In Andhra Pradesh’s Jeedimetla village, where striking teachers are away from school and headmasters double up as teachers for 300 children from six grades, some students are playing chor police and kho-kho in class. On their cellphones, that is.
Chor police isn’t a common virtual game to the best of our knowledge, and neither do poor rural kids flaunt cellphones in school. So, what’s going on? Well, actually the students are learning English.
To end the Confusion Confounded scenario: the Telugu-speaking ten-yearolds are subjects for a pilot study on the use of mobile gaming for education in rural India. Matthew Kam, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University , and his team are developing these games as part of MILLEE (Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies), a research project that aims to help poor Indian children acquire English as a second language . With India all set to have 500 million cellphone users by 2010 and the UN estimating that half of all residents in remote areas will have mobiles by 2012, the ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning project will have a guaranteed audience. Read More >>
Dinesh Kumar, a migrant from Vaishali district in Bihar, is an electrician in Delhi. Though making ends meet is a challenge, he is not willing to
send his two children to a Hindi medium government school where education is free.
The school fees and related expenditure exceed Rs 2,000 per month and form a quarter of the roughly Rs 8,000 that Kumar earns each month. But he is happy to foot the expense. “I want my kids to study in an English medium school. If they don’t know English, what future will they have?” asks Kumar. It is such reasoning that helps explain the huge increase in enrolment in English medium schools, making it now the second largest medium of instruction in schools across the country.
According to estimates, just over 10 per cent of the Indian population speaks English. But, it is a growing number and the rate of growth outpaces most vernacular languages. The big exception is Hindi, which, of course, is in a different league with 41 per cent of the country’s population speaking in that tongue. Read More >>
In the village of Mundrampatti, in Krishnagiri district, a couple of 17-year-olds are preparing to lobby their village panchayat leader. When I meet them it’s almost 8 pm on a Wednesday and the two teens are consulting with the trainers from the Child Friendly Village project of the district administration and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). N Priya and R Renugopal want their panchayat leader to take up on an urgent footing the need to improve bus services to their village.
Priya has just completed her class XII but has dropped out of higher education. From her village – a couple of kilometres from the state Highway at Mittapally – Priya will have to travel either to Krishnagiri or to Thiruvannamalai. Daughter of agricultural workers, Priya says her parents cannot afford to admit her to private colleges nearby. But with just two bus services, one each early morning and late evening – Priya cannot attend the affordable government colleges either at Hosur, Krishnagiri or Thiruvannamalai. Read More >>
He might be a superstar today, but Bollywood actor Aamir Khan has no qualms in admitting that he has undergone various punishments during his education days – from getting caned to kneeling down for the whole day.
“When in school, kneeling down in front of the principal’s office was a regular feature. I have also been caned a couple of times. It is strange that when you get caned, you don’t realise the pain instantly, but after two seconds it shoots so badly… It’s awful,” Aamir told reporters here.
“I used to be more interested in sports and hence used to always forget doing my homework. Also, poor marks used to create problems for me. I used to get scolded very often,” he added.
The 44-year-old actor also revealed that he only studied till Class 12 and never had a very good college life.
“My education has only been till 12th standard because after that I got into films. Even while in college for my 11th and 12th, I used to hardly attend classes because I was always busy with dramatics. Read More>>
Teachers of pre-primary schools will get salaries on par with government teachers once the registration of pre-primary schools begins from the academic year 2010-11, say sources in the directorate of education (DoE). They told TOI that education minister Atanasio `Babush’ Monserrate has made such a proposal to the state government.
The DoE is determined to bring all pre-primary schools operating in Goa under its purview before the next academic year begins, say sources. To speed up the work, the department has already decided to form a separate cell in its office itself which will be dedicated to the registration and regulation of pre-primary schools in the state.
It has further decided to take stringent measures against those not registering with the DoE, as despite its notification making it mandatory for pre-primary schools to register with it, not a single school has submitted its registration details for the current academic year. Read More>>
Access to education is no longer a problem in primary education sector. But then, despite having schools why is there lack of quality education. “It has more to do with poor accountability of teachers in these schools.” said Professor Geeta Kingdon of London University. She was speaking at the LMA Convention 2009 here on Friday.
Kingdon also quoted some findings which showed that whatever children learn in schools is very less. In a survey conducted in UP, the figures of which she quoted, at least 42% children who had passed grade-V could not do simple division sums in mathematics. “Besides, only 50% of the enrolled strength attends classes on any given day because classroom teaching does not captivate them”, she said. Read More>>
Why Yale won’t come to India, why the sector can’t depend on for-profits and how the UID system will be used to track drop-out rates.
HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal kick started the panel, emphasizing that India’s biggest issue is to scale up the number of children who enter, and pass through, the educational system. “We need to develop a critical mass moving from higher secondary to undergraduate institutions. Of the 220 million who go to school in India, only 12.4% reach college. We need 30% to get there.”
Richard Levin, President of Yale University, talked about the importance of choosing a handful of institutions to nurture and propel towards becoming world class institutions. He also highlighted the importance of attracting and nurturing faculty that are research pioneers in the fields: “India must fund research on a strictly meritocratic basis and integrate researchers into universities.” He also added that universities should be willing to “break egalitarianism in salaries” in order to be able offer competitive salaries to lure back faculty that have chosen to work abroad.
Another theme that dominated the panel included the separation of the deliverer (government) from the regulator, and the possibility of for-profit investments in education. Sibal categorically stated that the for-profit model is unacceptable to him at this point, as it is far too risky to allow educational institutions to be tied to a volatile stock market, and unrealistic to expect private institutions to invest in India’s rural areas. “While the private sector should be allowed to make surpluses that they invest back into this sector, if the stock market goes bust we cannot afford for educational institutions to go bust,” he said. Read More>>