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American Indian Parents want their children to learn their native culture.

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In a report approved Monday, members of the Farmington School District’s American Indian Education Parent Committee asked the school board for greater representation of American Indian culture in schools and for more opportunities for students to explore their native heritage.

The committee met regularly prior to this year, but its efforts have changed some since the district added Numen Smith as an American Indian education liaison. It has not typically asked the school board for action.

Smith had his first official meeting with the parent committee earlier this month and has worked with them to identify opportunities.

Among the concerns the committee presented in its current recommendation is the fact signs in the district that present information in multiple languages do not include native languages.

Smith wrote in the committee’s resolution that it is important to let students know there is a growing population of American Indian students in Farmington schools.

“We … need to educate the student body and let them and all parents and teachers know that we are not just mascots or pages in a history book,” Smith wrote. “There are American Indian students roaming the hallways now as we speak, next to your student. Everyone needs to know we are not a race that has just disappeared and now only see in the movies or what Hollywood portrays us to be.”

Barb Duffrin, the district’s director of educational programs, said Monday that the district has seen an increase since Smith was hired in the number of families that identify as American Indian.

Among other things, the committee is advocating field trips to significant sites, a mentorship program for older students to work with younger students and a summer program to keep the district’s native population connected when school is not in session.

The parent committee has also extended an invitation to the district’s art teachers to talk about enhancing the curriculum to include American Indian art.

“Our art teachers are very excited about this,” Duffrin said.

Bids awarded

Also on Monday, school board members awarded bids for several of the projects funded by the bond referendum voters approved last November.

School board members approved a $1,479,600 bid from Pioneer Power to replace boilers at Farmington Elementary School and Boeckman Middle School.

Pioneer Power had the lowest of four bids submitted for the project.

The district also approved bids to replace roofs at Dodge Middle School; Riverview, North Trail and Farmington elementary schools; and the District Service Center and Instructional Service Center. The bids went to different contractors. The total cost will be $4.2 million.

Credits:farmington independent.com

  • Annesha Das Gupta

    It will be interesting to see such programs get implemented. The study of the Indian culture can make the children take a turn towards their home country again. Also, it can further aid in strengthening the international relations.

  • Shriya Katoch

    It’s nice to see that culture is still preserved .

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  • Annesha Das Gupta

    It will be interesting to see such programs get implemented. The study of the Indian culture can make the children take a turn towards their home country again. Also, it can further aid in strengthening the international relations.

  • Shriya Katoch

    It’s nice to see that culture is still preserved .

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To Catch Up With China, India Needs To Focus on Improving Its Educational Outcomes

China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.

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Children learning in a classroom, pixabay

By Amit Kapoor

Both China and India started building their national education systems under comparable conditions in the late 1940s. Different policies and historical circumstances have, however, led them to different educational outcomes, with China outperforming India not just in terms of its percentage of literate population and enrollment rates at all levels of education, but also in terms of number of world-class institutions in higher education, and greater research output.

The roots of China’s successful education system date back to the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which unintentionally expanded access to the primary education through democratising the schooling system, which was previously elitist in character, thus addressing the problem of mass illiteracy.

In contrast, India continued to focus on its higher education system since independence and only realised the importance of basic education in 1986, keeping it behind China and many other countries in Asia in educational development. In terms of enrollment, China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.

In terms of secondary school enrollment, India and China both started at the similar rates in 1985, with about 40 percent of their population enrolled in secondary schools. However, due to a wider base of primary school students, the rate of increase in China has been much faster than in India, with 99 percent secondary enrollment rate in China and 79 percent in India in 2017.

Happy kids in School Uniform
China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.

India is closing in on the Chinese rate in terms of access to education, but on the literacy level front, there is a huge gap in the percentage of literate populations in the two countries. In the age group of 15-24 years, India scores 104th rank on literacy and numeracy indicator, compared to China’s 40th rank.

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assesses after every three years the domain knowledge of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, science and finance, revealed that students in China performed above the OECD average in 2015. Moreover, one in four students in China are top performers in mathematics, having an ability to formulate complex situations mathematically. Further, China outperforms all the other participating countries in financial literacy, by having a high ability to analyse complex finance products. For India, the comparable data is not available as it was not a participating country in PISA 2015.

However, in India, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017 provides data for rural youth, aged 14-18, with respect to their abilities to lead productive lives as adults. According to this survey, only about half of the 14-year-old children in the sample could read English sentences, and more than half of the students surveyed could not do basic arithmetic operations, like division. For basic financial calculations, such as managing a budget or making a purchase decision, less than two-thirds could do the correct calculations.

India
Schools in India

With regard to the higher education system, both India and China dominate the number of tertiary degree holders because of their large population size, but when it comes to the percentage of the population holding tertiary degrees, only about 10 per cent and 8 per cent of the population possess university degrees in China and India, respectively. By contrast, in Japan, almost 50 per cent of the population holds a tertiary degree, and in the United States, 31 per cent of the population hold a tertiary degree.

In terms of the international recognition of universities, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking for 2019 places seven of the China’s universities in the top 200, compared to none for India. The global university rankings, which are based on various performance metrices, pertaining to teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industrial income, shows progress for several of China’s low-ranked universities, largely driven by improvements in its citations.

In fact, the Tsinghua University has overtaken the National University of Singapore (NUS) to become the best university in Asia due to improvements in its citations, institutional income and increased share of international staff, students and co-authored publications.

While India has progressed in terms of massification of education, there is still a lot which needs to be done when it comes to catching up with the China’s educational outcomes. China’s early start in strengthening its primary and secondary education systems has given it an edge over India in terms of higher education. Moreover, Chinese government strategies are designed in line with the criterion used in major world university rankings, especially emphasis is on the two factors which weigh heavily in the rankings — publications and international students.

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The relentless publications drive, which is very evident in China, is weak in India and has led to a growing gap in the number of publications contributed by the two countries. Further, China enrolled about 292,611 foreign students in 2011 from 194 countries, while India currently only has 46,144 foreign students enrolled in its higher education institutions, coming from 166 countries. The large number of international enrollments in China is a reflection of its state policies granting high scholarships to foreign students.

To catch up with China, India needs to lay emphasis on improving its educational outcomes. Massification drive for education has helped India raise its student enrollments, but a lot needs to be done when it comes to global recognition for its universities. Further, it needs to focus on building the foundation skills which are acquired by students at the school age, poor fundamental skills flow through the student life, affecting adversely the quality of education system. (IANS)