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Education reform: students to be screened in class 5 and 8

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New Delhi: A ministerial panel on education has recommended alterations to the current no-detention policy introduced by the UPA government in 2010, under the Right to Education (RTE), and suggested screening of students at class 5 and 8 levels.

“We have given our recommendations on the no-detention policy to 22 states, of which 18 have agreed to the change. We have recommended detaining students in Class 5 and Class 8 only,” said Vasudev Devnani, primary education minister of Rajasthan, who heads the panel of state ministers on the new national education policy being formulated by the HRD ministry.

The students would be required to clear a committee-recommended state-level test in class 5 and 8. The students will get a second shot at the test if in the first try they fail to pass it.

“If a student fails to clear the learning level, he or she would have to appear for a re-test within a month. We will not detain students till Class 4, but it will be done if they fail in Class 5,” Devnani said.

The no-detention policy, however, will continue to be applicable to the students of other classes, till class 8.

These recommendations come on the heels of a survey conducted by Pratham, a non-governmental organisation, that found that educational standards of students up to the upper primary level at the country’s government schools had fallen in the last eight years, especially in English and Math. (image courtesy: traintheteacher.files.wordpress.com)

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How will India look with Free Education and Healthcare ?

Education and healthcare are one of the biggest revenue generators for the country but some sects of the country's population have little or no access to proper facilities

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Representational Image. Pixabay.

Nov 17, 2016: In a country where people satiate their hunger and fulfil their basic needs on little wages, higher education is a luxury only a few can afford. Even though the public institutions charge a very subsidized amount compared to the other private institutions, the amount requested by them are beyond the reach of many.

The Right to Education act passed on 1 April 2010 allows children between the ages of 6 and 14 to receive free and compulsory education but the problem for these young minds begin after they walk into adolescence. The families which are poor and every member has to fend for themselves cannot afford higher education for their children. This pushes the young, green saplings into the world to earn money for the family. They start to become the bread-earners of the family and lose all time, opportunity and zeal to receive better education.

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The commercialization of education over the nation has resulted in robbing these aspiring children from their dreams. “Expensive coaching centers, schools and colleges do not ever give a chance to the underprivileged as they are too busy minting money for themselves” says Rashmi, a homemaker.

For a long time, various NGOs and independent workers have been trying to improve the condition of education in India and have also succeeded to some extent. The IITs have decided to provide students of classes 11 and 12 for free over DTH or internet. This initiative starting in January,  will expand the base of aspirants as it is more possible for some students to gain access to internet and DTH than enrolling for coaching centers. The IITs will record over 200 hours for each subject and the students will also contribute to this as assistants for free. This is an example of how if all the citizens tried together to bridge the gaps, this country could be a lot more developed.

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At a Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry consultation for Members of Parliament (MPs) on the New Education Policy (NEP), on which the government is working emphasis was placed on free and compulsory education till Class 12.

If education at undergraduate level is devoid of all cost, the countries literacy rates would shoot up resulting in a much greater national revenue than ever before. This could also lead to more students staying in the country to complete their academics only to repay the country later by contributing to its development. “There would be less pressure on each student as they would be able to put in more sincere efforts because they would not have to worry about their funds” said a student from a university in Bangalore.

These steps could help indecisive students find their goal as they could experience different options before excelling at one. This would not be possible to do today with the soaring prices of education.

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Apart from education, health care is a major factor denoting a country’s development. Good health care facilities are a necessity especially, in India. The ones to benefit most from healthcare being free would be the downtrodden and poor. They would not have to wait at long queues at affordable hospitals, instead they could get treated at any hospital. Some people would not have to wait for enough money to be accumulated so that they could get their illness treated nor would they have to borrow money from people.

Such free clinics should be opened at regular intervals so that it is convenient for people to get help in times of emergencies. “I was so surprised. It was all so quick and easy. It’s a real luxury to have a clinic close to my home instead of wasting a whole day at a hospital,” Wazir, a daily wager told the South China Morning Post. Better and free health care ensures the decrease in the mortality rate in our country due to medical reasons.

