Tag Archives: India


CBSE introduces Contemporary Comprehensive Education

The Times of India (June 6, 2013)

20453381.cmsThe Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation, introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), was designed with the intention of reducing stress on students and evaluating them “in a more rounded way”; however, the system is being criticized for adding a layer of bureaucracy that reveals a distrust for schools and teachers, adding tremendous paperwork. Some say the process can be streamlined, and once members receive training the new process seems like less of a burden. Students seem to be heavily in favor of the system, which has turned the academic year into two semesters and, as one student said, “made even boring topics interesting through various projects.” Parents are also supportive, saying, “Students are not cramming notes like we had to. Their interpersonal and co-scholastic skills are better and they become better leaders.”

For more information:

A study on implementation of the Contemporary Comprehensive evaluation in upper primary schools of Kerala

Reforms in Mexico and India in the Journal of Educational Change

(links to articles are embedded as hyperlinks)

JEDU 2009:JEDU 2009In the most recent issue of the Journal of Educational Change, studies highlight teacher participation in reform efforts in Mexico and a participatory approach to wide-scale change in India.

Education Reform and Teacher Participation in Mexico

In their study of Mexico’s 2006 Reforma de la Educacion Secundaria (RS) (Reform of Secondary Educatión), Levinson, Blackwood and Cross conclude that despite interest in professionalizing teaching at the secondary level, “for the most part secondary teachers in Mexico neither felt like agents nor partners in the RS…. As in previous reform efforts, teachers mostly felt that they were recipients of plans formulated by government officials, and as a result many have evidenced neither complete compliance nor full commitment to the reform.”  They go on to explore the problematic role of the union in the reform and the concerns that many teachers have about the union. Recent reports from Mexico show that concerns about the union and teacher participation continue.  President Enrique Peña Nieto’s recent education reform initiative is widely seen as an effort to diminish the power of Mexico’s teacher union, which has been led by Elba Esther Gordillo; however, it is not clear if President Nieto will provide the essential structure and support that would allow for authentic teacher participation. At this time, the teachers and union leadership have been presented in the press as allies in the effort to protest Nieto’s reform.

Wide-scale change in India

While recent attention often focuses on the regulations of the Right to Education Act in India (including recent reports  and debates about the progress of this initiative), Tricia Niesz and Ramchandar Krishnamurthy suggested that the wide-scale adoption of Activity-Based Learning (ABL) in Tamil Nadu India was accomplished through a more participatory, grass-roots approach.  They argue that state-level administrators “engaged strategies for change that combined both movement-building tactics and the conventional tools of administrative power.”  These administrators themselves became experts in the ABL method in a way that built good will and moral authority even when administrators used top-down mandates to institutionalize the reform.

India: Funding the Right to Education (RTE) Act

Photo: The Hindu

Photo: The Hindu

In an effort to improve the country’s economy, the Indian government has cut funding to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which aims to provide every child between the ages of six and 14 with an elementary education. Cuts are expected to total 2-3% of the total RTE budget for 2012-2013, a substantive deduction that will affect the implementation of the RTE legislation. Civic bodies, such as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), have reported that they simply cannot afford to meet the requirements of RTE.  The decrease in funding is expected to affect many, such as disabled children who rely on government supported transportation, and children in areas of conflict.

Meanwhile, cities such as Nagpur are holding seminars to inform and educate local principals about RTE implementation, in the hope of improving student achievement country-wide. Tripura is a rare example of a state that has been able to meet the requirements of RTE. Tripura admitted 44,000 students under the RTE quota this year, and plans to increase the age of students who qualify to receive a free education. Tapan Chakraborty, School Education Minister, pointed out that the Left Front government has been spending more than 20% of its annual budget on education, while the central government has spent less than 10%.

Students will begin applying to schools under RTE on January 10, 2012; however, member schools of the Karnataka State Private School Management’s Federation (KSPSMF) have warned that they will not admit disadvantaged students if the government does not reimburse them.


Provide toilets and drinking water for every school, orders Supreme Court

AFP, The Economic Times (October 6, 2012)

The emphasis on moving from access to quality is a commonplace argument concerning schools in developing countries. India claims to have achieved close to 100% enrollment of girls and boys in primary schools and is embarking on quality strengthening interventions to retain these students; however, quality is an extremely wide concept in the context of India and in most schools it begins with providing potable water and clean and functional toilets to its students. The Supreme Court of India has recently passed a ruling making it mandatory for public schools to provide this most basic infrastructure over the period of next six months.

