (STR) prescribed in the Schedule to the RTE Act.  The revised norms are as under:

For classes I to V:
(i)         Two teachers for up to sixty admitted children
(ii)         Three teachers for 61-90 children
(iii)        Four teachers for 91-120 children
(iv)        Five teachers for 121-200 children
(v)        One Head Teacher, other than the five teachers, if the number of admitted children exceeds 150; and the STR (excluding Head Teacher) shall not exceed forty if the number of admitted children is above 200.
For Classes VI to VIII:
(i)         At least one teacher per class so that there will  be at least one teacher each for (a) Science and Mathematics; (b) Social Studies; and (c) Languages.
(ii)         At least one teacher for every 35 children;
(iii)        Where admission of children is above 100, there whill be (a) a full time head-teacher and (b) part time instructors for Art Education, Health & Physical Education and Work Education.
To improve the STR, 19.82 lakh teacher posts have been sanctioned up to 2012-13, against which 12.48 lakh teachers have been recruited till 30.09.2012 by the States/UTs.  The States/UTs have been advised to fill up these teacher posts along with teacher vacancies under the State sector.  They have also been advised to rationalize the deployment of teachers in order to make the schools RTE complaint.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development,  Dr. Shashi Tharoor in Lok  Sabha today.

NAC wants RTE to cover migrant workers' children

NAC wants RTE to cover migrant workers' children

New Delhi, Nov 30, 2012, DHNS:
The National Advisory Council headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi is set to recommend that the government should support all schools to meet the norms under the Right to Education Act and make it sure that the children of the migrant workers and manual scavengers as well as the ones in the conflict zones are also covered by the legislation.

The NAC approved the recommendations of its Working Group on Right to Education in a meeting on Friday. The panel’s recommendations for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government include “support to all schools to meet the norms under RTE after assessing the compliance status of all Government, aided and private schools”.

The NAC – the UPA government’s interface with the civil society – stressed on better integration of children from disadvantaged groups in the private schools.  “The definition of ‘disadvantaged’ needs to be widened to include categories of highly disadvantaged groups such as migrant and street children, children in conflict regions, children of manual scavengers,” the panel noted, adding: “It is government’s responsibility to timely reimburse the private schools to cover incidental expenses such as the costs of remedial work, counseling, text books and uniforms.”

The Centre has of late made it clear that the March 2013 deadline for extending the implementation of the RTE Act would not be extended.

Gandhi-led advisory panel also recommended that the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry for Human Resource Development should jointly develop a national policy for early childhood and pre-school education.

The NAC, in its earlier incarnation during the UPA’s first stint in power, had been instrumental in conceptualizing and drafting the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which was finally passed by Parliament in 2009.

Infrastructure Norms Laid Down Under RTE Act


Report by India Education bureau, New Delhi: As per District Information on Educational Statistics (DISE) 2011-12 (provisional), 87.7% elementary schools have toilets, 94.6% have drinking water, 53.6% have ramps, 70.1% have boundary walls and 79.1% have playgrounds. 

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) seeks to augment school infrastructure with the objective of meeting RTE requirements, for which so far 3.04 lakh school buildings, 17.92 lakh additional classrooms, 8.53 lakh toilets, 2.29 lakh drinking water facilities, 5.01 lakh ramps and boundary walls in 1.57 lakh schools have been sanctioned across the States / Union Territories. 

This information was given by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Ministry relaxes rules on play space requirements under RTE