Even though the government did not declare free health care as a fundamental right, it is taking steps toward free or heavily subsidized healthcare. The health ministry proposed the increase in India’s health budget from 1.87 percent of the GDP to 2.5 percent to achieve its ambition to provide a basic package of healthcare services for free. Free healthcare means that the families in the country could invest this money in the development of the nation and hence, resulting in their own development.

– by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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NGO Care India urges Free Education for all Children in a Safe and Secure Environment

Care India recommended a focus on ensuring that children learn in a time-bound manner where classroom processes are equitable and promote learning.

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Picture of students at a school in Chattisgarh. Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 11, 2016: Education should be free for all children in a safe and secure environment, according to a statement released by leading NGO Care India here on Friday.

“Children between 0-6 years age group and 14-18 years age group should come under the ambit of Right To Education (RTE) and education must be strictly owned by the state,” it said.

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 “In view of the large number of out-of-school children in the country, there is a need to spell out a systematic and clear approach or strategy to address their needs and how they will be mainstreamed into formal schools,” the statement added.

Care India demanded a gender transformative approach and emphasis on quality teachers in a safe, secure environment under new National Education Policy 2016. Click To Tweet

The National Policy on Education was formulated in 1986 and then underwent modifications in 1992.

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Care India recommended a focus on ensuring that children learn in a time-bound manner where classroom processes are equitable and promote learning.

“The new policy must focus on a highlighted use of multilingual resources and pedagogy to help children acquire early literacy and language skills,” the statement said.

Noting that more than 50 per cent children who are attending school, Care India recommended to recognize that children are out of school due to social, pedagogical and systemic factors, hence customized and contextualized education needs to be developed, inclusive of an empowering gender, social inclusive curriculum and teacher development program based on it.

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According to Care India, school curriculum should be localized for the diverse country where mother tongue-based education is promoted in both urban and rural areas.

“One of the important focus areas has to be recruitment of quality teachers with adequate resources to implement a complex early literacy and language program with a strong gender and equity component at all levels.” (IANS)

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NRIs to teach in India

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As India faces a a steep shortage of teachers it plans to rope in NRIs to fill the void. Government schools are falling short of 9.5 lakh teachers and the human resource department has introduced  MyGov app to meet the shortage .
Prospective teachers are requested to apply through this app to teach at government schools.
The HRD has planned to bring in the NRIs and the indian diaspora to provide part time services in the teaching department .
This move has made the government face a lot of flak from the critics.
They see this act as a violation of the Right To Education Act and as an elaborate ploy to introduce RSS volunteers through the scheme. While the ministry has argued that the sole purpose of this move was to provide international exposure and new learning tools to benefit under privileged children.

The mobile app will be available in the first week of April and will have a separate link for interested NRIs to register themselves in the program.
These volunteers will be involved in part time teaching and the government hopes that the influx of NRIs can help in improving spelling , grammar and reading skills of the students.

However critic Anita Rampal has accused the government of informalising education and weakening the school education system. “These schemes will only benefit the young people who want to aspire to work in the social sector. They can work in these institutions, flaunt it in their resumes and go abroad to seek jobs in the social sector,” she said.
“Let those aspiring to volunteer acquire basic training. The states should maintain the data and use their services as and when required,” added Rampal.

The scheme is not just looking for NRIs but retired school teachers or other members of the civil society as well.A meeting was held on february 8 asking all state partners to engage in the scheme , which they accepted .

The sector has argued that instead of looking for untrained NRIs the government should focus on the RTE and accelerate the filling of vacancies . According to the RTE all posts were to be filled till 2015
Critic ambrish rai stated “Instead of focusing on filling in these posts, the government is seeking volunteers. This is defeating the whole concept of RTE,”
Rai has also questioned the governments move of bringing in NRIs when there is a heap of unemployed educated youth in the country .
“There are young people waiting to get jobs. Why don’t we train them and fill the shortfall? Getting NRIs is no solution to the education problem,” he added.