For more information:

Indian court orders toilets to be placed in all schools

The Times of India: School Toilets


Poor PISA score: Govt blames ‘disconnect ‘ with India

Anubhuti  Vishnoi,  Indian Express online (September 3, 2012)

Indian students participated in Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the first time in 2009. 16,000 students from 400 schools across the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu took this test. Though Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are among the best performing states in India, the PISA scores of their students were dismally low, leading to much discussion in India. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), however, is arguing that these scores are not a reflection of the country’s schooling but of the disconnect between the test questions and India’s socio-cultural specificities, especially that of rural India. The Ministry will write to the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development to address this disconnect.


AP for reforms to make RTE effective

The Hindu online (September 2, 2012)

The Right to Education Act (2009) makes education free and compulsory for children between 6 and 14 years. It also mandates government schools to provide free education to all children and that these schools be managed by School Management Committees (SMC). Viewing the disconnect between the local government schools and the people in that community as an impediment to the effective implementation of RTE, the Andra Pradesh School Education Department has recommended a series of reforms. These include making it compulsory for SMC members’ children to attend the concerned school in their locality, having teachers teach in other schools in the area to meet teacher shortage, and providing after-school remedial classes for students.


‘No detention’ policy works
Thomas, L.  The Hindu (18 May 2012)

The “no detention policy” in the Right to Education (RTE) Act “is one clause [of the act] that a majority of the teachers resent. It states that until class VIII, no child can be held back or expelled from school.”  Teachers believe the policy creates a “lackadaisical” mindset in their students, for the students have developed, in the teachers’ opinion, an attitude of “why study when there’s no fear of failing?”  RTE was enacted because of India’s extraordinarily high drop-out right, but “blindly following the ‘no detention policy’ will not help. Schools must offer bridge course for slow learners, but there is little focus on that. Classes with large student strength also make it difficult for teachers to offer extra care and attention to slow learners.”  Still, teachers find the “no detention” policy problematic, as some students are having difficulties passing examinations.


Who picks up the tab?
Kumar, P.  Deccan Herald (22 April 2012)

Recently, opponents to the Right to Education (RTE) Act challenged the constitutionality of the law in the Supreme Court of India.  RTE makes education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14 and specifies minimum norms in elementary schools. It requires all private schools to reserve 25% of seats to children from poor families, which is to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan. Several private schools campaigned against this ruling and appealed in court.  On April 12, the Supreme Court of India released its judgment upholding RTE.  Although much of the media attention has focused on the 25% threshold for children from poor families, other sources focus on the inadequate education that public-private partnership schools provide their students.

The following video from News X, a video-based India news source, summarizes the Supreme Court ruling:


PPP Indian Style
Sengupta, M. The Times of India (4 April 2012)

The nation of India has recently faced the realization that the scale of educational change is too big for the government to fund.  As a result, the private sector has to assume an important role in increasing educational access.  “The government finally announced the much awaited plan to allow private sector investment in secondary schools via the PPP route — with a few caveats, rules and deposits of course. This is a major shift in policy, though we see that the opportunity has not been extended to primary education yet.”  This policy is in line with what has been happening at the pre-school level, as an article from The Hindu highlights.  In addition to these newspaper articles, a study in Economics of Education Review by Amita Chudgara and Elizabeth Quinb “call[s] into question the claim that [the] private school effect may be unequivocally positive and highlights the potential heterogeneity in private school performance in the Indian context.”


Focus on RTE
Shrangi, V. The Times of India (7 March 2012)

This article reports on the drafting of the twelfth five-year plan, part of which focuses on the Right to Education Act (RTE) of 2009 (more on RTE here). Seeking to accomplish the goals of Education for All (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan), which was launched in 2001, neighborhood schools are to be established with a student-to-teacher ratio of 30:1 by 2013. According to the Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2011, “the two major obstacles have been availability of teachers and setting up of neighbourhood schools. Presently, there is a shortage of nearly five lakh teachers while about three lakh teachers, teaching at the elementary level, are untrained.”