Call for making early literacy a separate subject; government urged not to abdicate its responsibility in providing education, especially primary education
Geetanjali Minhas | April 23, 2013
Drawing attention to the neglected area of primary education, a primer on early literacy has asked the government to make preschool education available at anganwadis created under the integrated child development scheme (ICDS).
Titled “Why Can’t Children Read and Write?”, the primer prepared by Rammohan Khanapurkar, research fellow at the Mumbai-based public policy think tank Observer Research Foundation, was released during a roundtable discussion held here last week.
“India has the largest number of anganwadis in the world (and they) are mainly focusing on mother care and child healthcare facilities. (They are) very low on pre school education. But anganwadis must be used to institutionalise our preschool system to give literacy to children right at the preschool stage,” Khanapurkar said while briefing on the issue.
Releasing the primer, Farida Lambay, educationist and co-founder of Pratham, an NGO working in the field of imparting education to underprivileged children, said focus now has shifted from merely imparting education to quality education. Parents are not just sending children to schools but are also focusing on deliverables, she said, adding that there is an increased emphasis on quality education, due to which parents are compelled to enroll their children in private schools.
“It is the government’s constitutional obligation to deliver equitable and quality education. Under no circumstances must the government abdicate the education sector while privatising education,” Lambay said. “In Mumbai, where the ratio of public to private schools is 50:50, enrolment is higher in private schools than government institutions. But the government must not use this as a pretext to wriggle out of the education domain.”
Significance of govt’s role in education sector
Pointing out that 80 percent of India’s schools are government-run, Lambay said though the government has allowed NGOs and the private sector to participate in many branches of the sector, it cannot abdicate its responsibility of providing education and let NGOs run its schools.”
Stressing that education is a field of expertise, Lambay said though the government can bridge gaps in the overall paucity of teachers and infrastructure, as well as introducing modern education practices with the help of NGOs and experts, its primary responsibility of imparting education must remain intact. “The government has so far failed to give necessary recognition to early literacy as a separate subject,” she said.
While delivering his keynote address and acknowledging the increasing problems of migration from municipal schools to private ones, deputy municipal commissioner of municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) Arvind Hire said the civic body can provide infrastructure for education but education is not its core subject area. So the corporation requires collaboration with experts in teaching and learning techniques.
He said MCGM’s policy of giving out schools for adoption to NGOs has drawn a lot of flak from NGOs and educational institutions. Hire added that the civic body is now working on a broader policy for educational institutions and NGO to come forward and adopt municipal schools.
Speaking on the outcome of common eligibility test (CET) for 2012, JBG Tilak, professor and head of education finance at the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, Delhi, said only 1 percent teachers in the entire country cleared the test. CET is an aptitude test conducted by the union government through NCERT for in-service teachers,
According to Tilak, nearly nine out of 10 schools across the world are run by the government, and even in countries with strong private sector education is in the hands of the public/government. But in India, the government share in education is decreasing by the day, while the private share is going up.
Tilak also pointed that ramifications of public-private partnership in education are quite visible now. Emphasising on equity in education in public and private schools, he said only 0.47 percent elementary school teachers have PhDs or MPhil degrees. “Despite good salaries under the sixth pay commission, the quality of education imparted is poor,” Tilak said.
Since government is the paymaster in case of teachers, bureaucratic hurdles bring in a hierarchical system, he said. “Teachers feel they are not answerable to the community but to higher education department officials, whose interest is primarily in administration. In the end, quality of education suffers due to this mentality,” Tilak said.
BMC commissioner and administrator Iqbal Singh Chahal has been conferred with a Honorary Doctor of Science Degree (honoris causa) by Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab. Chahal was conferred the degree during the 48th convocation of the University in Amritsar at the hands of Punjab
Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) aims to use a two-track approach on environmental social and corporate governance (ESG). Addressing a conference on ‘ESG for Atmanirbhar Bharat` in Mumbai, Sebi chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch said that that there should not be a single carbo
Presenting authentic information is the prime responsibility of media and that facts should be properly checked before they are put in the public domain, union minister of information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur has said. “While speed with which the information is transmitted is imp
Union minister for finance and corporate affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has concluded the pre-budget consultation meetings for Budget 2023-24 that were held from November 21 to 28 in the virtual mode. More than 110 invitees representing seven stakeholder groups participated in eight meetings sch
The total coal production in the country stands at 448 million tonnes (MT) for the month of October 2022 which is 18% higher than the production of the corresponding period of last year. The growth of coal production from Coal India Ltd (CIL) is also more than 17%. The ministry of coal said
The number of social innovators and entrepreneurs has considerably increased recently in India. The idea of social entrepreneurship, which aspires to provide novel solutions for the world`s most critical social issues, is now receiving more attention. Challenges like overworked healthcare,