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Is Secondary Education on Track in India

March 15 in News  No Comments

The Confederation of Indian Industry on 26th February, 2013 organised their annual conference on education, an event at the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi titled ‘School Education: Is Secondary Education in India on track?’. The keynote address was delivered by Shri Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resources Development, who made a quick exit rushing to the parliament soon thereafter. He defended the government saying that good work has been done but acknowledged the need for huge improvements that are still required at a large scale.  At the same time he reminded finger pointing members of the private sector that their record is not much different, as the larger number of private schools with profit motives and huge sums charged as fees end up cheating poor people who sacrifice a great deal to save money only to get worse education than in the government sector, thereby making the government the lesser of the two evils.

While private sector members shared some examples of good efforts being made the general despondency and the inability of educators in attendance to be able to find effective answers to large scale problems was quite evident.

The event of course comprised four sessions during the course of the day focusing on a) Need for NGOs in the education sector, b) Towards preparation of Teacher Educators, c) Embedding ethics and values and d) Relevance of vocational education in schools.

Each of the sessions gave an impression of an unending wish list that has almost been unchanged over the past half century if not more. The narrative only changes slightly as we use more recent anecdotes and examples to draw home the ghastly impact of the lack of  quality education is having in our society and on our children. We still seem to never have close to the number of teachers we need, the quality of teachers and teaching in the larger part of the country  is even more dismal, infrastructure remains fractured and hopelessly inadequate, all this while we hide behind euphemisms, erroneous and facile statistics, and the small section of urban schools that represent the view of education the elite seem to hold, which is justified more by the ambiance and facilities they offer than what is reflected in the behaviour of the mass of students who attend these. Yes there are examples of good practice, thoughtfulness, innovation and achievement but it remains obscured by the vastness of vacuousness that fills our daily view.

Between the profiteers and the egotists, there are a few honest faces who seem to be realising the magnitude of the problem and the need to address this in earnest. But their efforts and experiences make them aware of the challenges, the nature of a principled long term commitments this requires and the amount of learning and perspective this demands from even the reform seekers.

We hope to bring you new thoughts and detailed insights into issues related to education going forward and hope that somewhere these views would help people who want to bring about genuine change for the better and not be hijacked into the slogan activism used by those with vested interests.

International Work Study programmes

February 11 in News  No Comments

International work study programmes are becoming increasingly popular, not only does it provide on-the-job experience to learners but at the same time provides a great view of cultural relations which is being increasingly valued by employers. Here is a piece from The New York Times which talks about the growing popularity of such programmes.

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Cheating at Harvard…Is it the best education we cannot afford?

February 11 in News  No Comments

125 students may face suspension in a cheating scandal in one of the most sought after and revered educational institutions in the world. Begs the question of the educational quality or stamp that we aspire for? A report from ‘The New York Times’ is provided in the link below

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Bharti Airtel offers mobile education suite

February 11 in News  No Comments

Bharti Airtel offers mobile educations Services including offers for English, Office Vocabulary, Exam Preparation for competitive exams and Mock tests.  While many still question the feasibility and impact of mobile education services there are other who are completely convinced that mobile instruments and services are a key milestone in the evolution of education media and is where the future of education lies. Ofcourse we believe it will require many layers of refinement and deeper grasp of issues involved before we really accept the power it unleashes in educational outcomes attainment. A news report from The Hindu Business Line is provided below.

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Which are better occupations, pop stars and footballers or lawyers, doctors and government ministers?!! According to the UK Prime Minister

February 11 in News  No Comments

According to a ‘The Guardian report’ the UK PM was recently caught in Liberia somewhat generalising and denigrating the ambitions of British Children and celebrity careers in Sport and Music. While on one hand it is deemed politically incorrect on the other hand it reflects a certain view point and is an interesting point on reflect on. A view in the ‘The Guardian’ by Barbara Ellen is provided in the link below.

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