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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quality in Education..Addressing major concerns for schools


Addressing major concerns for schools

EXPERTS have a common consensus that quality and access are the major concerns for schools in the country that need immediate attention. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Vice-President of India, while releasing a report on ‘Excellence in Schools,’ recently in the Capital, said: “The entire focus of governmental efforts in education has been on questions of equity and access.”
   He added: “At the same time, there are other questions that relate to the content and quality of education — Who teaches in these schools? What is the teacherpupil ratio? What is taught? How is it taught? Are the teachers adequately trained and are we training them in sufficient numbers?”
   Talking about the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) addressing some of these issues in its recommendations for school education, he said: “Their focus is on greater resources, decentralisation and flexibility. The tenth Plan data shows that school education suffers from lack of access, low participation, and from equity and quality issues. Official assessments also suggest that budgetary outlays are not transforming fully into programme outcomes.”
   The more the heterogeneity in a classroom, not only is there increased equality but also increased quality of education, opined Krishna Kumar, director, NCERT. He said: “Every child has different potential and this potential cannot be ignored. And learning can only take place in an inclusive set-up in a classroom, wherein a teacher is actually challenged to go beyond his/her abilities to teach when he/she has to address to multiple intelligences.”
   The report, released by Education Quality Foundation of India (EQFI), covered 90 schools in six cities, of which 60% were government schools. It offered an insight into the strengths of the schools and opportunities for improvement. It also emphasised on the need for identifying best practices in schools and sharing new teaching-learning practices, which will help to strengthen quality in schools. Examples of good practices being followed include teamwork; a democratic way of school administration; providing holistic education; and encouraging innovation and experiments by teachers and students.
   EQFI has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas. The organisation is now in the process of assessing 567 Navodayas in rural districts of the nation.


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