Ministry relaxes rules on play space requirements under RTE

Schools with no ground can make alternate arrangements nearby
In a move that will bring relief to schools strapped for space in big cities, the Ministry for Human Resource Development has relaxed the infrastructural requirement under the Right to Education Act, 2009, that earlier mandated every school to have a playground on its premises.
Henceforth, it would be considered “sufficient compliance” with the legislation if schools make adequate arrangements in an adjoining playground/municipal park for children to play outdoor games in case there is no space on their premises.
In an advisory sent to the States, Vikram Sahay, Director, MHRD, has said that the rule has been relaxed in the light of “genuine difficulties” in providing a playground in each school in big cities due to paucity of open areas.
The District Information System for Education (DISE) data of 2011-12 reveals that nearly 25 per cent of high schools and about 45 per cent of elementary schools in Karnataka do not have playgrounds. The Ministry had received representations from several State governments and school managements expressing their inability to provide playgrounds within schools.
“The intent of inclusion of playground as an infrastructure requirement of a school is to ensure that children have sufficient open space for sports and other physical activities during school hours. It is not necessary that the school management provides this facility within the school premises,” says the advisory on the amended guideline.
‘Realistic’
Education Secretary Kumar G. Nayak described this move as a “realistic” measure considering the constraints on space.
“We will next have to take up mapping of schools and grounds since some of the schools are away from grounds,” he told The Hindu.
However, while conceding that space is an issue in urban centres, education expert Niranjan Aradhya of at the Centre for Child and Law, National Law School of India University, argued that relaxation could mean “diluting the minimum norms of RTE”.
He said while safety of children is one aspect to be considered if they are to be taken outside the school premises, there is also the real danger of private schools operating out of crammed spaces using this as an excuse to not provide space for children to play.
Warning
In a separate advisory, the MHRD has said that governments and local authorities have an obligation to ensure that children belonging to disadvantaged sections are not discriminated against or in any manner prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education.
It says that schools should create a “non-discriminatory environment”, strictly following guidelines laid down under the RTE, to ensure that children admitted under the 25 per cent quota for children from disadvantaged sections are on an equal footing with others in the learning environment.
The circular gives a series of dos and don’ts to create an environment of equal opportunities, including forbidding announcing in a classroom names of castes or communities of students or labelling them as “reserved category”.
http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/karnataka/ministry-relaxes-rules-on-play-space-requirements-under-rte/article4154277.ece

March 2013 deadline for RTE to remain intact: P Raju


09 Nov 2012
Union Minister for HRD MM Pallam Raju has clarified that his team is striving to achieve the March 2013 deadline to achieve the right to education (RTE) targets for now and there is no chance of any extension for the same.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting here, Raju said extending the deadline was not a solution.
"Extending the deadline is not the solution. It will be a collective failure. Instead we should push harder for meeting the set deadline. There are certain problems with some states. It is the problem of legacy, but then these are the states where RTE is most needed. The deadline for RTE remains March 2013 for now," he said.
Several states including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are lagging behind in meeting deadline for implementation of the RTE law, failing to achieve significant targets in fields like teacher student ratio, school infrastructure and teacher's qualifications.
The CABE also gave an in-principal approval to start deliberations for including secondary education under the right to education.

Investment in education crucial for 9% growth: Shashi Tharoor

09 Nov 2012
"We are pursuing several reforms initiated by former team of HRD Ministry led by Kapil Sibal and we committed to that, there is no backtracking. We are determined to get the pending bills in parliament passed,” said Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor at AICTE-CII University Industry Congress underway in New Delhi.
The minister said that India can only achieve the growth of eight to nine per cent if wise investment is made in the education system and particularly to improve our quality of our education and employability.
Highlighting the ever increasing need of academia industry collaboration, he added “Academia and industry are the two sides of same coin and the coin is the country, till the opening up of economy the industry was investing very less in education barring few. But, after that we have seen remarkable change with mushrooming of business schools, opening of engineering institutions but many of these were opened like shops and because this the students coming out these institutions were of very poor quality which needs to be checked.”
Stressing on the need to promote ‘innovation’ in country’s universities the minister said the objective of education is to facilitate transition of academic research into innovation for practical usage of the society.
“We have proposed to set up five design innovation centres during this fiscal year and during the upcoming five year plan we want o take this number to 20. The idea is not only to focus on design innovations but to propel the innovative activity. Delhi University is the first university in this country which has launched Cluster Innovation Centre which is acting as facilitator including the university in this process of innovation. We have a bill for university in research and innovation which was introduced in Lok Sabha but is lying with the Parliamentary standing committee and we are trying to push it,” he said.
India has 540 million young Indian under the age of 35 years; if they are educated and trained properly to take advantage then Indian can have a productive work force for the next three decades. It is an advantage when rest of the world is aging including China.

BPL students upto class 12 to get free books in Tripura

BPL students upto class 12 to get free books in Tripura

PTI Dec 12, 2012, 06.30PM IST

AGARTALA: Students up to class twelve living below poverty line (BPL) in Tripura would get their books free of cost, Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar said today.
He said, "The BPL students studying up to class ten in Tripura were getting their books free of cost, but many of them after passing secondary examination did not continue their studies due financial problem, so we have decided to give them books from state's coffer".

"We want all sections of students, be poor or rich get the scope for education. So, the decision was taken in the council of ministers. Altogether 12000 BPL students in the state would benefit from this decision", he told reporters.
The students of Arts group would get Rs 855 in class eleven and Rs 706 in class twelve, the students of commerce group would get Rs 856 in class eleven and Rs 645 in class twelve and the Science students in class eleven Rs 1718 and Rs 1485 in class twelve.